September 29, 2003
CANCUN SUMMIT WRAP-UP: BOTH RICH AND POOR LOSE IN 'DEBACLE'
failed due to the "intransigence" of both rich and poor, but U.S., EU
mainly to blame.
in the developing world and European left rooted for the G-22's
"formidable alliance"; some conservative voices saw "no reason
to rejoice" since the poor have the most to lose.
** The U.S. will be tempted to use the
"debacle" to "speed up" its own bilateral trade deals.
** Few expect anything positive to follow the
"disaster;" the next Geneva talks will be decisive.
'Arrogance and irrationality' caused defeat-- Most writers judged the wealthy countries as
the primary culprits in the Cancun breakdown, yet a number also found that both
rich and poor were guilty of "brinkmanship." Editorials from developing nations, Canada
and the European left accused the "powerful nations" of
"hypocrisy" for refusing to cut their "farming
protectionism." The primary reason
for failure, concluded Paris's Liberation, lies with the U.S. and EU's
"wish to trade lower subsidies...for open investments in under-developed
The 'formidable alliance' of G-22 the only reason to
rejoice-- Editorials worldwide
defended the developing countries' banding together to tell the "mighty
where to get off." They agreed that
those countries were right to use their numerical clout to stand up to the
"intransigence" of the U.S. and EU.
Despite the lack of progress on substance, the "resolute
emergence" of these countries was cause for celebration since it showed
that the WTO is not at the "beck and call" of the West. Though the U.S.-EU stance was
"insultingly mean," conservative and business dailies countered that
the G-22 may have overplayed its hand and could end up even more
"helpless" than before.
"Deriding the African countries' "whoops of delight" over
the talks' collapse, London's conservative Daily Telegraph admonished
that "any setback" in the Doha Round will leave those players in an
"even weaker position."
Chile's leading La Tercera added that the emerging powers
"were not pragmatic in assessing the situation and placed demands that
were too high.
Poor will 'pay the price' if multilateralism is replaced by
bilateralism-- On behalf of the G-22,
papers in Brazil, China, India and South Africa warned that the U.S. may
attempt to "splinter the newfound alliance" of the world's poor by
"dangling bilateral carrots."
A drift toward bilateral deals, they worried, could undermine the foundations
of the multilateral trade system.
Concerned about the threat to multilateralism, Nigeria's Guardian
averred that the recourse to bilateralism and regional deals will
"intensify" the "twin anachronism" of colonialism and
imperialism. "Under the unilateralist
and despotic Bush administration," intoned Brazil's Valor Economico,
"the U.S. is threatening to prioritize bilateral accords and conduct its
trade policy on the basis of political favoritism."
Cancun's after-effects-- Writers were pessimistic
that anything positive would follow in Cancun's footsteps. Reflecting a typical Latin view, Mexico's
independent Reforma held that Cancun marked the "drowning of the
free trade argument." Papers in
Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador saw it as a "blow" to the
FTAA. On a more optimistic note, a
German business daily argued that the failure had not "set the free trade
clock back to zero," emphasizing that it could even have a "salutary
shock" effect once working talks resume in Geneva.
This analysis is based on 95 editorials from 44 countries, September
15-26. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
Abominable No-Men Menacing World Trade"
Martin Wolf remarked in the independent Financial Times
(9/24): "The collapse of the
ministerial meeting of the WTO in Cancun, earlier this month, was a triumph for
the 'abominable no-men' of world trade.
At the head of that list are France and India.... Yet the world must find a way forward. That is perfectly possible; but only if a
limited number of big operators first reaches a consensus on the desirability
of doing so.... Nor, contrary to what
Robert Zoellick, the US trade representative, suggested in the FT on September
22, is there a realistic alternative to the WTO. Mr. Zoellick may wish to expend his energies
on bilateral deals instead of twiddling his thumbs in Washington. But signing deals with marginal operators is
therapy rather than serious policy....
The starting-point now is to accept that negotiations do not have to
include every WTO member.... What the
world needs is a serious negotiation among about 30 countries (with the EU
again counted as one). This is perfectly
feasible if the idea that the outcome must bind every member is
"The WTO Under Fire"
The independent Economist observed
(9/19): "[Cancun failed] because of
intransigence and brinkmanship by both rich and poor countries; because of
irresponsible and inflammatory behavior by NGOs; and because of the deeply
flawed decision-making system of the WTO itself.... America's bold promises were belied by its
actions.... Europe was stymied not just
by its desire to mollycoddle its own farmers, but by the EU's cumbersome
decision-making process.... But poor
countries, too, bear some responsibility for Cancun's collapse.... NGOs, who were at Cancun in force, deserve
much of the blame for this radicalistion....
Finally, blame belongs to the WTO's own decision-making procedures, or
rather the lack of them.... The WTO...is
a democratic organisation that works by consensus, but with no formal
procedures to get there.... If the
momentum in trade negotiations moves away from the WTO, the consequences for
the organisation itself could be grave....
Everyone would lose from this but, once again, the biggest losers would
be the poor countries."
