Friends of the Earth welcomed the collapse of the G4 world trade negotiations in Potsdam, Germany on 21st June. The current proposals would have further impoverished the world’s poorest people and caused irreparable damage to the environment.
Friends of the Earth Trade Campaigner Joe Zacune said:
“The collapse of these secretive trade talks is a good opportunity to develop an alternative approach to trade that works for developing countries and the environment. The proposals on the table have been driven primarily by the EU and the US which put the commercial interests of their corporations before the needs of poor communities and their natural resources. Indeed all latest studies show that the poorest developing countries and their environment would lose out from a WTO deal. Hopefully this signals the nail in the coffin of the Doha Round.”
The so-called `Doha Development Agenda’ is not about development. Recent studies show that the poorest developing countries will lose out from current proposals. It is clear that the interests of the largest and most powerful countries and their trans-national companies continue to dominate the WTO’s agenda.
Furthermore, consideration of the disastrous potential global environmental impact of current negotiating proposals is virtually non-existent within the WTO. This is in spite of the fact that there is increasing evidence elsewhere, including from studies commissioned by the European Commission, that escalating international trade in natural resources is likely to damage global biodiversity and local economies.
Forests and fish and fish products are both sectors slated for complete or exceptionally high levels of liberalisation in the WTO’s current negotiations. Yet worldwide, some 60 million indigenous people are almost completely reliant on forest resources for their livelihoods – for food and fuel, medicines and materials – and some 36 million people directly employed in small-scale fishing. Similarly, current negotiations to expand international trade in agricultural products could threaten the livelihoods of millions of small and peasant farmers worldwide.