The draft Ministerial text is a slap in the face for developing countries, reinforcing once again that the WTO is profoundly anti-development and an institution well beyond repair.
There is nothing in this text that is of benefit to developing countries. While the delegations inside the Convention Centre haggled over punctuation, thousands of farmers, fisherfolk and local Hong Kong protesters marched to the Centre insisting their voices be heard.
“We demand that the masquerade inside be stopped. The reality is that people’s livelihoods are at stake,’ Walden Bello of Focus on the Global South told a crowd of thousands.
The US and EU can continue their dumping in developing countries with results that will be disastrous for farmers. The overall level of subsidies will be allowed to increase if this text is accepted.
On services, the text does not address any of the fundamental concerns expressed by a majority of the membership. Instead, it retains all of the previous version’s controversial elements.
Walking out of the services negotiations early this morning, the Venezuelan Minister said: “None of our concerns have been addressed”.
Analysts, protesters and developing countries alike are clear that the inclusion of Annex C will decimate existing service sectors and destroy any future chance for developing countries to choose their own development pathway.
“If this text is passed tomorrow, it will mean the irreversible opening of services across the developing world. Annex C will become the TRIPS of the Hong Kong Ministerial,” said Aileen Kwa.
On NAMA, the text completely ignores the strong demand made by developing countries for flexibilities and manufactures a consensus on a Swiss formula that clearly remains non-existent.
Developing countries who have vowed to put development at the center of the NAMA negotiations must now take the logical step and read this text for what it really is—a road map to de-industrialization.
The final insult is the so-called ‘development package’, a line-up of empty promises which have little chance of being funded by the US Congress or the EU.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Aileen Kwa or Walden Bello, please call Brett Solomon on +852 6497 2675