Monday, September 05, 2005

[Fair Trade] Blair slams farm subsidies

British prime minister Tony Blair has said that ending agricultural export subsidies is a ‘moral responsibility’.Writing in the Financial Times Blair highlights what he hopes will be at the heart of upcoming international summits: Africa, climate change and trade with developing countries.

“When WTO ministers meet in Hong Kong this December they have a huge responsibility. A successful negotiation can deliver enormous gains to the world economy and lift millions out of poverty,” said Blair. Calling for an end to agriculture subsidies, Blair argues that farm protectionism risks disrupting the global Doha round of trade talks, due to resume in December in Hong Kong.

“It should be possible at Hong Kong to set a deadline of 2010. It is our moral responsibility to help those in poverty by allowing them the means to grow and prosper”, said Blair. “And it is also clearly in our economic interest.”

"There is an enormous amount at stake . . . failure to make progress could even be fatal for the trade round." And on poverty, Blair insists commitments made by the G8 at Gleneagles, last July are a significant step forward, but further concrete action must follow words.

“We must ensure over the next few months that we translate it [success] into the kind of results the world needs and has a right to expect.” He also calls for a new global agreement on climate change that will go beyond 2012.