Global Policy Forum

Oxfam Welcomes Restart of Trade Talks

Make Trade Fair
March 26, 2004

The International Agency Oxfam today welcomed the re-start of global trade talks but warned that firm commitments must be made to change the rules if developing countries are to reap the potential benefits of world trade. Although WTO members agreed today to restart the talks following their collapse in Cancun last September, there was little sign of early agreement on key areas for developing countries.

Phil Bloomer, Head of Oxfam's Make Trade Fair Campaign said: "Restart of the agricultural negotiations is welcome news. But we are still far from a result that would deliver development and poverty reduction. Rich countries must address the concerns of developing countries for whom agriculture is a life line. The 1.3 billion people in developing countries who struggle to make a living from agriculture are relying on the Doha Development Round to deliver reforms that will help them trade their way out of poverty."

Oxfam is calling on rich countries to set an end date for all forms of export subsidies, which lead to overproduction and facilitate dumping on world markets. The agency is also urging the WTO to ensure improved market access for developing countries, including a reduction in tariff peaks and escalation for developing country imports. Oxfam said that extra effort should go into agreeing a specific solution to the problem of US cotton subsidies and dumping.

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