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TLN Promotes Sustainable Development

6 May 2002

Trade Liberalisation Promotes Sustainable Development

Negotiations in the World Trade Organisation to rid the world of fish subsidies are further evidence that trade liberalisation can promote sustainable development and assist the environment.

Trade Liberalisation Network Executive Director Stephen Jacobi said that next week’s meeting of the WTO’s Negotiating Group on Rules should be welcomed by those groups usually opposed to trade liberalisation and the WTO. “Fish subsidies lead to over-fishing. They distort trade and undermine local fishing industries, particularly in poorer countries. The world needs effective rules to prevent rich nations propping up declining industries and pacing an enormous cost on the environment.”

These negotiations came after the release of an Oxfam report - “Rigged Rules and Double Standards” - which found that trade can help eliminate global poverty provided trade rules are reformed. “Eliminating wasteful subsidies, whether in fishing or farming, is something business and non governmental organisations can agree on”.

The negotiations on fish subsidies were agreed as part of the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda. “Doha is all about creating the right environment for international trade. As a small country New Zealand knows the importance of effective trade rules. New Zealand is directly affected by unfair competition from fisheries subsidies. Our industry is heavily export oriented and has extensive ownership by Maori. It’s good to see New Zealand taking a strong lead in these negotiations” concluded Mr Jacobi.


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