The WTO mini-ministerial conference ended last Saturday in Geneva without making any progress. Trade ministers did not reach any agreement, perhaps realising that trade "liberalisation" does not only have advantages: they have to weigh what they are ready to lose!
The impact of ten years of the WTO on the world’s distribution of wealth is disastrous: a recent UN report shows that, contrary to the generally accepted idea, trade liberalisation leads to impoverishment and precariousness. The Doha Round is in crisis: this is good news for farmers worldwide who suffer under trade "liberalisation". It is a respite for all the workers who see their factories being moved, and for the consumers sick of “globe trotting food”. But this respite will be short-lived if the WTO is replaced by bilateral “free”-trade agreements implementing the same agenda. We do not want such agreements either.
We want other rules for international trade, which prevent agricultural dumping, as well as social and environmental dumping. We want agricultural policies supported by consumers, producers and communities. The policies of an elite minority should not ruin the agriculture systems of the majority of people and countries. We need institutions to regulate international trade, to guarantee that it is based on fairness and solidarity.
CPE and Via Campesina invite governments worldwide to defend the right to Food Sovereignty rather than neo-liberal policies. The failure of the Doha Round brings opportunities to reform the agricultural policies and to reconsider the rules of international trade.
Information: Gérard Chopelin : + 32 2 2173112 (in Brussels)
European Farmers Coordination (CPE)
(Brussels/Jakarta, June 6, 2006)