Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Tuesday, 19 June 2001

WTO Consultations to be held in Sydney and Melbourne

Public consultations addressing WTO issues, particularly preparations for the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar (9-13 November), will be held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Sydney and Melbourne on 28 June and 5 July respectively. 

The consultations will provide an opportunity for members of the community to present their views to the Government so that these can be taken into account in developing a position for the Doha meeting. 

Discussions in Doha will focus on the desirability of launching a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. Australia is an advocate of a new round because it considers it the best way to secure better market access for farmers and exporters of manufactures and services. A new round is also needed to reinforce the global trading system and to produce real benefits for all countries, especially the developing world.

Public consultations are a key element of the Government's strategy to ensure that the views of the community are taken into account in the position Australia takes in the WTO. Parties interested in participating in the Melbourne and Sydney consultations should contact the Department on trade.consult@dfat.gov.au or phone (02) 6261 1889 for details and registration.

Other elements of the Government's consultations strategy include the establishment of a new WTO Advisory Group; round-table discussions with non-government organisations; a call for public submissions; the establishment of a 'Doha page' on the DFAT website; distribution of the monthly 'Doha Brief' newsletter; and a regularly updated community mailing list through which DFAT distributes information to the public. 

A discussion paper has been prepared by DFAT which provides background on the key issues. It can be accessed on the DFAT website or by phoning (02) 6261 1889.

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