"There Is Cause For Optimism At Cancun"
The center-left Independent editorialized
(9/16): "Had the delegates...who
gathered in Cancun been as energetic in finding ways around the obstacles that
faced them as they were in throwing blame around, things might have been more
successful.... However there is one new
factor at work--the emergence of a more formidable alliance of developing
nations, led by three populous intermediate economic powers, China, India and
Brazil.... For China and the others do
have a powerful bargaining chip: the
prospect of Western access to their potentially huge and highly lucrative
markets for goods and services. In
return, all the West has to do is buy more of the developing countries' cheap
textiles and food. Such a deal would,
according to the World Bank, raise global incomes by $520bn and take 144
million people out of poverty. The world
awaits the next round of WTO talks, to be held by December in Geneva, with at
least the satisfaction that progress towards that magnificent prize is still
The conservative Daily Telegraph took
this view (9/16): "There was
something pathetic about the African countries' whoops of delight at the
collapse of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in Cancun.... Any setback in the Doha Round...will leave
them in an even weaker position than at present. Big economic powers such as the EU, America
and China are likely to turn instead to regional and bilateral free trade
agreements.... In such dealing outside
the framework of the WTO, poor, weak nations have next to no say.... The stance of the EU and America was
insultingly mean.... It was unreasonable
to expect the developing world to swallow them after it had been so shabbily
treated over agriculture. For 55 years,
the GATT and its successor, the WTO, have proved an effective stimulus to world
trade.... Despite Sunday's setback, it
remains the best forum for promoting trade.
And responsibility for its revival lies primarily with the EU and
"Cancun Summit: Trade Talks Go To The
From an editorial in the center-left Guardian
(9/15): "Developing nations are
right to use the clout given by their numerical superiority to break the
intransigence of the U.S. and EU. The
WTO is not the problem. The behavior of
its richer members is."
FRANCE: “Europe After the
Failed Cancun Summit”
Jacques Amalric asserted in left-of-center Liberation
(9/18): “In the short and midterm, the failed Cancun summit and the crisis
overtaking the WTO could well benefit the U.S.... The WTO...is a multilateral international
organization.... The Bush administration
may be tempted to say goodbye to Cancun and multilateralism and hello to
bilateral and regional trade agreements, as Robert Zoellick has already
intimated.... These agreements will
probably be offered to those countries that are diplomatically close to the
U.S. and which acted ‘properly’ in Cancun....
The reason for Cancun’s failure lies with America and Europe’s wish to
trade lower subsidies in exchange for open investments in under-developed
nations. The imminence of the U.S.
presidential election has re-enforced the U.S. administration’s
intransigence.... The question today is
what will follow on the footsteps of this disaster? Nothing positive is to be expected from the
present U.S. administration. It is up to
Europe to take over. And to France to
make its actions agree with its proclaimed multilateralism.”
"WTO Is In A Hurry To Draw Lessons From
In the economic press centrist La Tribune
claimed (9/16): “In sports, when both teams are having a bad day they blame the
referee...and demand that he be replaced.… But what is worse than a bad referee
is no referee at all… Without the WTO to arbitrate, international trade could
become a savage competition where the strong will always come out on top.”
"The Twilight of Multilateralism"
Jean-Louis Validire commented in right-of-center
Le Figaro (9/16): “The U.S. is suspicious of organizations such as the
UN and the WTO...it believes that they are inherently unproductive. The recent
crisis with regard to the military intervention in Iraq only served to fuel
Washington’s distrust of the UN.… In politics as in trade, Washington does not
view multilateralism as a panacea...and prefers to work at the bilateral
level.… Washington will only cooperate with those who accept this condition. Sunday
Robert Zoellick endeavored to separate the wheat from the chaff by clearing
China, which is nonetheless part of the G21, of any responsibility in the
failure of the Cancun negotiations. The message is clear. The U.S. will use the
WTO to its advantage, and is not interested in its reform.… Today the WTO is a
sinking vessel. Its importance in the trade organization of the world could
fade away if fruitful negotiations take place elsewhere.”
"The Failure Of Cancun"
The unsigned editorial in left-of-center Le
Monde judged (9/16): “Despite this failure we can find one reason to
rejoice: in the increasing capacity of the countries of the South to advance
their interests. Their resolute emergence, to the point of undermining an
agreement at Cancun, paradoxically shows that the WTO is not unilaterally at
the beck and call of the North and the free market. It remains a forum for real
negotiation concerning international trade regulations… The failure of the
summit is, however, a new threat to multilateralism… If the WTO turns into the
UN, the U.S. will by-pass it. Indeed, the Bush administration has decided to
disregard Cancun preferring to put the emphasis on its bilateral relationships
with its partners.”
"U.S. Slows Down"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau contended
(9/23): "The Dubai meeting did not
result in progress with respect to the cancellation of debts of the developing
nations nor did the industrialized countries make any concessions with respect
to trade and development assistance....
The United States increasingly turns out to be the nation that slows
down progress in all sectors of development policy. Because of the record gap in the U.S. budget,
caused by the war costs in Iraq, Washington will make savings for military
adventures on the back of the poor at home and abroad."
"A Defeat For The Poor"
Konrad Mrusek judged in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
(9/16): "For the U.S. the reason
for the failure is clear: the developing
nations demanded too much and offered too little.... This criticism is partly justified.... But the meeting in Cancun, in the end, did
not fail because of trade policy details nor did it fail because of the noble
unanimity principle. In Cancun it became
obvious that the two trading powers, America and the EU, no longer set the tone
and are unable to implement everything they want. The club of the wealthy has turned into an
association with many different voices....
America and the EU saw themselves on an unusually cooperative defensive
in Cancun, because they were exposed to a kind of dual attack. They had to defend themselves against the
Third World and against the Third World groups in their own countries.... And these were the fan groups of the
developing nations. And the wealthy fans
of the poor cheered at the failure of the conference as their victory. But will it really be a victory of the
developing nations if the tariff hurdles in agricultural trade do not fall and
the WTO is being damaged? It is a defeat
for the poor."
