News Release

After Collapse of WTO Talks


Just back in D.C. from observing the WTO talks in Geneva, James is director of international programs at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and has been working extensively with farmers and trade unions. James said today: “Given what’s been on the table, no deal is better than a bad deal. A Doha conclusion would have had major negative impacts for workers and farmers in developing countries. The tariff cuts demanded of developing countries would have caused massive job loss, and countries would have lost the ability to protect farmers from dumping, further impoverishing millions on the verge of survival.”

Bello is senior analyst at the Bangkok-based research and advocacy institute Focus on the Global South and professor at the University of the Philippines. Just before the collapse of the WTO round, Bello wrote the piece “Derail Doha, Save the Climate” for Foreign Policy In Focus. The piece stated: “Global trade is carried out with transportation that is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. It’s estimated that about 60 percent of the world’s use of oil goes to transportation activities which are more than 95 percent dependent on fossil fuels. An OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] study estimated that the global transport sector accounts for 20-25 percent of carbon emissions, with some 66 percent of this figure accounted for by emissions in the industrialized countries.”

A member of the Hemispheric Social Alliance in Brazil, Mello said today: “Grassroots organizations in Brazil and all over the world celebrate the collapse of the WTO meeting in Geneva. Since its creation, we have been denouncing the WTO as an institution that promotes more poverty and social inequalities in our countries.”
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Lilliston is policy analyst with the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy. Smaller is director of the group’s office in Geneva, where the WTO is headquartered. Lilliston said today: “The push for further trade liberalization at the WTO has a proven record of a few big corporate winners and a lot of losers, particularly farmers, workers and the environment. The talks broke down because most WTO member countries, particularly poor countries that have been hit hardest by the food crisis, badly wanted to retain tools to protect their food security. The Bush administration and other agriculture exporting countries rejected that approach and wanted more market access for their agribusiness exporters. Now it is clear that we need an alternative path to the Doha Round that establishes a fair model for trade. And we need to shift our attention towards the big global challenges we all face — the food, energy and financial crises as well as climate change.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167