Before Christmas, trade ministers gathered Geneva for their first full conference since 2009. The Doha round of global trade talks, named after the Qatari capital in which they began 10 years ago, has been deadlocked since a ministerial meeting that collapsed in acrimony in July 2008 after ministers failed to reach a compromise on agricultural import rules. A declaration at the end of the G20 summit of world leaders in London in 2009 included a pledge to complete the development round. It was crucial for Doha to be completed this year, with elections occupying a number of other countries in 2012, however the WTO closed its biennial ministerial conference on Saturday with its chairman citing an improved atmosphere in the 153-member club but no concrete moves forward on the Doha round of world trade talks. Which is why Trade Out of Poverty has rallied the support of 40 plus MPs and MEPs for an initiative to help the poorest countries prosper through trade.
The Doha Round of trade talks was intended to be a “Development Round” creating trading opportunities for the poorest countries. But ministers failed to reach a final agreement at the Eighth WTO Ministerial Conference last week and the negotiations remain deadlocked – mainly because of disagreements that have nothing to do with the poorest countries. It would be tragic if hopes of creating trading opportunities for the poorest countries were to be abandoned at the same time. It would also be unnecessary. There are important steps which the EU (with or without other developed countries) could take which do not require unanimous agreement by all WTO members; nor do they require the poorest countries to agree to reciprocate. Doha may have gone into the deep freeze in 2011 but we can revive the development trade hopes in 2012.
The Trade Out of Poverty APPG has issued a statement in the name of 60 MPs and MEPs that calls on the governments of the developed world not to abandon the Development aims of the Doha Round even if the Round cannot be brought to a successful conclusion, and to recognise that:
– though aid and debt relief can alleviate poverty, the only sustainable route out of poverty is through trade,
– that the poorest countries of the world account for 20% of the world’s population but less than 2% of world trade,
– that their industries represent no threat to our economies but if we exclude their exports they cannot hope to grow,
– that if the least developed countries are enabled to grow through exporting to us they will import more from us.
We want these governments to take the following steps without waiting for other countries to follow:
– to open their markets unconditionally to duty free quota free access to exports from the least developed countries (without demanding reciprocity),
– to simplify trade rules to let developing countries share in world trade
– to end rich country export and domestic subsidies which hit poor countries’ trade
– to help reduce tariffs between the poorest countries
– to support investment in roads, ports and commercial infrastructure on which trade depends
Our APPG’s co-Chair, Peter Lilley MP, commented: “There is no need to wait for the tottering Doha round, whose disputes are mainly about trade between the rich and middle-income countries. Any G20 member could open their markets unilaterally and shame the others into action. The G20 can act now to help the poorest help themselves.”
For more information, please see: http://www.tradeoutofpoverty.org/news/2012/02/09/-revive-plans-for-development-through-trade-in-2012-despite-collapse-of-doha-round—60-mps-and-meps-urge-eu-governments
With the 8th Ministerial Conference done and dusted, and no progress made, the Trade Out of Poverty APPG has issued a statement in the name of 60 MPs and MEPs that calls on the governments of the developed world not to abandon the Development aims of the Doha Round – even if the Round cannot be brought to a successful conclusion