Only G8 U-turn could prevent WTO meltdown, says Oxfam

Published: 16 July 2006

A last-ditch G8 attempt to revive failing trade talks will only succeed if American and European leaders substantially change course, said Oxfam International today.

WTO Director General Pascal Lamy is attending the G8 Summit to plead for fresh moves to unblock negotiations. Oxfam says cosmetic moves, like extending the current deadline for reaching an agreement, won’t help and should be seen as an attempt to shift the blame for a collapse.

"America and Europe have caused this impasse by refusing to budge on agricultural subsidies that undermine the livelihoods of millions of farmers in poor countries," said Mark Fried, Oxfam spokesman at the G8 summit.

Oxfam analysis shows that US and EU negotiating proposals would allow them to increase their subsidies rather than reduce them. In addition, both powers are insisting developing countries make dramatic cuts to their industrial tariffs which compounds the damage to fragile economies.

"The US and EU have been playing a game of brinkmanship for years," Fried added. "They have shown neither the resolve nor the leadership to confront big agriculture and produce a deal that benefits poor countries. We don’t expect a breakthrough, but we’d love to be proven wrong."


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