News Release

Trade Issues: Africa, Agriculture


There have been a number of developments on trade issues this week: The World Trade Organization ruled on the European Union’s ban on U.S. hormone-injected beef, the Secretary of Agriculture made a speech on genetically modified foods and the House is set to vote on major Africa trade legislation. Among the analysts available to discuss these issues are:

Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Wallach said: “The House is about to vote on legislation that a coalition of oil companies dubbed the ‘African Growth and Opportunity Act.’ It certainly does nothing to help Africa grow or expand its opportunities, although it is full of special perks for foreign corporations. In exchange for modest new rights to import textiles and apparel, the bill requires African nations to mortgage their future by slashing public investment in health and education, cutting corporate taxes, removing hunger-fighting price supports, and opening Africa’s natural resources to foreign exploitation. Our other trade agreements don’t impose harsh conditions on trading partners; neither should agreements with Africa.”
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Director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network, Njehû said: “If the African Growth and Opportunity Act becomes law it will take away sub-Saharan Africa’s right to determine her own destiny. The bill mandates that countries adhere to more of the same flawed IMF austerity programs in order to qualify for trade benefits with the United States. The benefits would flow to a few U.S. corporations, while the vast majority of African people would be disempowered and hindered from developing or benefitting from Africa’s great potential and resources. This is outrageous and unacceptable. Continuing to bleed Africa of her financial resources when the health, social development, and future of her people are at great risk is not only hopelessly immoral — it is also a grievously short-sighted way to treat a trading partner.”
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A program director at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Dawkins said: “The U.S. is demanding that the Europeans buy beef with artificial growth hormones and the Europeans are adamantly opposed to that. A virtually identical stand-off is shaping up around the issue of genetically engineered foods. If a small number of countries succeed in pushing deregulatory policy through the WTO, it will show the undemocratic nature of the WTO and fly in the face of overwhelming popular demand for healthy foods on both sides of the Atlantic.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167