Oxfam on Developments in WTO Talks, Day 2

By Oxfam

Food Fight!

Talks today have focused on the use of food aid and its potential trade distorting effects.

Phil Bloomer, head of Oxfam International's Make Trade Fair campaign said: "In a world where 850m people suffer from chronic hunger, food aid can a vital part of any humanitarian response. However, US demands that food aid be sourced in America and delivered in kind rather than cash, cause unnecessary delay and can hurt the very people food aid is designed to help. The system must be reformed. Cash donations enable local purchase and deliver crucial assistance more efficiently without undermining local peoples' livelihoods or the economies of developing countries. The EU should not us food aid as an excuse to extend export subsidies."

Cotton: a deal breaker?

Cotton has been the focus of attention for many delegates and is expected to be the subject of a 'green room' discussion tonight.

Oxfam's Phil Bloomer said: "Cotton has the potential to bring these talks to their knees once again in Hong Kong, as it did in Cancun in 2003. US subsidies undermine African cotton farmers' livelihoods, as confirmed by a recent WTO ruling. Although promises were made to address the issue 'specifically, ambitiously and expeditiously' progress has been minimal.

If there is any hope of the Doha development round succeeding, the US must act immediately and unilaterally to end all cotton export subsidies in compliance with the WTO ruling."

Developing country assertiveness-the G110?

Rumours are circulating about a potential new grouping of developing countries, united in opposition against the current proposals on the table. Bloomer said: "Developing countries showed in Cancun that they will not be railroaded into a bad deal. Solidarity and assertiveness amongst developing countries is vital to achieve a pro-development outcome and resist rich country attempts to stitch up a deal that serves only their interests."

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