WTO deal betrays poor, aid and labour groups say
GENEVA, Tuesday (Reuters) - Development aid, labour union and human
rights groups blasted as "betrayal" and abuse of the poor a World Trade
Organisation (WTO) deal in Hong Kong to keep troubled open market talks
And reacting to a deal that came only after a European Union promise
to end agricultural export subsidies in six years, European farmers
declared it "one-sided" and skewed against them - and against extremely
The accord, reached earlier in the day after 100 hours of haggling
and histrionics by trade ministers from the WTO's 149 member countries,
"sentences small farmers, workers and communities across the developing
world to desperate poverty," said the British-based War on Want.
The agreement, said aid group Oxfam International, is "a betrayal of
development promises by rich countries, whose interests have prevailed
It will "roll back the enjoyment of human rights around the world" by
putting stable food supplies and health services at risk for the poor,
said a coalition of 50 rights groupings.
In a statement issued from its Brussels headquarters, the
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) said the Hong
Kong outcome "is another blow to employment and sustainable
The conference final text, effectively doing little more than keeping
open negotiations into next year for a new global trade pact in the
WTO's Doha Round, "ignores the urgent need to improve the lives of
working people," the ICFTU said.
The text included a deadlock-breaking pledge from the EU to end farm
export subsidies - the top demand of developing countries - by 2013. But
development campaigners dismissed this as "smoke and mirrors".
The deal was cooked up by an "unholy alliance" of the United States,
the European Union and WTO head Pascal Lamy, a former EU trade chief,
said the Asia-based Focus on the Global South.
But the grouping, head by Philippine economist Walden Bello, also
attacked India and Brazil, leaders of the G20 developing country group
that emerged at a failed WTO conference in 2003, for their role in Hong
"India and Brazil have led the developing countries down the garden
path in exchange for some market access in agriculture for Brazil, and
services outsourcing for India," said the grouping's spokesperson Aileen