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

 


WTO meeting struggles on

14 December 2005

WTO meeting struggles on with little of substance being offered to poor countries

HONG KONG – Oxfam Make Trade Fair campaigners took their “Big Head” mannequins of rich country leaders on a tai chi exercise at the WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong today, however the real leaders struggled to show the same energy in world trade talks.

Various issues sparked headlines at the talks today, including rich country offers on aid-for-trade, food aid, cotton and the possible emergence of a new grouping of developing countries. On aid-for-trade, it was reported that Japan had offered $10b over three years, the EU 2b Euros by 2010, and the US $2.7b a year by 2010 to help poorer countries build up their capacities to improve their trade.

However, Oxfam noted that most of the money offered was in recycled pledges.

Barry Coates, Executive director of Oxfam New Zealand, said from Hong Kong:

“Aid for trade is needed to help poor countries, but it must not be a substitute for fairer trade rules. "It is scandalous that the EU and Japan have made announcements of aid for trade as inducements to get developing countries to sign up to new trade commitments. It turns out that this is all previous announced "recycled" money. Some of the EU aid has already been recycled twice.

"This adds insult to the injury of the EU failing to address its unfair agriculture trade policies. They are in danger of wrecking a second WTO Ministerial in a row after their role in the failure of Cancun two years ago.

“In each case, most of the money would come from existing aid budgets, forcing poor countries to decide between trade and spending on basic essentials like medicines or education. Furthermore, it comes with an unacceptable and explicit push for rapid market opening from poor countries, which poses a grave threat to development.” "The EU and Japan are dunking the same tea bag, twice. And because Japan is offering loans instead of grants, they then want their tea back.

Meanwhile, the EU and the US continued their on-going spat on food aid, with the EU criticizing the US for using food aid as a way to dump food. Coates said:

"In a world where 850 million people suffer from chronic hunger, food aid can be a vital part of any humanitarian response. However, US demands that food aid be sourced in America and delivered in kind, rather than cash, cause unnecessary delay and can hurt the very people that food aid is designed to help. The system must be reformed. By using cash, food can be bought locally and given to people who need it more quickly, without undermining local farmers’ livelihoods. The EU should not us food aid as an excuse to extend export subsidies."

The issue of cotton – which helped cause such a rancorous end to the last WTO ministerial in Cancun in 2003 – has again been raised and is likely to be discussed by delegates in closed talks tonight (HK time). Phil Bloomer, head of the Make Trade Fair campaign said:

"Cotton could bring these talks to their knees once again in Hong Kong. US subsidies undermine African cotton farmers' livelihoods as confirmed by a recent WTO ruling. Although specific promises were made to address the issue progress has been minimal. If there is any hope of the Doha development round succeeding, the US must act immediately and unilaterally to end all cotton subsidies in compliance with the WTO ruling."

Rumors also began circulating about a potential new grouping of developing countries – the “G110” – which would be united in opposition against the current proposals on the table. Bloomer said:

"Developing countries showed in Cancun that they will not be railroaded into a bad deal. Solidarity and assertiveness amongst developing countries is vital to achieve a pro-development outcome and resist rich country attempts to stitch up a deal that serves only their interests."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news