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Friday, 20 May 2011

Trade talks at a crossroads

The Doha trade negotiations have failed, but focusing on multilateral trade is more important than ever, writes Judith Sargentini. International trade agreements are disproportionately serving the interests of powerful rich nations and their industries. Developing countries should be given the opportunity to benefit from international trade too, for example by being permitted to export not only raw materials but also added value products that generate more income. Trade agreements should become win-win development agreements. This means Fair Trade and multilateral negotiations. Fair Trade is not the same as free trade. Unregulated free trade often contributes to further marginalisation of the poor in developing countries. The financial crisis also shows that unregulated free trade can easily lead to unwanted outcomes. And multilateral negotiations are essential to better serve the interests of developing countries than bilateral agreements.It is clear that the Doha Round of negotiations in the World Trade Organisation got completely stuck. In almost 10 years of negotiations, we saw a very shameful performance from the EU and other rich countries, which were not prepared to truly take the interests of developing countries seriously.

Source: Public Service Europe