Global Dairy Leaders Reiterate The Fundamental Importance Of A Functioning Multilateral Trade System

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Dairy associations across the globe are joining together to express their support for the multilateral rules-based trade system, underpinned by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

At the time of the final WTO General Council meeting for 2019, we are calling on world leaders, through their representatives in Geneva, to intensify their efforts to progress discussions on WTO reform and agree a pathway forward to ensure that the global rules-based trade system is not put at risk with the potential discontinuation of the dispute settlement mechanism.

The dairy industries of Argentina (Centro de la Industria Lechera); Australia (Australian Dairy Industry Council); the European Union (Eucolait and the European Dairy Association); and New Zealand (Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand), which represent the majority of global trade in dairy products, are speaking out in light of their growing concerns over lack of progress maintaining and reinvigorating the global trade rules system.

The rules-based trade system has delivered benefits to the dairy industry across the globe. As industries closely engaged in international trade supply chains, we have operated in a relatively stable environment underwritten by rules governing border and beyond the border trade measures. Global dairy trade has gone from strength-to-strength under this framework.

For the dairy producers, processors and traders our organisations represent, the international rules-based trading system is more important today than ever. In uncertain times, knowing that there are rules to be followed and a process for both transparency and enforcement underpins confidence in our industries and the global economy at large.

It pays to remember that global trade has played a major role in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and that trade openness is strongly correlated to improvements in real income among the lowest earners in developing countries. Uncertainty has the potential to dampen global economic growth. It also risks our ability to achieve progress in other areas, such as in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals: global prosperity is much harder to achieve when adherence to accepted norms becomes optional.

The system is not perfect, but the risks to our industries of a world without it are unimaginable. We urgently call on negotiators in Geneva and world leaders to find a pathway forward. There is no time to lose.

  • Malcolm Bailey, Chairman, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ)
  • Miguel Paulón, Presidente, Centro de la Industria Lechera (CIL – Argentina)
  • Terry Richardson, Chair, Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC)
  • Alexander Anton, Secretary General, European Dairy Association (EDA)
  • Jukka Likitalo, Secretary General, European Association of Dairy Trade (Eucolait)