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EU, US betrayal of those in poverty

EU, US betrayal of those in poverty

The political leaders of the European Union and the United States are failing the world's poorest by allowing the ongoing stagnation at global trade talks, Progressive MP Matt Robson says.

"I endorse the view of Oxfam that it is a disgrace that moves to lower barriers to cross-border trade are being derailed primarily because of political squabbling between the political leaderships of the United States and European Union and because of their addiction to maintain protectionist walls against efficiently produced cotton and agricultural goods," Matt Robson said.

"It is a betrayal of the very poorest in the world. Their best chance of getting themselves out of the cycle of poverty is to export what they are competitive at to richer markets," the Progressive MP said.

The World Trade Organization this week wrapped up negotiations for the year with no breakthrough on the proposed Doha Development Round (www.wto.org) - representing yet another deadline set and missed (www.oxfam.org.nz).

"The contrast with New Zealand's progressive coalition government couldn't be greater. One of the first things we did after coming into government was to direct officials to examine whether a much more ambitious approach for duty-free access to our market for Least Developed Countries was possible.

"In 2001, New Zealand granted the 48 Least Developed Countries duty-free access to the New Zealand market and that is the sort of leadership the world's biggest and richest countries fail to deliver which means the world is both poorer and less safe than it needs to be.

"Everyone knows that social injustice and poverty are the recruiting grounds for terrorist and extremist groups and any serious "War on Terrorism" would include an absolute priority to lowering unfair cross border trade barriers," he said.

The Labour Progressive government's record on promoting fairer global trading rules and dealing with the causes and effects of terrorism has been impressive and one of the government's proudest achievements in 2003.

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