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Agriculture: for a regulation of world trade, placing development at the centre of WTO negotiations

Recommendations of the French International Solidarity NGOs on the occasion of the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference -Agreement on Agriculture, Hong Kong, China, 13-18 December 2005 -


« International trade is [.] not the answer to the priority needs of rural Thailand, but it seems to be the only concern of the policies implemented. » This statement by a Thai small-scale farmer reflects the despair expressed by nume-rous organisations, partners of Coordination SUD’s members working in rural areas. It challenges the validity of the postulate that guides the trade nego-tiations underway and maintains that all one needs to do is facilitate interna-tional trade to overcome poverty and ensure the development of poor countries. In this report, Coordination SUD’s Agriculture and Food Commission attempts to make more explicit the extent to which the trade policies of the past two deca-des have or have not made it possible to attain the proclaimed goals of fighting hunger and poverty. This work was done in partnership with organisations in the South, through case studies of six particularly sensitive agricultural products: rice, sugar, bananas, chicken, milk and cotton. Each of these products illustra-tes different facets of the stakes involved in commercial trade liberalisation on the multilateral level. Based on the observation that trade policies as they are currently conceived do not benefit the poorest, this report sets forth a number of proposals that aim to replace development at the centre of trade nego-tiations, and especially the negotiations that will take place during the WTO’s Sixth Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong from 13 to 18 December 2005.


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