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Brazil and Friends Hailed for Facing Up to US and EU

On the day of crucial global trade talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Friends of the Earth International, a global network of environmental groups, applauded Brazil and other developing countries’ apparent success in resisting European and US pressure to open their markets.

Brazil and the G20 countries have argued that aspects of the deal on the table could lead to unemployment and increased poverty as well as increased use of already seriously depleted natural resources.

The ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) Ministerial Declaration on the WTO Doha Work Program adopted on 11 July 2004 in Mauritius, states that they "are concerned that the proposals contained in the Derbez text and its annex on NAMA [non-agricultural market access negotiating documents] . would further deepen the crisis of de-industrialization and accentuate the unemployment and poverty crisis in our countries."

On Wednesday November 9 several key member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said they have reached an impasse and had run out of time to reach agreement on a draft trade deal supposed to be finalized at a WTO December 13-18 conference in Hong-Kong.

A ‘mini-Ministerial’ meeting was convened and chaired by Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO, in Geneva on November 8 and 9. 28 countries considered to be key to the negotiations participated. Failing to reach agreement on negotiations they agreed that it was necessary to ‘scale back’ expectations for Hong Kong.

Some ministers proposed a second Ministerial be held in March 2006. Countries present included the EU, US, India, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Zambia, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, South Africa, Malaysia, Lesotho, Benin, Chad, Thailand, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan and China.

Even though the current trade negotiations were supposed to focus on development, the European Union (EU) and the US have been aggressively using them to insist that poorer countries open their markets in a wide range of service, industrial and raw material sectors, including forests and fisheries. Meanwhile, the EU and the US are only willing, in return, to offer superficial concessions in agriculture.

"The trade proposals on the table are seriously bad news for poor people and the environment", said Ronnie Hall of Friends of the Earth International. "Developing countries are right to stand their ground. No deal is definitely better than a bad deal."

Brazil’s Foreign Minister among others said on Wednesday that the EU is coming up with nothing new on agriculture. But negotiations on industrial products and in raw material sectors could see developing countries being forced open their markets extensively.

They are being put under pressure to partially liberalize almost all sectors and completely liberalize in a few priority areas which include forests and fisheries.

This could lead to increase production and consumption of these resources, even though they are already severely depleted. This could endanger the livelihoods of up to 40 million people who rely on small-scale fishing for food and livelihoods and 1.6 billion who rely wholly or partially on forests.

Forests are home to 300 million people around the world, but more than 1.6 billion people depend to varying degrees on forests for their livelihoods, e.g. fuelwood, medicinal plants and forest foods. 60 million indigenous people are almost wholly dependent on forests.

Friends of the Earth International believes that a review of the impacts of international trade rules on the impoverished and the environment is urgently needed.

Friends of the Earth International – www.foei.org

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  • Show Comments (6)

  • Guest

    you say the problem is us!!!!!!!!!!!
    Brazil has too much trash to clean til it’s industry can compete outside. It’s not time to open market. Exporting grass will not be the solution of our problems, while people here buy expensive brand new eletronics from other countries.
    i’m sure that Brazil would do it great if there was organization inside our bourders, but how to be organized with all this corruption trash on the floor, so many people with ilegalized jobs.
    our 190 million people can turn into a great intersting market, and Brazil can get to much investiments, but it’s not what i see latelly… popuation with no cash and the agriculture saving our comercial balance.
    well, sorry for don’t understand economy, it’s tipical in Brazil… and for don’t write well in english, there’s a lot of brazilian that don’t write even in portuguese… but no fucking stranger imperialist that sucked our resources upon all this years, and still receive money of seculary debt wich have been payed a hundred times before will say that we are wrong.
    ps: where are YOUR forests??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dont’t tell me that we don’t know how to treat our nature… US, why don’t you sing the Kyoto’s protocol… it’s doing very bad to our many lush forests… oh.. i see… it would be bad to your industry. The world is selfish, no just Brazil!!!

  • Guest

    There\’s no logic to this.
    The dumb keep getting dumber and the rich keep getting richer. Thank God Brazil is smart enough to listen to the African influence. As soon as Africa figures it out, they’ll be happy to help Brazil.

  • Guest

    Brazil is pretty good about sealing its borders. Wish the US would do the same so we wouldn’t have some of the problems we have but somehow, someone here likes to exploit these illegal aliens that come in by the thousands.

  • Guest

    Our borders !!!!
    In Brazil our borders are NOT open in any way shape or form and thats not all. Just look at what we pay for household appliances, computers and software, entertainment systems, vehicles etc. etc.

    All the government red tape, sharks, pay offs, corruption corruption and greed is what is killing our real economic power.

    Europe is just as bad, as matter of fact in some ways worse !!! Portugal lives on sucking every penny it can from its citizens by means of duties, taxes and fees on top of duties taxes and fees. The EU is constantly giving them shit and fineing them for having tax on tax , but they pay the fine and continue. They make more on the illegal duties then what the fines are anyway!! Europe is Beautiful but its so full of old world problems !!

    Lets improve our systems and improve our lives and then the world will come !!!

  • Guest

    There’s one good thing about you…is that we can always count on your limited thinking…keep up the bad work…we need people like yourself to make the rest of us feels like geniuses.

  • Guest

    Dead wrong.
    The EU has also high unemployment, similar to Brazil.
    You offer nothing in compensation should we accept to reduce or eliminate subsidies.
    It is wrong to say that This could lead to increase production and consumption of these resources, even though they are already severely depleted.
    You would do it by yourself, as you already do, should we accept to open more our borders. Just look at the deforestation you do to increase your agriculture exports.

    A deal should be beneficial to all parties of the deal. Otherwise the deal is no good and there wont be a deal anyway.

    You want it all despite your trade balance is already highly in your favor. Bu that is not enough for you. You want us to still buy more but buy nothing from us by continuing to have your markets closed.

    That is simply unacceptable to us.

    Open your borders the same as we open ours…and then there would substance for negotiations.

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