"Not Back To Zero"
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg
argued (9/16): "The loser is by no
means only the wealthy West... The price
will also be paid by the poor developing nations if the multilateral legal
system is now replaced with bilateral agreements. And in such bilateral talks the stronger side
in general asserts its views, and this side usually sits in the northern
hemisphere.... Nevertheless, the failure of Cancun will not set the free trade
clock back to zero. The existing WTO
rules continue to exist.... It is
possible that the éclat from Cancun has the effect of a salutary shock once the
talks continue on the working level in Geneva.
Maybe the envoys of developing nations will then understand that the
'Balkanization' of trade will damage trade policy.… They may then consider an insufficient
opening of markets better than no opening at all. But the United States and the EU will have to
rethink their negotiating tactic. The
old style has failed."
Benedetto Della Vedova judged in leading business-oriented Il
Sole-24 Ore (9/17): “The paradox of
the centrality of farming is determined above all by the choice of the EU and
U.S. to not give up their farming protectionism, even if it is detrimental to
the development of many Third World countries, as well as to their own
consumers.... The U.S. economy is
stronger than the European one and as everyone can see, it continues to develop
a global geopolitical influence, that although contradictory, guarantees the
possibility of bilateral economic and trade agreements that are not within
Europe’s reach.... Now talks will resume
in Geneva. Once out of the limelight, it
is probable that the 22 countries that acquired extraordinary political
relevance on the world economic scene in Cancun, will sit down at the negotiating
table with less bellicose intentions: it is in their interest to avoid trade
wars that ultimately could jeopardize their exports to rich countries. It is
also for this reason, despite what the U.S. does, that Europe should find its
pride and wisdom and give a strong signal on farming, by at least definitively
giving up export subsidies.”
"Who Will Pay For The Failure Of The WTO In Cancun"
Federico Rampini opined in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (9/16): “There was no
reason to feel proud for being European in Cancun. Our economic superpower...had a decisive role
in the failure of this summit: we impeded an agreement with Third World
countries where the majority of the population has an income of less than two
euros per day. Our negotiators brought
home intact the farming protectionism that is an historic anachronism and a
planetary shame. In order to favor a
lobby that now represents a mere 3 percent of the European population, we have
denied access to our markets to the products of poor farmers, and we inundate
their countries with surplus produce sold below cost thanks to state
subsidies.... The failure of the WTO is
not a defeat for globalization, but rather a victory for a more savage and less
regulated globalization. The truly poor
return home empty-handed. The U.S. will
continue along the road it chooses: it will reach bilateral agreements for free
trade with single countries.... The EU
could have finally demonstrated itself to be a different superpower from the
U.S.... Cancun was our chance to
indicate the values that we want to represent to the rest of the world. Europe failed the test.”
"The Defeat of The Big and The
Danilo Taino opined in centrist, top-circulation
Corriere della Sera (9/15): “The
WTO Conference failed, and for those that opposed this round of liberalization
of international exchange, Cancun recalls Seattle in 1999, when another
conference failed.… The clash between rich and poor countries is too radical.…
Now, there is a serious problem.… The fracture between rich and poor countries
widens. This is everyone’s responsibility, but in this case mostly because the
advanced countries were not willing to recognize the new power relations in the
world. Then there is the EU. It did not look good coming out of the conference.
It came out with the image of someone who is hanging on to the privileges of
its farmers and that above all is involved in a tug-of-war with the Third World
on very sensitive issues like regulations on competitiveness and investments
(on which, on the other hand, the U.S. showed indifference). And Italy as well
… did not take developing countries into full consideration.… The fact remains
that in Cancun the anti-globals are celebrating. They’re probably wrong, but
even the others should understand ‘that the world is not for sale.’”
Rich Put Own Interests Ahead Of Global Well-being"
Reformist Gazeta held (9/16): "The rich nations preferred to put their
farmers' interests ahead of global well-being, thereby proving once again that
the WTO is a useful instrument to protect their own markets and producers. Based on that, Russia should stand firmly by
its farmers...and make no concessions where even WTO members cannot reach
BELGIUM: “Would Trade European Cow For Poor
Amid Faljaoui editorialized in in business weekly Trends/Tendances
(9/18): “In order not to displease their farm lobbies, leaders of the world two
largest economic blocks remain deaf to the poor countries’ requests.... But those opponents to globalization can also
partially be blamed for the failure of Cancun.
Indeed, their first mistake was to demonize the WTO, with the risk of
forgetting that, within the WTO, each country has a vote and that, as a result,
the WTO is much more democratic than the IMF, where the U.S. has a right of
veto.... Rather than focusing on its
main mission...the WTO has become a madhouse where all frustrations are being
expressed and it has been transformed into a kind of free-for-all, achieving no
HUNGARY: “WTO’s Waterloo”
Right-wing conservative Magyar Nemzet
concluded (9/20): "The trade talks
in Cancun, after four barren days, failed.
