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NGOs call for beneficial WTO policies
By Vincent Lam (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-16 06:04

Developing nations are not sharing the fruits of globalization and the WTO's policies are not helping them, according to one NGO representative at the WTO meeting in Hong Kong.

"There is no specific commitment to bridge the policy gap and no timeline for duty free and quota free access in the current agenda of WTO," said Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, a researcher at Unnayan Onneshan, an NGO based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

"Less Developed Countries (LDCs) would hardly benefit from the improvement of market access as the export base of many LDCs is fragile."

Unnayan Onneshan figures show that the share of LDCs in global merchandise exports declined to 0.59 per cent from 2.9 per cent between the period of 1950 and 2003, compared with developed countries increasing their share from 60.7 per cent to 64.5 per cent.

When it comes to the export of services, the scenario is again depressing for LDCs, whose total share in global exports of services plummeted from 46 per cent in 1980 to 0.44 per cent in 2003.

"The heavy agricultural subsidies from the developed countries are the root of the problem," Rashed said.

Rashed urged the developed countries, particularly the EU and the US, to scrap their hefty agricultural subsides.

"The depressed cotton prices are the result of domestic and export subsidies," noted Rashed, adding that the farming sector is often the largest employment sector for LDCs, and a fair international price for agricultural products is the key to helping LDCs move out of poverty.

Regarding the free market access for the services sector, Rashed urged the developed countries to offer LDCs the same treatment as domestic enterprises.

(China Daily 12/16/2005 page2)

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