Starting Tuesday (3/20) in Jakarta, trade negotiators from many developing countries will meet to discuss major issues affecting global trade talks, known as the Doha Round. The so-called G33 will attempt to form a united front against some proposal put forth by rich nations.
Tim Rice is a trade policy analyst for the group ActionAid. From London, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about what the developing countries are trying to accomplish.
“The G33 is made up of about 45 developing countries. What they will be seeking to do is to make sure, particularly their agricultural sectors, are protected as far as possible from the stable use of agricultural subsides in the North. What they’re seeing at the moment is that a great deal of agricultural subsidies will remain in rich countries like the European Union and the United States. And these same rich nations are trying to open up their markets into developing countries. Now obviously they feel, this is the G33, that their agricultural sector and poor farmers will be decimated under this type of situation,” he says.
ActionAid says that the G33 “has remained insistent that specific farm goods – crops such as rice, cotton and maize that are crucial for millions of smallholders –are classified as ‘special products’ and exempt from severe tariff cuts.”
Rice says, “They’re important for many, many reasons. But what the WTO (World Trade Organization) membership has actually recognized…is that these types of crops are important for food security, for livelihoods, and for rural development. Ultimately, they are very, very important for poverty reduction. Now if those types of crops are not protected many small farmers will go out of business. They won’t be able to provide for their families.”