It was due to the deep divide in the visions of the rich and the poor
countries.... According to Rockwell
Schnabel, the U.S. representative to the EU, the WTO ‘s agenda builds on the
consensus that the dismantling of the trade barriers is the best tool for
enhancing economic growth and boosting world economy, of which the main
beneficiaries would be the developing countries. But, in the reality, the described
‘consensus’ reflects the interests of the wealthy countries and lacks real
facts. One example is the high price
that the developing countries have already had to pay for the capital
liberalization that the IMF forced onto them, a cause of serious economic
depression. As said Joseph Stiglitz, the
former chief economist of the World Bank ‘the IMF has learnt already that
unrestricted liberalization accelerates instability instead of growth.‘ The failure in Cancun shows well that the
developing countries have begun to learn the lesson and that some of them are
strong enough to reject unilateral criteria.”
"To Have And Have Not"
populist Irish Independent editorialized (9/16): “The hopes of
human kind, it has to be said, were never focused on Cancún. Rich and poor nations alike simply did not
expect the world trade talks in Mexico to succeed.... The collapse of the talks
has brought shock, followed by gloom… it
is not simply a matter of intransigence on the part of European or American
farmers. The problem arises chiefly from
the world leaders’ lack of breadth and imagination.”
"Fall-out From Failure Cancun"
Irish Times commented (9/16): “It will be some time before the full
implications of the chaotic collapse of the world trade talks in Cancun become
clear.... A notable development in was
the formation of a negotiating coalition of 21 developing countries, providing
a counterweight to the U.S., the EU and Japan.... All sides need to realise
that freer trade--on a fairer basis--has the potential to boost living
standards across the developing world, Cancún as well as underpinning growth in
industrialised countries. The alternative, if the round were to collapse
completely, would be uncertainty about the rules governing trade and who
implements them. There are already signs that some players will look to strike
bilateral trade deals, while in the long term there would be a threat of
increasing disputes and even new trade barriers. The failure of Cancún will surely be
recalled in years to come as an important turning point.... Finding a way
forward for the multilateral trade system will not be easy, but the price of
failing to do so could be very high.”
PORTUGAL: "The Tragic Disillusion in Cancun"
Influential, moderate-left Público noted (9/16): “We
shouldn’t be mistaken: the principal blame [for the failure of Cancun] falls on
the developed countries, especially the EU, the USA and Japan. In the American case, we are faced with an
enormous political incoherency, since a president who asserts himself as a
defender of open commerce insists on a protectionist policy as or more serious
than that which led him to tariff the importation of steel to protect a
decadent American industry.... Whoever
desires to lead the world, give lessons in openness and promote democratic
forms of government has to be coherent to the end, even when the decisions are
difficult, something which neither the USA, nor the EU were capable of doing in
Cancun.... All that is now to be hoped
for is that...such important agreements as the opening of markets of poor
countries to much less expensive generic medicines will not be lost, another on
which the North has an obligation of solidarity with the South.”
SPAIN: "Cancun Enlarges the Fracture"
Independent El Mundo wrote (9/16):
"Cancun has failed because social and economic interests have carried more
weight than ethical considerations. It's
frustrating, but so it is. The bigger
losers have been the 50 or 60 poorest Asian and African countries not aligned
with any group."
Justice In International Free Trade"
Pro-government Al Ahram opined (9/17): “The failure of the WTO talks in Cancun was
but the natural outcome of imbalance in the international economic system and
the insistence by wealthy countries on negotiating from the perspective of
powers seeking their own interests regardless of considerations of developing
and poor countries. Gradually the
majority of the world coping with the policy of globalization accepted a global
trend towards further liberalization of international trade and the elimination
of barriers and custom tariffs....
However, this course faced a major hurdle with developing countries,
which did not show enough flexibility in the negotiations.... Pursuing both justice and interests is the
only way to realize the objective of global trade liberalization.”
"A Dialogue Of The Deaf "
Manoubi Marouki remarked in independent
French-language Le Quotidien (9/16):
The only description that can come to the mind of any smart observer of
the WTO Cancun Summit is the following: what occurred was a dialogue of the
deaf since the interests of the most powerful countries go against the current
of the rest of the planet. As to be
expected, the dialogue failed over the agriculture question…in particular
against the outrageous subsidies enjoyed by farmers in the developed countries,
in particular the U.S. and Europe …To achieve fair regulations and free trade
among 146 countries is impossible. The differences between the countries are
too big, and their interests are not comparable. The only thing to do is to continue the
dialogue despite all the differences, and to agree to help those who really
need help from among the poor countries less they be destroyed by
"Communication Between Rich And Poor
Hajer Jeridi stated in independent
French-language Le Temps (9/15):“Once again, the communication between
the rich and the poor of the world was lacking during the Cancun meeting, which
only ended in failure.... This last
summit confirmed the status quo and strengthened the position of those who are
fighting a discriminatory system that enriches the rich and impoverished the
“Marketing A Free Trade Myth”
Christopher Pearson opined in the conservative Australian
(9/20-21): “The collapse of the multilateral trade discussions in Cancun is the
natural culmination of a system of negotiations that has always been based on
duplicity and deceit on the part of the leading trading nations.... The collapse of the Cancun talks gives the
Howard Government an opportunity to review trade policy. If the priority is the U.S. free trade
agreement, then perhaps multilateral policy should be directed towards winding
back the role of the WTO to a simple entity that focuses on the benefits to
countries of unilaterally reducing protection, without the involvement of an
overblown international body and expensive pointless negotiations.”
"Trading Places: A Plea For Fairness"
The liberal Melbourne-based Age noted (9/17): “When push came to shove in Cancun, however,
it became apparent that the key players in the developed world on agricultural
trade--the US, the European Union and Japan--were not about to budge in
negotiations, let alone abandon their highly protectionist agricultural
tariffs. The upshot was that the developing nations en bloc abandoned the
negotiation process in protest. One of the lessons in this for the WTO is that
the developing nations have become a force to be reckoned with.... There are signs--especially from the EU--that
substantive reforms favoring the developing nations are possible. It remains in
no one's interest for the process to come to a halt, let alone threaten the
integrity of the WTO.”
