18 Apr 2013

NZ farming leader appointed to WFO board

3:05 pm on 18 April 2013

Federated Farmers President Bruce Wills has been appointed to the World Farmer's Organisation board as its Oceania representative.

Mr Wills replaces Australian farming leader Jock Laurie.

The WFO has been holding its general assembly in Japan this week, at which New Zealand and Australia were influential in getting the farming body to adopt a new trade policy which calls for a reduction in trade barriers and improved market access.

Mr Wills says while it doesn't go as far as New Zealand would have liked, it is still a breakthrough considering the strong trade protectionist element among the more than 50 countries represented.

He says the trade policy commits the WFO to the parallel elimination of all forms of export subsidies.

It also wants a substantial reduction in trade-distorting domestic support but with special and differential treatment for developing countries and the least developed.

Mr Wills acknowledges that it has taken some courage from farmers in Northern Hemisphere countries who have relied on subsidies and protection from competition from imports.