Thursday, April 19, 2007

They came to get recognition. Some left with hope, others in despair

John Vidal and David Munk in Cancun
The Guardian

Developing nations came away from the collapsed trade talks claiming to have forged a new WTO dynamic:


"This is a great loss to the 3 million farmers in Mali who live on agriculture.

"We are at the world cup of agriculture here, and back home there will be mourning because nothing had been agreed.

"I do not know how we will explain this to our people. The reason this has happened is because we were not able to agree on what we wanted. "


"We have achieved some important things, especially the respect of other groups of countries as a serious actor working in the interests of a large part of the developing world.

"The WTO process will be picked up again just as they were after the collapse of the talks in Seattle. What matters now is not to blame countries for its collapse but that in agriculture, the issue we united on, we made progress."

"The last paper that we we received was far better then the first."


"All the developing countries wanted to have was an extension of time to study the impacts of these issues. But they [the EU, Japan and US] were not prepared to give them that time.

"Now people will see things in a different light.

"There will be no more marginalising. Developing countries have come into their own. In the past they had no strength, but now they have to be taken into account. They hung together on crucial issues that mattered to them."


"There has been a lot of pressure exerted on our government. Heads of state have received calls from them.

"Ambassadors and trade ministers, have been pressured [and] blackmailed and they have been offered deals that do not relate to the trade question. They were told 'if you accept what we want you will get something else'.

"These are the pressures and blackmail we were going through. They are talking about trade liberalisation and that is their mantra. But then in the areas where they do not have an advantage, like agriculture, they practise protectionism. They have double standards, and the people in those countries need to question their government."


"Developing countries have rejected the EU's anti-development agenda. EU member states such as Britain must now start listening to the emerging opposition of developing countries and address their concerns."

"In the past rich countries made deals behind closed doors without listening to the rest of the world. They will not be able to do it again."