Greenpeace exposes the Real Face of Free Trade

Evidence of free trade impacts projected onto WTO venue

Press release - 2005-12-14
Three boats with Greenpeace activists sailed past the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre where the World Trade Organisation is meeting this week. Activists on the boat projected a large slogan demanding that delegates `Stop Toxic Trade' on the building of the Convention Centre itself. Another image, of a child sitting amidst e-waste surrounded by piles of PVC cables, was projected onto the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, across the harbour from the WTO venue and in full view of the delegates, to expose the `real face of free trade'.

Greenpeace activists in an inflatable boat sail past the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the World Trade Organisation is meeting between 13th and 18th December 2005. Greenpeace called upon WTO delegates to 'Stop Toxic Trade' and halt the NAMA negotiations.

As part of the WTO ministerial meeting that opened in Hong Kong yesterday, governments have started discussions on further liberalisation of trade in industrial goods under the non-agricultural market access (NAMA) negotiations.

Daniel Mittler, Trade Policy Advisor, Greenpeace International, said "There can be no discussion - the electronic waste stream has reached disastrous proportions already. Liberalization of trade will only make this worse; more electronic goods being traded will mean more e-waste is generated and dumped in developing countries."

"WTO delegates sitting behind closed doors in this beautiful building cannot ignore the ugly side of the picture they have helped create," said Edward Chan, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace China, from on board one of the boats involved in today's activity. "Poorly-paid workers in developing countries including China, dismantle end-of-life electronic goods, often by hand, under abysmal conditions in recycling yards. This is what free trade looks like."

Greenpeace is demanding that delegates to the WTO:

  • Halt the NAMA negotiations in order to prevent further harm to poor people, and the environment; 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.

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Contacts:

Namrata Chowdhary: Greenpeace International Communications: +852 9109 9062
Daniel Mittler: Trade Policy Advisor, Greenpeace International: +852 9764 6990

Notes to Editors:

The Greenpeace position paper, a background paper on the impacts of the NAMA negotiations as well as images of electronic scrap-yards, illustrating the real impacts of free trade, are available at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/trade-and-the-environment

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