Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rich and Poor

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rich and Poor

Article excerpt

The new Geneva agreements on world trade put an end to three years of deadlock, and while they are littered with provisos and uncertain deadlines, they should eventually mean the difference between prosperity and starvation for millions.

It is natural enough that governments should seek access to foreign markets without opening up their own. But agricultural subsidies in the developed world, in particular export subsidies, make it impossible for developing world farmers to sell their produce on the world market - thus exacerbating poverty and famine. After developing countries walked out of the World Trade Organisation conference in Seattle in 1999, frantic attempts to restart the trade talks failed to find common ground. Now at least there is an agreement in principle to cut subsidies to farmers in the United States and the EU and to eliminate export subsidies altogether. Although the timescale has still to be discussed, it will be very difficult for the developed nations to back away from this commitment. …

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