Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Oxfam: US blocking trade deal at WTO

29 July 2004

Oxfam: US blocking trade deal at WTO

Geneva: International agency Oxfam today accused the United States of blocking progress on reform of global trade rules. US participation in the negotiations was characterised by intransigence and the pursuit of short term self interest, which could cause the current round to collapse, said Oxfam.

World Trade Organisation (WTO) members are meeting this week in Geneva in an attempt to move forward the talks that stalled last year in Cancun. As the end of week deadline looms, the chances of a successful outcome are dwindling.

“The US is repeatedly violating the spirit and the letter of the Doha Development Round. Their refusal to reform their harmful cotton regime – recently ruled illegal at the WTO – demonstrates a wilful disregard for multilateralism and the needs of developing countries,” said Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand.

“Their aggressive insistence on obtaining maximum access to developing country markets flies in the face of agreements that poor countries should be allowed to protect vulnerable farmers and industries,” added Coates.

Oxfam highlighted five areas in which US behaviour was threatening to derail the round:

Cotton: The US gives subsidies to its 25,000 cotton producers of up to $3.9bn annually, more than three times US foreign assistance to Africa. The WTO recently ruled that most of these payments were illegal but the US is refusing to change.

This is despite the concession made by the West Africans to include cotton in the agriculture negotiations. Subsidy definition: the US is seeking to broaden the definition of non-trade distorting subsidies – i.e. the so called “blue box”. With a broadening of the blue box, the United States could reclassify up to $10 billion in trade distorting support, including countercyclical payments, which were challenged in the US-Brazil cotton dispute because of their damaging impact for other agricultural exporters.

Rather than agreeing to reduce subsidies the US is looking for loopholes to hide export subsidies and dumping. Market Access: The US is pushing for increased access into developing country markets, both for agricultural and industrial products, and refusing to allow poor countries to protect vulnerable or fledgling industries, despite the fact that a guarantee of this protection was part of the Doha declaration. Export Credits: The US has the biggest export credit programme in the world – covering an average of $3.4bn in exports per year.

The recent cotton panel at the WTO ruled that these export credits were in fact trade distorting and should be reformed. Despite this, and despite recent EU offers to eliminate their own export subsidies, the US is refusing to reciprocate. Food Aid: The US is the world’s largest provider of food aid, accounting for some two thirds of the total and amounting to an average of $2bn a year (1992-2002).

While food aid plays a vital role in humanitarian emergencies, some US food aid is not used in this way but to break into new markets. The US sends more food to countries like Indonesia and Peru than Ethiopia. This undermines local farmers and amounts to disguised export dumping.

Coates: “It is extraordinary that the US seems ready to sacrifice its share of the benefits that would come from a multilateral deal that delivered on the promises of a development agenda. Raising the living standards of the poorest countries would create huge new markets and gains for all."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election