Don't overload the WTO: Let it stick to its core business, says WWF | WWF

Don't overload the WTO: Let it stick to its core business, says WWF

Posted on
04 September 2003
Gland, Switzerland - WWF is calling on trade ministers not to use the Cancun meeting as an opportunity to further extend the scope of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Many governments are coming to Cancun with the aim of imposing a range of new issues — such as increased rights for investors, new rules on government procurement and ecolabelling — onto the WTO Agenda. But WWF believes the world trade body is ill equipped to handle these issues. It should instead concentrate on what should be its core business — facilitating fair trade deals and promoting trade that contributes to sustainable development. Up till now, it has fallen woefully short on both counts. The WTO should stop looking at these issues through a free trade lens and put the needs of the poor and the environment on centre stage. "Ministers in Cancun should resist pressure by the European Commission to address new issues for example an agreement binding developing countries to new rules on investment," said Tom Crompton, Head of Trade Policy at WWF. "Quite clearly, the WTO lacks the openness, inclusivity and know-how to tackle such issues. According to WWF, agriculture and fisheries are two sectors in which the WTO should focus on forcing fairer trade, for example through slashing subsidies and reforming tariffs. But at a time when multilateral organizations are under siege, it is wrong headed to overload the WTO agenda with a series of new issues unpopular with the majority of developing countries. "Foisting new issues onto the WTO will further undermine its credibility and only increase its reputation as a bastion of oppression and global injustice," said Gordon Shepherd, Director of Policy at WWF. For further information: Tom Crompton Director of Trade, WWF Tel: +44 7776467553 Gordon Shepherd Head of WWF delegation at the WTO meeting Tel: +41 79 4567959 Claire Doole Head of Press, WWF International Tel: +41 79 4773564
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