GENEVA (SWITZERLAND), July 29, 2005 — Friends of the Earth International today said that Governments must adopt a new approach toward international trade policies following the failure of talks which ended today at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.

Friends of the Earth International

The group said that no deal at the WTO was better than a bad deal, after government representatives failed this week to agree among other how to use the WTO to open markets and dismantle a wide range of national laws protecting the environment, social well-being and health.
“WTO talks must be halted. There needs to be a fuller understanding of what is at stake, who will benefit and who will loose out. Trade in natural resources may well generate huge profits for big corporations, but will leave millions of people who depend on forests and fish with no livelihood,” said Friends of the Earth International Vice-Chair Tony Juniper.
Current WTO talks aim at freeing up trade in a range of sectors from agriculture to services to natural resources, boosting the enormous inequalities that exist in the current world trading system.
Trade liberalization as currently promoted by organizations like the WTO is seen by many as an aggressive attempt to open up developing country markets for the benefit of mostly Western multinational corporations.
In the past few years developing countries became more self-confident in rejecting trade ‘offers’ that are presented as pro-poor but that mostly benefit multinational corporations and a small elite instead.
According to the environmental federation, WTO-led liberalization poses a serious threat to the environment, as well as threaten the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people in the developing world who depend on the natural environment for their survival.
Papers registered with the WTO show that countries are trying to use the negotiations to undermine measures designed to protect the environment, arguing that a range of green measures such as restrictions on the use of toxic chemicals and energy efficiency measures are barriers to trade.

In Geneva (Switzerland) Alexandra Wandel, Friends of the Earth Europe: +49 172 748 3953 or email
In London (UK) Friends of the Earth International Vice-Chair Tony Juniper (via the press office): +44-(0)20 7566 1649 or email or eve mitchell, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland +44 (0)207 566 1681 or email
In Montevideo (Uruguay) Alberto Villarreal, Friends of the Earth Uruguay +598-5228481 or email
In Washington DC (US) David Waskow, Friends of the Earth US +1 202 222 0716 or +1 202 265 1818 or email