Global Civil Society Opposition to the “Pledge Against Protectionism” in WTO

(Dr. krishan Bir Chaudhary)

A wide variety of civil society experts from the global present in Geneva for the 8th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), voiced their opposition to the idea of a standstill on tariffs in the WTO proposed within the “Pledge Against Protectionism” .

The present policies are unfair and unbalanced which favors trade concentration in the hands of few trans-nationals corporations for exports and are based on the growing and irrational exploitation of human and natural resources from the developing countries, and the developing countries are facing negative impact of trade that deepen poverty & inequality.

We condemn the double standards of countries that proposed an additional pledge against protectionism. While, the developed countries resorted to heavily protecting their agri-business corporations, it is travesty of justice to call upon the developing countries and LDCs to remove the minimum support structures created to safeguard the livelihoods of millions of small and marginal farmers.

Without the removal of Green Box subsidies (a great protection given to agri-business corporations by the developed countries), the developed country demands in this pledge that developing countries and least developed countries should not be able to exercise their rights under the WTO to raise their applied tariffs to their bound rate is unfair. Agricultural liberalization in India has already caused 256000 Indian farmers to commit suicide. We call on India not to sign this pledge or agree to any standstill at the WTO.

There is nothing new from what these developed countries are saying about protectionism. They have to deal with their domestic protectionist tendencies first before they ask for multilateral cooperation. These are double standards at their worst. The developed countries’ pledge to fight protectionism has no shame at all. They have no moral ground to talk against protectionism when they are the worst culprits.

This is a desperate attempt to cover up the truth that the rotten and bankrupt “development” paradigm of so-called “free market” globalization is the main cause of the global economic and financial crisis.

While developing countries have been facing the challenges arising from a global economic crisis they did not cause, the "pledge" that is being promoted under the name of fighting against protectionism will bring in restrictions on using multiple policy tools that these countries have fought throughout the WTO negotiations to save, which are a right that WTO law should protect and not jeopardize, and which are essential to any development prospects in these countries

The global trade framework must provide countries sufficient policy space to pursue a positive agenda for development and job-creation, and that trade rules must facilitate, rather than hinder, global efforts to ensure true food security, sustainable development, access to affordable healthcare and medicines, and global financial stability.



(Editorial : Kisan Ki Awaaz Magazine)