"No Winners At Cancun Meeting"
Wang Jufang asserted in the China Radio
International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao,
9/23): "The most glaring phenomenon
of the Cancun meeting was that the developing countries allied themselves for
self-improvement.... In this regard, the
Cancun meeting was ‘beneficial,’ and even a ‘turning point’ for global
multilateral trade negotiation....
However, compared to the developed countries, the failure of the Cancun
meetings more negatively impacted developing countries because the developed
countries already have the upper hand in many trade sectors...and the
developing countries now have to settle problems through bilateral channels
since trading regulations can hardly be fulfilled under a multilateral
framework. In addition, developing
countries will suffer more losses in bilateral situations due to their lack of
bargaining power, negotiating tactics and experience.... The trend of economic globalization is
irrevocable. Therefore a compatible
global multilateral trade mechanism is doubtless a necessity. Developing countries have a responsibility to
maintain the operations of this mechanism, while developed countries have
larger obligations that they can’t decline.
In this sense, there was no winner at the Cancun meeting."
"We Can’t Bear To Reflect On Cancun
Liang Yeqian commented in official International
Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (9/19): “Public opinion thinks
that the failure of the Cancun meeting not only casts a shadow on the WTO
itself, but also will have a dampening influence on world economic
recovery.... It remains to be seen
whether or not those results will be beneficial to developing
countries.... The greatest difference
between this meeting and similar meetings is that voices from developing
countries are becoming louder and louder and their opinions are having more and
more of an impact. In the trade
organization which previously was called a ‘rich countries’ club,’ all members
listened to the U.S. and the EU opinions....
Now the influence of developing countries’ is increasing.... U.S. power politics and unilateralism have
aroused dissatisfaction in many countries.
In the meeting, developing countries’ resistance to the U.S. and
European proposal was an expression of this feeling.”
"China May Again Encounter Unilateralist
Chen Weihua commented in official International
Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao, 9/19): "The failure of the meeting proved that
a more severe confrontation has emerged within the WTO and the end-result is
that multilateralism has been frustrated.
Viewed in the context of modern international relations, once great
countries encounter frustration in multilateral frameworks, they will consider
two alternatives: to change the international negotiation system ...[or] to
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "A Free World Market Or Hostile Trading
Mike Moore, former prime minister of New
Zealand, remarked in the independent English-language South China Morning
Post (9/19): "The failure of
the trade ministers meeting in Cancun was bad for both rich and poor
countries. Injustices remain, and the
global economy has been sent a mixed message.
The talks were organized to get high-level agreement on how and what to
negotiate to implement the Doha Development Agenda, which should be finalized
in late 2004 at a conference in Hong Kong.... It is not just the big players
who should be blamed. They also have
needs, and many are beginning to think that it will be quicker to build blocs
of open trade which, in a decade or so, may come together. Economists will point out the weaknesses of
regionalism because of trade diversion, conflicting rules of origin and
difficult, contradictory and costly agreements.
But politicians want to sign things; they need success and headlines.... The answer?
A coalition of self-interest must be put together and an offer worked
out that is too good to refuse. This
takes diplomacy and risk, not TV sound bites.
It is about knowing what people need, not what they want."
"Life, Death And The WTO"
Alejandro Reyes argued in the independent
English-language South China Morning Post (9/19): "The core problem is not so much that
the WTO wants to play God, but that the 148 members of the UN agency are trying
to create 'God'--in the shape of a vast compendium of commercial commandments,
what might be called a rulebook for globalization.... Although the WTO operates
by consensus, the biggest, richest members wield the most influence. Several
smaller, developing countries have banded together in strategic
coalitions. But to declare Cancun a
victory of the have-nots over the haves would be wrong. Neither was this a rejection of
globalization. What we are witnessing is
evidence of what I would call globophobia, or the fear of globalization. We are all globophobic to some degree. We share a nagging fear: that somehow
globalization, as we are shaping it, is unleashing forces that are leading us
to lose control over our individual destinies.... There is also the fear that
the more interconnected we become, the more we may lose control of our culture
and moral standards. Some of these
concerns are warranted; some are not."
"Don't Kill WTO Framework!"
Liberal Asahi observed (9/18): "The free trade system that has been
taking root since the end of World War II is now facing an unprecedented crisis
in the wake of the WTO ministerial in Cancun where rich and poor nations failed
to reach an accord because of bitter disagreements. At the Cancun ministerial, the most difficult
negotiations centered on farm trade issues where developing countries severely criticized
the U.S. and EU's heavy subsidization of their farm exports.... Following the
ministerial, USTR Zoellick stressed the need to give more weight to bilateral
or regional free trade agreements (FTAs) than to the WTO framework. But we regard FTAs as a supplementary
mechanism for the WTO framework of free trade.
Japan had been so protective of its domestic farm industry by continuing
to impose super-high tariffs on foreign rice that it failed to urge the U.S. and
EU to reduce subsidies for farm exports or win support from developing
nations. Having failed to demonstrate
its leadership at the Cancun ministerial, Japan appears to be becoming isolated
from the world trade system."
