Jakarta, November 18th, 2005
Trade talks that took place in London, Geneva, and Rome last week to “save” the Hong Kong Ministerial have failed. Expectations for the Hong Kong Ministerial have been scaled down and a next Ministerial in April 2006 is already in discussion. It is time for increased pressure to construct an alternative agenda, needed now more than ever.
The governments of the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) continue to use tricks in the agricultural negotiations, with proposals which do not put an end to their dumping. However they claim they do, and in exchange they demand that developing countries open up their fishery, forestry and public services sectors as well as their markets of industrial products for transnational corporations. Via Campesina welcomes the increasing resistance of the many countries that do not accept the “organised corporate take over” of their economies through these WTO negotiations.
The WTO game between the big exporters (EU, US, Brazil, Australia, etc.), based on the priorities of low price exports and tariff reductions, will not take any steps forward now. This is good news, as the conclusion of this “game” would destroy even more family farms, peasant livelihoods and local communities world-wide.
For Via Campesina, the next step should be a full cancellation of the Doha Round and a major roll back of the power of the WTO. A WTO trade deal, accompanied by even more aggressive bi-lateral and regional free trade agreements, would have disastrous effects for rural economies world-wide and emerging industries in developing countries, creating more unemployment, poverty and increased pillage of natural resources by transnational corporations. Claims that increased liberalisation of international trade and the privatisation of natural resources and public services will create jobs and lift millions out of poverty are completely false. The contrary is the case!)°
Via Campesina calls upon all social movements to increase pressure on our governments in order to stop any further negotiations, to analyse the impacts of decisions taken in the Uruguay Round and redefine the role of WTO. It is unacceptable that key sectors such as food production, fisheries and public services are sacrificed on the “altar of free trade”. Governments should assume their responsibility and set out policies at the national and international level that support and protect these sectors, giving priority to domestic production and consumption in order to meet the interests and needs of their people. They should use the failure in WTO to take up the debate on international trade rules in other venues such as FAO and UNCTAD.
WTO out of food and agriculture, fisheries, public services!
Stop the Doha Round!
)° See letter published by 135 organisations in the Financial Times on the 14th of November 2005 as a response to a corporate letter in the same paper.
Contactperson: Henry Saragih International Co-ordinator Via Campesina
Tel: 0062-21-7991890 (office), 0062-8163-144441 (cell phone)