As industrialised countries celebrate the World Trade Organisation’s Bali accord, the developing and the least-developed countries are forced to carry their battle to another day after securing only half-baked results and grandiose promises, said several trade ministers.
The World Trade Organisation’s ninth ministerial meeting at Bali, Indonesia has morphed into a fierce battle between the countries seeking social safety nets for hundreds of millions of poor people and those insisting on having advanced import-facilitation programmes in the developing countries on par with the industrialised nations.
The battle lines are clearly drawn. At a time when food security in the developing countries is snowballing into a major trade conflict between the developed and developing countries, what in reality is at stake is the livelihood security of an estimated 1.5 billion small farmers in the majority world.
A fight taking place in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations towards the Bali Ministerial Conference shows how the rules on agriculture allow developed countries to continue to shell out huge subsidies while penalising farmers in developing countries.