Oxfam International reaction to talk of scaling down ambition on Doha Round

Published: 22 November 2005

Press reports today have said Ministers are scaling down ambition on reaching a deal on trade reform at the World Trade Organization by December.

Press reports today have said Ministers are scaling down ambition on reaching a deal on trade reform at the World Trade Organization by December.

Celine Charveriat, Head of Oxfam International's Make Trade Fair Campaign said: "Now is not the time to scale down ambition. The world's poor need a deal in Hong Kong that helps them work their way out of poverty. Every day of delay is another day of suffering for millions of people who are being locked into poverty by unfair trade.

"The talks are not on track but it is not too late to rescue them. All players need to focus on what was promised four years ago: reform of world trade rules that boosts development. To shift the goalposts now and say that the meeting in Hong Kong doesn't matter is unacceptable."

  • Africa can't afford delay. If Africa increased its share of world trade by just one per cent it would get $90 billion, that's three times more than it gets today in aid and debt relief combined.
  • Unless there is a deal at the WTO, the scandal of unfair trade will continue unabated. Rich countries spend $279 billion a year on farm support – three times more than they spend on aid – most of which goes to the biggest farming corporations who then dump cheap produce and distort world markets.
  • The US government spends $4 billion in subsidies to its 25,000 cotton farmers, whose consequent cotton dumping means that 10 million poor West African farmers lose $200 million a year in income.
  • The EU dumps commodities like sugar and beef at less than half the cost that it costs them to produce.
  • The US collects the same amount of revenue from Bangladesh ($329m) and France ($354m), even though France exports 15 times as much to the US.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Amy Barry on +44 (0)1865 472254 or +44 (0)7980 664397