WTO crisis deepens, says Oxfam

“The atmosphere is more poisonous now than before”
Celine Charveriat
Published: 3 July 2006

The failure of this weekend’s WTO ministerial to bring members closer to a trade deal is another step toward the final betrayal of a development round, said international agency Oxfam today.

“This meeting was counter-productive. The atmosphere is more poisonous now than before and ministers are leaving without a roadmap for July. It’s impossible to see how a decent agreement can be resurrected from this chaos,” said Celine Charveriat, head of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign. “The silver lining is that developing countries are resolute and united in insisting that rich countries deliver on long-standing promises.”

More than two-thirds of the WTO membership – the developing and least developed countries – declared today that they were prepared to deal but that rich countries had to make the greatest contribution and show leadership. “That the G110 had to remind their rich country partners of such an obvious principle shows just how terribly wrong this process is going,” Charveriat said.

Any attempt now by rich countries to blame developing countries like the G33 – countries like Uganda, Haiti, Cote d’Ivoire – is a new low. “Rich countries are spending all their energy on winning the blame game, and not enough on finding solutions to deliver a development round.

The EU did signal that it was prepared to move closer to the G20 group of developing countries by improving access to its market and lowering its domestic support. The US maintained its position from that already tabled last October.

“Any movement to break this deadlock is encouraging but there are still massive loopholes and caveats in the EU’s offer that would undermine the potential of a true development deal,” said Charveriat. “The current US offer is still far removed from what is necessary to stop dumping and protect food security.”

“The only people losing out in this charade are the millions of poor farmers in developing countries who will continue to suffer the rigged rules and double standards that this round was supposed to have solved,” Charveriat said.


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