16 May 2004 Media Statement
WTO negotiations get great boost
Significant progress on forging a consensus for the WTO Doha Round of negotiations has been made, New Zealand Trade
Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.
Mr Sutton said the series of meetings around the OECD meeting in Paris last week has resulted in significant progress
towards consensus in the previously becalmed round of the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round of multilateral trade
“Progess followed the dramatic letter from the European Union’s trade and agriculture commissioners to WTO trade
ministers. Effectively, that letter agreed to end agricultural export subsidies.”
Mr Sutton was invited to lead the trade debate in the OECD ministerial council meeting yesterday, and he told the
meeting that WTO members had come a long way since the meeting in Cancun last year.
“Europe’s move is possibly historic, I told ministers. We have a moment between now and the end of July, a unique
opportunity which ministers and governments should grasp. This call was endorsed by United States Trade Representative
Robert Zoellick, and Mexican foreign minister Luis Derbez said that if WTO ministers failed to take this opportunity
now, it could be years before it could be repeated.”
Mr Sutton said the convergence evidenced at that morning meeting was reinforced at an informal meeting of WTO ministers
in the afternoon.
“About 30 ministers achieved significant progress on the critical agriculture issues of market access, export
competition and subsidies. This will give a clear sense of direction to WTO ambassadors working towards the deadline of
the general council meeting in July.”
Mr Sutton said the WTO negotiations were critically important to New Zealand.
“The last WTO round benefited New Zealand by about $9 billion over the 10 year implementation period, and by about
17,600 jobs throughout the economy. This latest round has the potential to be even better.”