Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

26 June 2008

Australia Supports Proposed WTO Ministerial Meeting on 21 July

The WTO Director General Pascal Lamy has suggested a meeting of WTO Trade Ministers be held in Geneva in the week of 21 July, with the aim of pushing the Doha negotiations to a successful conclusion.

“I welcome this decision. Calling a meeting is a bold call, but the right one,” said the Minister for Trade, Simon Crean.

“I have been urging this course of action for some time and in discussions again yesterday with Director General Lamy, conveyed to him my full support for this move.”

This decision by Director General Lamy means we are now within reach of a breakthrough on the core of the Doha deal on agriculture, industrial goods and services.

“Although this decision is not without risk, it represents strong leadership. The danger of inaction now is far greater than the risks of attempting to secure an outcome. If we don’t secure a deal on these core areas of the Round now, the talks may drift for some time to come.”

“I have been using every opportunity in recent weeks, including the APEC Meeting of Trade Ministers in Peru in May, the informal meeting of Trade Ministers I hosted in Paris on 5 June and numerous phone conversations with other Trade Ministers, to push for a WTO Ministerial Meeting around this time.”

“Australia will continue to push for an outcome that helps Australian exporters gain better access to overseas markets in agriculture, industrial goods and services”.

A successful outcome to the Doha Round will mean more jobs for Australians - more jobs in Australia’s agriculture industries, manufacturing and our fast-growing services export sector.

The proposal for the Ministerial Meeting will be put to the full WTO Membership in Geneva on Friday 27 June. At that meeting, Australia will be supporting the Director General’s suggestions and will be urging other WTO Members to agree to his proposal.

“In the lead up to the Ministerial Meeting, Australia will be working closely with other WTO Members to narrow remaining differences on the shape and content of the Doha deal,” Mr Crean said. “There is clearly a great deal of work to do in order to prepare the ground for a successful Ministerial meeting.”

“A strong Doha outcome will strengthen the multilateral trading system, which is in the interests of all countries, provide a much-needed confidence boost to the global economy and help to address high international food prices.”

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555