, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – The ongoing Tenth World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks were not without protest, as civil societies voiced dissatisfaction on trade issues.
The protestors drawn from various WTO member countries staged a protest as delegates existed the opening plenary session at KICC with placards to express their disappointment at delay in solving issues that could help developing countries.
Led by Deborah James, coordinator of OWINFS, the organisations called on WTO members to remove barriers to food security and sustainable development and that any future WTO negotiations should focus on addressing imbalances in the existing WTO rules particularly regarding agriculture and Special and Differential Treatment (SDT).
“We want fair trade for Least Developing Countries especially on agriculture. We want policy space for developing countries to be able to subsidise. In the WTO only the rich countries are allowed to subsidise for their farmers while the poor countries are not, and that is an abomination that needs to end,” the protestors said.
As the talks begin, the civil society organisations want exclusion of so-called ‘new issues’ previously rejected by developing countries, including investment, competition policy, government procurement among others.
They argue that while developing countries try to recover lost space in the liberalization of commerce within WTO, the industrialized world has already scheduled other rounds of negotiations and proposes the opening of new areas in the economy.
“No new issues, Only Doha, No new issues, Only Doha,” they shouted in unison.
Over 80 civil society experts including trade unionists, farmers, development advocates, and consumer activists from at least 25 countries have travelled to Nairobi for the 10th Ministerial meeting.
Represented countries include Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, France, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, the Netherlands and Nigeria.
Others are Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, the UK, and the US.