"Doha Round Should Be Restructured And
Moderate Tokyo Shimbun
observed (9/17): "The WTO
ministerial in Cancun collapsed on Sunday without any accord due to bitter
disagreements between rich and poor nations. The breakdown has made it
difficult for WTO members to conclude the current Doha Round of multilateral trade
negotiations by the January 1, 2005 deadline.
Nations concerned should draw on their wits and resources to restructure
and conclude the Doha Round. Both rich and poor nations should now meet halfway
and return to points of mutual agreement from where they should restart
negotiations. Even in the aftermath of the failed Cancun ministerial, WTO
member nations should not be inclined to conclude free trade agreements. A
multilateral accord is always the foundation of free world trade."
SOUTH KOREA: “ROK Facing More Difficulties After
Collapse of World Trade Talks”
The independent Dong-a Ilbo editorialized
(9/16): “With the collapse of the fifth WTO ministerial conference in Cancun,
Mexico, the ROK has been put in a more difficult situation, especially in rice
trade negotiations. This is because we
have to renegotiate with rice exporters, such as the U.S., China and Australia,
on the opening of our rice market, which accounts for half of the income of our
farming industry.... It would be wrong
for the ROKG to delay restructuring the agriculture industry or to give farmers
the illusion that we don’t have to open our agricultural market, as a result of
the breakdown of the world trade talks.”
"Bumpy Road Lies Ahead of ROK Agriculture
The nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh
Shinmun editorialized (9/16): “Even though the collapse of the fifth WTO
ministerial conference has bought us a little more time for negotiations, this
is not necessarily a favorable situation for us. With the breakdown of the talks, chances are
high that the phenomenon of regional bloc formation will further accelerate,
aggravating our overall export/import environment. With regard to the agriculture sector, as
this Cancun draft resolution will very likely become the major reference
material for future trade negotiations, our farming industry might be in danger
of collapsing. In addition, even if we
are successful in keeping our developing-nation status, it is crystal clear
that we will be under much stronger pressure to open up our agricultural
INDONESIA: "Motion Against Advanced
Countries Among Commonwealths"
Leading independent Kompas asserted
(9/18): “Under the pretext of trade
liberation, advanced countries want to grind down developing countries’
markets. Products from developing
countries would certainly lose if competition and trade runs only in one
direction. It is a reasonable fear that
trade liberalization will end up as new global colonialism.”
"WTO Failure: Doha Agenda Minus
Mari Pangestu contended in the independent
English-language Jakarta Post (9/17):
“The recent failure of the WTO Ministerial in Cancun to agree to move
forward reflects a continual lack of regard of the major members of WTO for the
interests and concerns of developing countries.
By the eleventh hour, there was just not enough on the table regarding
developing countries – the majority of the WTO’s 146 members. There is now great skepticism of the January
1, 2005 deadline for the end of negotiations.”
"Triumph And Defeat In Cancun"
The government-influenced English language New Straits Times
editorialized (9/16): "Let's not
mince words here. Cancun failed because
the rich and powerful nations didn't change their ways. They thought they could continue to bully the
poor nations and get away with it. They
didn't this time, at the WTO talks in Cancun, because Third World countries
were united and determined to defeat the developed countries in their attempt
to force their agenda down the throats of the poor. It may not be apparent but Cancun was also a
victory for democracy. The majority of
the world's population represented at Cancun successfully out-foxed the
minority of developed nations who had tried to manipulate them into acceding to
their demands. The voice of the majority
carried the day to the delight of human rights, democracy and anti-globalization
activists gathered at the Mexican seaside resort."
Commenting on Trade Secretary Roxas' statement
that the Philippines should consider bilateral agreements with other nations,
the liberal Today (9/26): “This is precisely the sort of mentality the
European Union and the United States like to foster, and which those who
exulted over the muscle-flexing by developing nations at the WTO feared most.
For faced with an organized and aggressive solidarity bloc comprising the developing
world, the EU and USA have begun to exact agreements with poor nations on a
bilateral basis. In more nakedly imperialist times, this was known as ‘divide
and conquer.’…What the U.S. and the EU cannot get through IMF-World Bank
dictation or the WTO, they seek to manage to get through one-on-one
bullying. The collapse of Cancun was
meant to demonstrate that the developing nations preferred no agreement to a
bad agreement in the form of a big power diktat.... The Philippines joined in
that exultation and even tried to claim some credit for standing firm. Yet so
soon, the head of the Philippine delegation is now preaching economic
appeasement to the big powers. Either Mar Roxas hasn’t explained himself well
or he is leading a sellout.”
"Splitting The WTO"
Columnist Bernardo Lopez wrote in the
independent Business World (9/25):
“The collapse (of the Cancun talks)…was a victory for the poor nations
who formed in the blink of an eye the Group of 21.... For the first time, the rich nations, which
dominated the Uruguay and Doha rounds, were rattled.... If the rich will never give an inch, there is
no choice but to split the WTO into two: a WTO faction for the rich, a WTO
faction for the poor. Only in a
polarized war do we have a chance. We
are helpless in a melee. After all, with
the impasse at Cancun, there are only two scenarios: one, the WTO will die a
natural death, replaced by the previous practice of regional and bilateral
agreements; two, the WTO will split into rich and poor sectors. Either way, there is no choice but to address
sharing, and harmony opposed to greed and arrogance, …if we want a harmonious world
"Rich Countries Not Ready To Share
Beth Day Romulo wrote in her column in the
independent Manila Bulletin (9/25):
“This year, the poorer, developing countries had the good sense to band
together, forming the Group of 21, which can hardly be ignored since it
represents the majority of the world’s small farmers and also a majority of the
world population.…Now that the 21…have banded together, created a common
agenda, and speak with one voice, it will be more difficult in the future for
the special interests of U.S., EU and Japan to ignore their demands. These are not a bunch of shouting crazies
trying to cut down the wire fences that protect the conference hall. They are inside the hall, clearly enunciating
what constitute fair global trade practices.
