Cancun implications

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Sep 24 09:35:54 MDT 2003


Implications of Cancun

by Walden Bello
September 23, 2003

The collapse of the Fifth Ministerial of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) in Cancun, Mexico, last Sunday, Sept. 14, was an event of historic
proportions.

Cancun has several massive implications.

First, the collapse represented a victory for people throughout the
world, not a "missed opportunity" for a global deal between North and
South. Doha was never a "development round." And what little promise it
offered for development had been betrayed long before Cancun. Not even
the most optimistic developing country came to Cancun expecting some
concessions from the big rich countries in the interest of development.
Most developing country governments came to Cancun with a defensive
stance. The big challenge was not that of forging a historic New Deal
but that of preventing the US and the EU from imposing new demands on
the developing countries while escaping any multilateral disciplines on
their trade regimes.

In this regard, it was not the developing countries that brought about
the collapse, as US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick implied in his
final press conference. That responsibility lies squarely with the
United States and Europe. When the second revision of the draft of the
ministerial text appeared early on Saturday, September 13, it was clear
that the US and the European Union were not willing to make any
significant cuts on their high levels of agricultural subsidization even
as they continued to intransigently demand that the developing countries
bring down their tariffs. It was also clear that the EU and US were
determined to disregard the Doha Declaration's stipulation that the
explicit consensus of all member states was required to begin
negotiations on the "Singapore issues."

full: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=13&ItemID=4241

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