(As Issued By The National Press Club, 19
Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, will deliver a National Press
Club Telstra Address in Canberra next Friday, 26 November, where
he will outline Australia's game plan for negotiations at the
World Trade Organisation Ministerial meeting in Seattle next
Minister Vaile will explain the economic importance of the
meeting and the need for a successful launch of a new round of
trade negotiations from Seattle.
"There are three compelling reasons why I believe Trade
Ministers will launch a new round of negotiations to liberalise
trade further and to improve trade rules.
"First, the potential benefits are enormous. Work commissioned
by my Department estimates the global welfare gains from halving
trade barriers at around $US400 billion annually, including a
gain of $A7.5 billion a year to Australia.
"Second, the services and agriculture negotiations already
mandated to take place are not enough. WTO Members will need
a package of benefits large enough to persuade them to make concessions
in difficult areas. So negotiations on industrial goods should
parallel those on agriculture and services.
"Third, a new round would help governments avoid backsliding
on market access commitments. Protectionist sentiment is growing,
as Australia knows only too well from US actions against our
lamb exports. The most effective way to counter those pressures
is to keep global trade reform moving forward by launching a
"Australia, along with the Cairns Group of agricultural
fair traders will be fighting hard in Seattle to ensure that
agriculture is put on the same trade footing as other industries."