Leaked EU Draft Exposes Reality Behind 'Development Rethoric'

11 September, 2003
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Leaked EU draft exposes reality behind "development rethoric"

Cancun, September 12 - (by Roberto Bissio - TWN ) -- The changes suggested by the European Union to the draft ministerial declaration of the WTO show "a major gap between the European development rethoric and the exposed reality" denounced here today Clare Joy of the UK-based World Development Movement.

A secret document containing the changes that the European Union wants to introduce in the draft ministerial text was leaked yesterday and some of the proposed additions and deletions were interpreted by Joy as a major violations of the principles that should make the new trade agreement "development friendly". While the EU insists on calling this negotiations a "development round", Joy explained, the real demands included in the leaked draft show that Europe wants more concessions in the area of services and further access to the markets of the least developed countries.

In the case of the ongoing negotiations of services, of which the European economies are a major producer and exporter, the leaked text wants to add a strict timeline for the process to reach final conclusions. This would deprive developing countries of the time they need to carefully study the implications of their opening up their markets to foreign providers, in an area where they have nothing to gain since their exports are of goods, agricultural or manufactured, but not of services.

In the case of the least developed countries, that according to the Doha mandate should be the beneficiaries of "special and diferential treatment" to compensate for the weakness of their economies, the European Union wants open access to "sectors which are key infrastructure for economic development" in exchange of opening the markets of the rich economies to products of interest to the poorest countries.

The leaking of this document, which was unknown even to European ministers present in Cancun, is said to have produced major debates within the EU that has made major efforts to present itself in Cancun as friendly to the demands of the poorest countries in all areas except agriculture.


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