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WTO in Hong Kong « Previous | |Next »
December 15, 2005

Trade ministers from around the world are attending the 6th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the Hong Kong Convention Centre to push forward with their free trade agenda. As usual the blockage is agriculture. The US, the EU and Japan are not willing to stop paying their farmers huge subsidies in exchange for political donations. France is a key figure here.

So these rich countries will not open their markets to developing countries' farm products by lowering trade barriers. The best that will be achieved is an attempt to launch the Doha development round of trade liberalisation by calling for another WTO meeting early next year.

That's a crude account I know. But the key question is the domestic subsidy of the developed countries and the prospect is that the World Trade Organisation will fail to secure a deal on the Doha round. It is also the central trade conflict

And the Non Agricultural Market Access negotiations? Will we have a push for trade liberalization at the expense of the environment? There is a systemic bias in the WTO rules and the WTO dispute resolution process against the rights of sovereign states to enact and effectively enforce environmental laws to protect their ecological comunities.

What will happen to the service sector deregulation? The new trade agreements encompass include banking, telecommunications, postal services, tourism, transportation, waste disposal, oil and gas production and electricity. and they cover services universally considered to be essential to human health and development, like healthcare, education and drinking water.

Is it in Australia's interests to have its health care and schools privatized and freed from public interest regulation?We are talking corporate globalization not free trade here. What we have is a development round to address poverty in developing countries being turned into a market access round for multinational companies from the US and the EU.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:37 AM | | Comments (0)
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