G8 trade talks 'typical of flawed process'

Josie Kirby

Last ditch trade talks "typical of flawed process". Rich Countries' efforts during the G8 summit to force through a deal in the beleaguered World Trade Organization talks have been criticised by campaigners for sidelining the world's poorest nations.

The poverty campaign group ActionAid argues that any WTO negotiations should be democratic and transparent, with all countries involved, rather than being settled by a small group of powerful nations in closed door sessions.

The EU and US are attempting to push through a deal which, according to the OECD, is worth less than 1 cent per day to each of the world's poorest people. Sub-Saharan Africa would be the biggest loser, say campaigners.

Moussa Faye, Director of ActionAid Senegal, said, "If the G8 uses this summit to make genuine concessions on trade, that would represent progress. But we are concerned that instead the most powerful WTO members will try to stitch up a deal without proper input from the world's poorest countries."
The United Nations Commission on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, has warned that under current proposals for a trade deal thousands of jobs could also be lost from the industrial sectors of countries like Brazil.

Adriano Campolina, International Director of ActionAid from Brazil, said, "The EU and US have tabled a deal that would secure access to lucrative industrial and services sectors across the developing world. The consequences for the livelihoods of millions in developing countries would be devastating. Brazil should stand alongside the world's poorest and reject what's on the table."

ActionAid is calling on the US and EU to withdraw their aggressive demands of developing countries, and start discussions with developing nations on reforming the multilateral trading system.

John Samuel, Co- Convenor of the Indian National Social Watch Coalition, said, "The proposed St Petersburg discussions are unfortunately typical of the flawed and undemocratic process which has characterised this trade round. Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh should maintain India's strong stance and not forget the 360 million poor Indian farmers whose livelihoods depend on a pro-poor deal."

An ActionAid report released last month
WTO must reform exposed the tactics used at the WTO ministerial in Hong Kong last year. The report says that rich countries attempted to force through a deal via 'green room' exclusive gatherings, diplomatic arm-twisting, divide-and-rule approaches and 'take-it-or-leave-it' ultimatums.


ActionAid International works in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas to fight
global poverty and tackle the injustice and inequity that cause it.


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