Don't buy the spin: The WTO talks in Nairobi ended badly and India will pay a price India's Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, invited into a select group to negotiate the final text of the Nairobi agreement, let the rich countries have their way.
Last week, 453 civil society groups including trade unions, farmers, environmentalists, public interest groups and development advocates from over 150 countries wrote an urgent letter to members of the WTO to “express extreme alarm about the current situation of the negotiations in the WTO.” This is the largest number of endorsers on a letter about the WTO in the last decade and is a signal of the dire situation
India’s demand that the World Trade Organization (WTO) take steps, on a priority basis, to safeguard the interests of poor farmers as well as the food security programmes in developing countries has received support within the U.S.
USA’s price suppression and market distortions in cotton is threatening Indian and African producers.
As we approach the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial on December 15-18 in Nairobi, India is leading a group of developing countries insisting that the development goals promised in Doha in 2001 be achieved. On the other hand, the US, European Union (EU) and Japan have called for a “recalibration” of that agenda, one that leaves agriculture largely off the table. India is right to lead the fight for reforms in developed countries’ agricultural policies.
Cotton should be at the centre of those reforms. A recent study suggests that US subsidies under the 2014 Farm Bill will continue to suppress global cotton prices. Recognising this threat, Africa’s so-called Cotton 4 (or C-4) – Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Chad – tabled a proposal in October calling on the US and other WTO members to make good on the longstanding commitment to address the cotton issue.
In a letter to USTR Michael Froman, US civil society groups urged US government to support a transparent and inclusive multilateral process to resolve these pressing issues. U.S. trade policy should enhance countries’ rights to feed their peoples. It should not advance negotiations that leave most countries out of decisions that they then may have to adopt as a fait accompli at a later time.
As members of 453 civil society organizations including trade unions, environmentalists, farmers, development advocates, and public interest groups from over 150 countries, we are writing today to express extreme alarm about the current situation of the negotiations in the WTO. We urge you to take seriously the need for the upcoming Nairobi Ministerial to change existing WTO rules to make the global trading system more compatible with people-centered development, and to forestall efforts by some developed countries to abandon the development agenda and replace it with a set of so-called “new issues” that actually are non-trade issues that would impact deeply on domestic economies and constrain national policy space required for development and public interest.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for an outcome on public stockholding programmes for food security at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ministerial meeting next month in Nairobi has almost been spiked after the US, the European Union, Canada and Australia ruled out any change from the existing interim arrangement.
The US has demanded ‘safe harbor’ protection for its controversial farm export credit programme from the disciplines underpinning the World Trade Organization’s agreement on subsidies and countervailing measures despite denying such a flexibility to India and other developing countries for public stockholding programmes for food security last year.
In the backdrop of agreement between India and US on public stockholdings for food security purposes this Global civil society letter highlights that the current solution is inadequate and calls upon WTO members to ensure that developing countries’ and LDCs’ interests are not sacrificed in the current negotiations and at the special General Council meeting on 26 November 2014 in order to clear the path for the TFA.
International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Association (IUF)
The Tisa Threat to Food and Agriculture: The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Association's (IUF) presentation at the WTO Public Forum 2014 – Uni Global Union/Public Services International Panel How a proposed trade in services agreement (TISA) matters to everyone
Overall “Bali Package” is a Setback for Development; Post-Bali Agenda Must Urgently Focus on Permanently Removing WTO Obstacles to Food Security, Urges Global Civil Society "Our World Is Not for Sale" network in this press release soon after the 9th WTO Ministerial in Bali, Indonesia.
Today, a group of civil society from the global Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network and allies, present in Bali for the 9th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), raised their voices using the human amplification tactic of “Mic Check!”
Welcoming bold and principled statements on food security and in upholding the G-33 proposal by Mr. Anand Sharma, Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry at the WTO 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, civil society groups called on the minister to stand firm on defending India’s Food Security!
Global civil society, call upon Gita Wirjawan, Indonesian Trade Minister to pay urgent attention to the matter of food security across developing countries and urge you to pursue, as the leader of the the G-33, a permanent solution to the proposal on food security tabled by this group.
On December 2, 2013 Our World is Not for Sale Network urged WTO members to respect Non-Negotiating Ministerial in Bali and called upon them to approve the LDC package and urgently Remove WTO obstacles to Food Security post-Bali.
In this article Mr Chakravarthi Raghavan, who has been following GATT/WTO for the past decade, highlights problems in the undemocratic WTO process and resistance from developing countries. He argues that, "it is not for developing countries to act and enable the US and EU to gain confidence in the WTO system as an instrument to deliver for them, but it is time for the US, EU and secretariats of international organisations to act to regain confidence in them of the developing world and their people."
On November 26, 2013 WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo announced that governments have failed to reach agreement on a “Bali package” in advance of the upcoming Ministerial, set for December 3-6, 2013. The global civil society Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS) network, which has long opposed the talks on Trade Facilitation (see June letter) celebrated this outcome, while urging governments to focus their time in Bali onmaking permanent changes to WTO rules to allow developing countries to pursue Food Security.
In this letter to Ambassador Mike Froman, United State Trade Representative (USTR) and Ambassador Michael Punke
Deputy USTR and Permanent Representative to the WTO, Civil society groups from US express dismay over over US opposition to G33 proposal and urged the US government to support the G33’s proposal to allow for greater public spending to ensure more stable food supplies and prices in developing countries