DAILY POST: More Empty Posturing in Hong Kong

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), December 19, 2005 | Go to article overview

DAILY POST: More Empty Posturing in Hong Kong


AFTER six days of talks in one of the glitziest cities in the world, the 149 member nations and territories which make up the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have reluctantly approved a disappointing agreement that will not see farm export subsidies outlawed before 2013.

However a global trade treaty still remains a pipe dream as the world's richest nations continue to frustrate the poorest by refusing to open their markets to imports - or subsidise their own producers' exports to such an extent that any competitive advantage held by poor would-be competitors is wiped out.

One small gleam of hope was given to the West African cotton-producing nations of Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad and Mali with a promise to end all export subsidies on cotton next year, but the sad fact remains that for the foreseeable future the world's "haves" will continue to keep the "have nots" at the bottom of the economic heap - because they can. The rest is mere posturing.

And, with the European Union being anything but united over self-interest and subsidies to French farmers, it is hard to see a global treaty - with the EU acting as a single entity - ever being achieved; Certainly the timescale for scrapping subsidies in 2013 is far too far away. Governments are making promises now which they know they will never themselves have to keep. …

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