The battle is far from over....
The one success for the poor nations…was the U.S. reversal of its former
opposition to allowing poor countries to buy cheap generic versions of
life-saving drugs which are produced in India and Brazil without breaking
international trade laws that protect patents for giant pharmaceutical
companies. This was one instance were,
despite the opposition of the powerful pharmaceutical companies, a moral
argument outweighed a commercial one.”
"Imperialists Not Giving Up"
Teddy Casino, leader of the activist group
Bayan, noted in the independent Business World (9/19): “The industrialized countries exposed their
hypocritical stance vis-à-vis globalization and free trade.... The developing countries...gave
the...industrialized countries the dirty finger.... But the imperialists are not about to give
up. Negotiations will now shift to
Geneva, where the WTO missions of various countries are based. This will mean a less transparent process
involving lower level functionaries, giving the powerful countries more room to
maneuver.... The U.S. and EU are also
intent on forging bilateral free trade agreements with individual countries. These trade pacts...often contain harsher
commitments than those made under the WTO since the weaker countries have no
benefit of alliances (like the Group of 22) or multilateral negotiating tactics
to leverage themselves with.”
"Cancun Is A Watershed--Not A Tragedy"
Anthony Rowley editorialized in the pro-government
Business Times (9/18): "The failure of the World Trade
Organization's (WTO) Doha Round in Cancun is not the tragedy that those bent on
rapid liberalisation of trade and investment regimes would have us
believe. Rather, it presents an opportunity
for profound reflection by all parties upon the whole issue of globalisation
and upon the socioeconomic consequences of trying to integrate nations at very
different stages of development rapidly.
Cancun, Mexico is not the first example of a dramatic setback for the
WTO.... The latest failure should therefore make it abundantly clear that the
WTO is heading in a fundamentally wrong direction, or, at the very least, at
too fast a pace.... It really is time to
stop pushing for further WTO Rounds, at least for the time being. Even now, the global economic system has not
fully taken onboard (let alone adjusted to) the consequences of the great surge
in global manufacturing investment and production, which has taken place as a
result of previous WTO Rounds and of regional and bilateral free trade
agreements. These may yet produce a
social backlash against the consequences of overcapacity. In this sense, Cancun is a watershed rather
than a tragedy."
"Cancun Sees World Split"
The pro-government Straits Times observed (9/16): "As an interim step to a global
agreement to regulate world commerce, the inconclusive Cancun trade talks need
not spell a collapse of the process....
But the Cancun session provided enough danger signs that governments and
trade diplomats would not have missed. World Trade Organization (WTO)
negotiations are turning into a surrogate war between developing and poor
nations and the one-sixth of the globe considered rich.... The two sides simply did not recognize the
priority of the other. Small wonder the talks stopped dead at that
point.... What now? Every specialist is
agreed that bloc deals and nation-to-nation trade agreements are the next best
thing.... But as Singapore's Trade Minister George Yeo noted, weak nations will
still be disadvantaged in direct deals--if at all they are appealing partners
to the mercantile heavyweights.... Hope
must be kept alive after Cancun. But it will take a supreme act of
statesmanship to bring a change in WTO member nations' entrenched sense of
mutual suspicion. Whose move--the U.S., Japan, Group of 21, Europe...Cairns...?
Here, the playing field is level."
“Failure Of The Doha Trade Round In Cancun”
Business-oriented Prachachart Turakij observed (9/24): “In sum, developing countries are now pleased
that they have been able to unite against their developed counterparts under
the WTO multilateral framework and successfully weakened the latter’s
domination. Nevertheless I’m afraid this
victory may be a hollow one. If
multilateral talks cannot continue, pressure in developed countries to protect
domestic markets would intensify and developing countries would suffer serious
disadvantages when they have a one-on-one negotiation with their developed
counterparts in the future.”
"Another Setback For World Trade"
The lead editorial in the independent, English language Nation
read (9/16): “Without progress on global
trade liberalization talks, there is a danger that countries will resort to
trade protectionism. Already, bilateral
free trade arrangements have been mushrooming because so many countries have
lost faith in the WTO’s ability to look after their interests. It seems that at the moment, the best they
can expect is to join a regional free trade bloc, a concept that is proliferating. This raises the specter of the world being
pushed into protectionist trade blocs.
So there is an urgent need for the WTO to prove its worth once again. In theory, countries benefit more from
multilateral trade arrangements than from bilateral or regional trade
arrangements.... In light of the
prospect of a complete disruption to the process of globalization, it’s
critical that countries get together and adhere to a rules-based, and thus
ultimately fair, trading system.”
INDIA: "Cancan At Cancun"
MP Mani Shankar Aiyar editorialized in the
centrist Telegraph (9/23):
"It would be churlish to deny Arun Jaitley his moment of glory at
Cancun.... Vajpayee continues to chase
the Holy Grail of a special relationship with the U.S. The U.S. is not interested; what the U.S.
wants is not an India in special relationship with them but an India in
subsidiary alliance, where we will provide them with Indian levies to die for
them in Iraq in exchange for thirty pieces of silver.... Can we sustain an anti-U.S./EU position in
external trade with a pro-U.S./EU tilt in external affairs? It is, after all, an unequal bargain. If we throw ourselves on Western mercy and benevolence,
we are one of a large crowd. Washington
will extract from us in external commerce what few bones it is willing to throw
us in external affairs."
