CANCUN, MEXICO – A draft text released today by World Trade Organisation (WTO) ‘facilitators’ completely sidelines developing country concerns, Friends of the Earth International said today.

Instead, European Union (EU) and US corporate interests have been given precedence over the needs and demands of developing countries. EU and US bully tactics have also been used to concoct a text that effectively ignores critical civil society concerns about the protection of small farmers and the environment.

Today’s draft now includes all four issues known as the ‘Singapore issues’ (investment, competition, government procurement and trade facilitation) despite the explicit and repeated objections of 75 developing countries. Previous language indicating developing country objections has disappeared.

Commenting on the draft text, Friends of the Earth International condemned the process used to reach the draft which handed over the reins to facilitators, chosen by the Chair, who apparently have the power to ignore Member States’ views at will.

Friends of the Earth International Trade Coordinator Ronnie Hall said:

“This draft shows that the EU and the US are driving these talks to the point of collapse. Developing countries here in Cancun have made their rejection of the Singapore Issues clear, but their demands have been ignored. Clearly they are more interested in protecting their corporate interests than supporting the developing world.”

The Doha agreement stated that all Members must explicitly agree to the inclusion of these issues. This has not been the case [1]. Legally speaking, ‘explicit consensus’ means that all member states need to give their explicit written or verbal consent to proceed.

Friends of the Earth International supports those developing countries opposing the new issues under any circumstances and believes the process used is scandalous and outrageous.


Ronnie Hall + 52 9981 204 587(Eng)
Alberto Villareal + 52 9981 204585 (Esp)


[1] Implicit consensus is normal practice in the WTO, meaning that consensus is considered to have been achieved if no Member State objects. Article 31 (1) of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties requires that the terms of treaties or other international instruments be given their ordinary meaning in their context and in the light of the instrument’s object and purpose. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “explicit’ as meaning “distinctly expresses all that is meant: leaving nothing merely implied or suggested.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “explicit” as “unambiguous in expression [with] such verbal plainness and distinctness that there is no need for inference and no room for difficulty in understanding”.