The fundamental role of the Export Council of Australia (ECA) is to represent the interests of its members and their exports. Within that group of members are agricultural exporters whose interests have, for many years, been compromised by export subsidies provided to competing exporters in other countries.
Over the weekend, the 163 Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to abolish all agriculture export subsidies.
Chief Executive Officer Lisa McAuley says ‘the agreement reached by the World Trade Organization (WTO) is an historic announcement, eliminating more than $15 billion of agriculture subsidies.’
The announcement from the WTO Ministerial meeting in Nairobi is extremely welcome as it starts the process to ensure that agricultural exporters in other countries no longer receive subsidies which have distorted international trade and disadvantaged the interests of Australian exporters. ‘ Ms McAuley said.
Ultimately, the deal will phase out export subsidies for agricultural commodities including sugar, beef, pork, lamb, dairy, wheat, rice, wine, fruit, vegetables, processed foods and cotton.
These benefits build on the trifecta of free trade agreements with Korea, Japan and China and the Trans Pacific Partnership.
The ECA appreciates that this is only the start of a long process which will take time to be fully implemented but the sentiment and commitment shown in the resolution bodes well for improved outcomes for Australian agricultural exporters.
Director of the ECA Andrew Hudson says ‘Taken together with the other initiatives announced in Nairobi, the ECA wishes to congratulate those in attendance including Minister Robb and DFAT for what has been achieved during the meeting.’
Chair of the Export Council of Australia, Ms Dianne Tipping was in Nairobi and represented Australian exporters as part of the Trade and Development Symposium, which featured a series of high-level plenaries bringing together a wide range of global trade stakeholders to discuss the most pressing challenges facing the global trade community.
Even if the ultimate future of the WTO Doha Round remains uncertain, the outcomes at Nairobi demonstrate that the WTO represents a forum within which substantive achievements can be secured.
For futher information please contact Lisa McAuley, CEO - Export Council of Australia on 02 8243 7400.