july 20, 2004
press release friends of the earth
trade negotiations threat to environment
On the eve of critically important
international trade negotiations, Friends of
the Earth warned today that there could be
serious repercussions if negotiations on
'non-agricultural market access' go ahead at
the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Trade ministers convene at the WTO in Geneva
in Switzerland for a crucial General Council
meeting (July 27 to 29) which might see them
agree on a “framework” to go further with
stalled international trade talks.
In a briefing released today, the
environmental group states that there could
be grave consequences for the global
environment and for the poorest. Under
‘non-agricultural market access' ('NAMA')
negotiations all natural resources are
effectively on the table for either partial
or complete liberalization - potentially
increasing already unsustainable rates of
trade and consumption.
Other trade restrictions (known as
non-tariff barriers) which include measures
designed to protect the environment and
promote social welfare are also at risk.
Developing countries also risk losing their
ability to use national policies to protect
their environment and promote
In relation to the environment, the
following have already been listed for
further negotiation or consideration by the
WTO: fish and fish products, gems and
minerals, the certification of wood products,
the tracing and labeling of fish and fish
products; general import prohibitions for
environmental purposes; and packaging,
marketing and labeling requirements.
This month's key WTO General Council meeting
could set the WTO agenda on non-agricultural
sectors and other key issues. Many of the
small and poorest countries members of the
WTO reportedly have serious objections
concerning these negotiations because they
think they would be the biggest losers rather
than the beneficiaries of the so-called Doha
The WTO released its latest draft
negotiating text on July 16. It included a
‘NAMA' text which had already been heavily
criticized by many developing countries (in
particular by the Africa, Caribbean and
Pacific group and Ministers of the ‘Group of
90' at a meeting in Mauritius last week).
These countries said the 'NAMA' text
contradicts the Doha principle of less than
full reciprocity and would further deepen the
de-industrialisation crisis and accelerate
unemployment and poverty.
Friends of the Earth calls, among other, for
a halt of the 'NAMA' negotiations and for a
full, independent review of the potential
environmental and developmental impacts of
read the briefing
you need to know about ‘NAMA'
for more information contact Friends of the
In North America: Washington (US):
David Waskow +1-202-2220716
In Latin America: Montevideo (Uruguay):
Alberto Villareal +5982 902 2355 or +5982
In Asia: In Penang (Malaysia)
Meena Raman Tel : +604-8299511 or
In Europe: Brussels (Belgium)
Alexandra Wandel +49 172 748 39 53
Journalists: For media inquiries contact Niccolo Sarno, FoEI media coordinator.
Tel: +31-20-6221369 (Office landline in Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
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