[DEBATE] : Despotic Global Governance? Aid Groups Call on WTO to Cancel Meeting
Riaz K Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Tue Apr 18 16:35:45 BST 2006
Aid Groups Call on WTO to Cancel Meeting
By SAM CAGE Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press
GENEVA - Aid and campaign groups from around the world on Tuesday called
on WTO chief Pascal Lamy to cancel a major trade meeting scheduled for
the end of this month, saying many poor countries are being excluded
In a letter to Lamy, 125 organizations _ including Oxfam, ActionAid and
Third World Network _ said the World Trade Organization was trying to
force agreement on trade liberalization against opposition from a
majority of its 149 members.
"These are the same countries which now face a Doha Round conclusion
that, if implemented, would harm the majority of their populations," the
letter said. "The manner in which the negotiations process has been
dominated by the interests of the rich and powerful countries which have
forced development issues off the agenda."
The Doha round _ named for the Qatari capital where it was launched in
2001 _ aims to boost the global economy and lift millions worldwide out
of poverty by lowering trade barriers across all sectors, with
particular emphasis on developing countries.
But the round is already two years behind schedule and negotiators have
been at an impasse for months, with developing countries demanding that
rich nations do more to open up their farm markets. The upcoming meeting
in Geneva is aimed at agreeing precise formulas for cutting tariffs and
subsidies on industrial and farm goods to set up a conclusion to the
round by the end of the year.
The letter called on Lamy to stick to WTO rules guaranteeing that any
decision is reached by consensus, saying the commerce body's secretariat
had instigated a series of meetings during the late April gathering in
Geneva which only include ministers from a select number of member states.
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