A report to be released next week finds that the best way to reduce poverty is to eliminate trade barriers in the developing world. "Make Trade Free: How the Doha Round Can Help Solve Poverty" argues that poor countries would stand to gain far more from liberalizing their own industries and domestic markets than from gaining greater access to markets in more developed countries.
"Make Trade Free" is the project of a newly-formed NGO, World Growth, and includes a foreword from the former chairman of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Michael Moore.
"The World Growth report is a provocative, brutal, refreshingly candid look at the state of global trading affairs," says Moore. "This should be read by all who have an interest in global growth."
The WTO and the Doha Round have missed an opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty, according to the paper’s author, former Australian Ambassador to GATT, Alan Oxley.
"By focusing too much on what poor countries can gain if they win access into high-tech markets like the E.U. and U.S., the WTO has lost control of the globalization debate."
"Everyone talks about farm subsidies in the E.U. and the U.S., but the fact is that trade barriers are much higher in the developing world than in the rich countries," said Oxley.
"The WTO talks ought to focus on the biggest problem first, namely the high tariffs in Africa, Brazil, China, and India."
Among the key recommendations and findings: WTO members should endorse universal liberalization – charity trade does not help poor countries – and proposals irrelevant to the core business of the WTO should be taken off the table.
If negotiations continue to form as they have since Cancun, no result is the best result.
"Make Trade Free" will be the first publication from World Growth, founded by Oxley and Henrik Rasmussen, the son of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., will officially launch in December during the WTO ministerial in Hong Kong.
World Growth was founded this year to explore how globalization and free trade deliver growth and reduce poverty. Oxley, 58, will serve as Chairman of World Growth.
He was Australia’s Ambassador to GATT from 1985 to 1989 and is now in business in Melbourne. Rasmussen, 26, will serve as President of World Growth. An immigrant to the United States, he is in business in Washington, D.C.
World Growth – www.worldgrowth.org