Lucas: WTO talks collapse could be "best for poorest"

Poor nations are better off with no deal than a bad one

FAILURE to reach agreement on trade talks at the WTO in Geneva this week could benefit some of the poorest nations in the world, according to an EU delegate to previous WTO ministerial summits.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP, urged developing nations to ‘walk away’ from the meeting in Geneva, rather than agree to trade terms which would undermine their own prospects for development.

Dr Lucas said: “These talks were supposed to herald agreement on the ‘Doha Development Round’, the conclusions of negotiations which were supposed to put development and the concerns of the poor at the heart of trade policy.

“Instead, the EU and US are continuing with their aggressive strategy to force open the industrial markets of poorer countries to foreign competition, whilst refusing to swiftly remove agricultural export subsidies themselves.

“This marks a cynical betrayal of previous promises. A deal along the lines of the one currently on offer could potentially do more harm than good for development.

"Unless the terms of the negotiations improve dramatically, developing countries should continue to press for a much better outcome rather than giving way to pressure to agree a deal within the current timeline.

"Frankly, some of the world’s poorest nations would be better off with no deal than a bad one.”

Heads of state meet in Geneva this Friday (June 30th) for the talks, which will discuss opening up new areas to world trade in exchange for greater access to EU and US markets for developing world farmers.



June 2006

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