Saturday, December 10, 2005

Oxfam warns big power trade plans could harm poor

Does Blair care about the world's poor?

There is to be a World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, 13-18 December 2005. Oxfam is warning that things could get worse for the poor countries.

Oxfam warns big power trade plans could harm poor

According to Robert Evans, at Reuters, 7 December 2005:

Oxfam has warned that the plans of the major powers in the World Trade Organisation's Doha Round could drive some developing countries deeper into poverty.

Oxfam said the European Union and the United States had turned what was originally labelled a "development round" into an effort to gain more for themselves.

Oxfam said that rich countries had made no real commitment to end dumping of subsidised farm goods on poor countries or to open up more to farm produce from developing nations, but were still pressing those nations to open up their markets "even at the expense of their impoverished farmers."

On industrial tariffs, the report said, major powers were pushing for deeper cuts by developing countries than they were ready to agree to themselves -- an aim that, if achieved, could destroy young industries in poorer nations.

In services, Oxfam said, the big powers were trying to force poorer countries to make liberalisation commitments rather than leaving it open to them to offer to open up some sectors if they wished, the principle agreed in Doha.

"For these talks to succeed, powerful countries led by the EU and the USA, must keep the promises they made in Doha and put development at the heart of any agreement," the report said.

"Anything less would amount to a betrayal and a breach of the Doha agreement."



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