As delegates from around the world gather for the WTO Ministerial starting today, Greenpeace warned that free trade must not be prioritised over the interests of people and the environment. Greenpeace argues that the Hong Kong Ministerial can be called a success only if governments agree a complete social and environmental review of the global trade system.
"While government delegates meet behind closed doors to talk about technicalities, biodiversity is being lost at unprecedented rates and our climate is spiralling out of control," said Daniel Mittler, Trade Policy Advisor at Greenpeace International. "Governments must wake up to the real impacts of free trade."
In particular, Greenpeace warns of grave environmental impacts to be expected if the Non-agricultural market access and services (NAMA) negotiations are allowed to move forward. Electronic goods, forests and fisheries are all lined up for liberalisation as part of the NAMA negotiations. Liberalisation will inevitably have negative impacts on these sectors as effective social and environmental rules are lacking. More discarded electronic goods will be dumped on developing countries, more trees will be destroyed in the world's last ancient forests, and even more fish will be pillaged from the oceans.
Greenpeace is calling on ministers from developing countries to refuse to make any further concessions on NAMA. According to Greenpeace, developed nations should not be rewarded by developing countries for their intransigence in the agriculture negotiations. Greenpeace wants developed countries to end all agricultural export subsidies immediately without attaching any conditions to such a move.
Greenpeace is demanding that delegates to the WTO:
- Halt the NAMA negotiations in order to prevent further harm to poor people, forests and oceans; and
- Agree to a complete social and environmental review of the global trade system. On the basis of such a review, a new global trade system must be built; one that has equity and environmental protection at its heart.
Daniel Mittler, Trade Policy Advisor, Greenpeace International: +852 976 469 90
Namrata Chowdhary, Greenpeace International Communications: +852 9109 9062