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From mgivel@earthlink.net Mon Jul 30 10:25:24 2001
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2001 23:30:55 -0500 (CDT)
From: Michael Givel <mgivel@earthlink.net>
Subject: [toeslist] Poor nations demand fair globalisation
Article: 123607
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

BBC News site on 7/23

Poor nations demand fair globalisation: Will Zanzibari fishermen gain from globalisation?

BBC News, 23 July 2001

Officials from the world's 49 poorest countries have started talks in Zanzibar to try to shape any further liberalisation in the World Trade Organisation in their own interests. They are concerned that they are being forced to open up their markets while the West is not opening up to them.

They will consider a proposal that they should not enter new rounds of trade negotiations until the commitments made by the developed world to them in the past are honoured.

The authorities are wary of protests in the old town of Zanzibar

Tanzania's Trade Minister, Idi Simba, told the BBC that Europe and the US subsidise their agricultural sectors, while lecturing poor countries not to do the same.

We know we are not getting a fair deal, he said, pointing out that Europe had previously promised to reduce its agricultural subsidies by 2000.

Agriculture is the biggest employer and earner in many African countries and economists say that exporting food could be one of the fastest ways to boost living standards.

Broken rules

The world's poorest 49 countries account for less than 1% of world exports and they think the developed world should be able to afford their demands.

They may not have much money but they do have votes and Mr Simba told the BBC's David Loyn that they will block the next trade round unless earlier promises made to them are kept.

He says he is not opposed to the principle of globalisation, provided everybody sticks to the rules - but the rules are not yet kept.

After talks stalled in Seattle in 1999, the WTO is meeting again this November in Doha, Qatar.

Cocoa is one Africa's most important exports but some say middlemen take the profits

Mr Simba is confident that the 49 countries will agree on a joint negotiating strategy: We have not come all the way to Zanzibar to end up with a fiasco.

The least developed countries are defined by the UN as countries with an average per capita income of less than $900 a year.

Haiti is the only country in this category in the western hemisphere.

There are also a number of Pacific islands represented but apart from Bangladesh, the poorest countries with the largest populations are all in Africa.

Following the riots in Genoa and the last WTO meeting in Seattle, the meeting's spokesman, Hassan Mitawi, told the French news agency AFP: We don't expect any protestors here...but we are not going to take things easily.

Asked whether the Genoa protestors had the interests of poor countries at heart, Mr Simba replied: The system as it is now is not fair to us and those fellows in the streets are telling that story.