Cairns Group countries in light blue
|Type||Agricultural exporting countries|
The Cairns Group is an interest group of 19 agricultural exporting countries, composed of Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and Uruguay.
History and objectives
The Group takes its name from the Australian city of Cairns, where its inaugural meeting took place in 1986. The Australian Government led the formation of the group, though some of the South East Asian countries had been working together on agricultural trade through ASEAN.
The move to form the group was largely a response to the spiralling trade subsidies of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy and the United States' Export Enhancement Program. Particularly, the objection came to the double standards between the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) forcing countries to liberalise their economies, whilst the United States was granted a waiver for agricultural protection in the 1950s.
The Cairns Group's objective is to bring about liberalisation of global trade in agricultural produce. In particular, its members aim to abolish export subsidies and trade-distorting ("amber box") domestic support measures for agricultural products[verification needed] and seek to improve market access for exported agricultural goods. The coalition attempts to present a common front in multilateral trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO), tabling joint proposals and occasionally working with like-minded groups such as the G20 group of developing nations.
In the ongoing Doha Round of trade negotiations, they are mainly opposed by WTO members seeking to uphold their high level of agricultural protection on grounds of public policy, such as the EU, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland and United States (dubbed the "multifunctionalists").
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