"Celebrate Cancun, But With Caution"
The centrist Indian Express noted
(9/21): “A ‘no deal’ has made [Arun
Jaitley] look like a winner, but I would like to caution him that, in the long
run, a ‘no deal’ will hurt India and other developing countries. The whole basis of the WTO is
dealmaking...and it is the capacity of ministers to produce agreements that has
made the WTO a very different kind of international body.... The sooner India shakes off this ‘forever
poor’ obsession, the better India and Indians will be. India needs more agreements in the WTO. So does every other country. A ‘no deal’ WTO will hurt the developing
countries more than the developed countries.
If no agreements are reached in the WTO, that does not mean there will
be no agreements at all. In that event,
there will be more Regional Trading Agreements (RTA), multilateral or bilateral
agreements and, worse, sweetheart deals....
The U.S. and the EU will offer, separately or together, bilateral
agreements to many developing countries, and many of them will take up such
offers. The worst situation will be if
sweetheart deals proliferate.... A ‘no
deal’ at Cancun may have the flavor of victory, but a permanent stance of ‘no
deals’ or ‘no more deals’ will permanently rob India of the potential to grow
into a developed and strong economy.”
"The After Effects Of Cancun"
Pradeep Mehta declared in the
pro-economic-reforms Economic Times (9/20): “The solidarity shown by the poor countries
at the Cancun trade meet which came as a surprise to many, is a genuine reason
for pride in the developing world. It
showed what can be achieved in a democratic institution. If only trade negotiations were truly a
democratic business!... Looking at the
statements made by U.S. officials before and since the meeting, it appears as
if they were only waiting for an opportunity to move away from the multilateral
to the regional and bilateral track....
The institution of WTO is itself set to change, as both the two trading
powers want sweeping changes in the way it operates.... In 2003, it seems as if polarization between
the rich and the poor may still be deeply entrenched. We cannot forecast the impact of this in
future in either of the areas of economic and political relations, but if this
new-found developing country solidarity can be sustained, it could bring in a
new power equation among the rich and the poor countries of the world.”
The centrist Telegraph opined (9/20):
“The rich countries made a grave miscalculation in Cancun.... They thought they could divide the group of
21 developing states and have their way in the last days of the conference. The
Americans, at least, came prepared for that scenario.... India’s insistence in Cancun that there is no
grand alliance of the Third World, but only issue-based agreements among
delegations is as significant as Jaitley’s efforts...to hold together the group
of 22 in the face of disinformation, cheque-book diplomacy and crude threats by
rich nations. It is also a measure of
the effectiveness of the strategy that Jaitley pursued in Cancun that no one at
any stage challenged the morality or the fairness of the stand taken by India
and other developing countries--not Lamy, not the U.S. trade representativeand
certainly not the WTO chief...who actually intervened in the proceedings at one
stage on behalf of the extremely poor cotton-growing African states ravaged by
subsidies for cotton farmers in George W. Bush’s home state of Texas."
"Cancun: Not A Requiem For
The pro-economic-reforms Financial Express
expressed (9/19): “Cancun tore at the
seams. Symbolic gestures have a way of
calling attention when everyone gets caught up in the detail. The betrayal on cotton became a
symbol.... Having pushed the WTO’s
Cancun ministerial to the brink, the U.S. and EU trade representatives were
churlish in their response to a collapse they virtually engineered.... Neither the U.S. nor EU were keen on the kind
of compromise that the developing world was about to secure. The time had come to cut losses, quit and
quickly find a scapegoat.... The core
issue at Cancun was agricultural subsidies.
Everything else was secondary. If
Old Europe will not give up its butter mountains how can New Africa earn
bread?.... The second thing that is
clear after Cancun, is that the Singapore issues are virtually out of the Doha
Round.... Cancun was a way station for
the Doha Round, not the final destination.
So what if the journey has been slowed down, perhaps even derailed for a
while, mainly on account of the timetable of U.S. Presidential elections, it
will resume, like the Uruguay Round did and there will be more jaw-jaw."
The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer declared (9/17): "The bad news from Cancun is that the
World Trade Organization's fifth ministerial meeting fell apart. The good news
is that David slew Goliath--by snatching moral victory from defeat.... As also the memory of the historic moment at
Cancun when the world's less privileged told the mighty where to get off."
"Greed vs. Equity"
The centrist Times of India commented (9/16): "With the developing countries forced to
liberalize trade and open up markets, this has brought millions of Third World
farmers to the brink of penury and starvation.
Yet, for all the moral poignancy of this rhetoric, the breakdown of
talks is a grave blow. Global trade, for
all its inequity, represents the only real long-term hope for the world's
poor. While many in the West would be
happy to let the WTO go, a vulnerable Third World has a far greater stake in an
internationally agreed mechanism for regulating global trade. What's more, the unity displayed by the
developing world at Cancun will come under increasing strain in the coming
months, with the U.S., along with the EU, 'picking off' individual countries
for bilateral deals, not to mention regional trading blocs.... In other words, there is a need urgently to
work out a joint long-term strategy and revive the failed Cancun process. As for the West, it must face up to the fact
that an equitable global trade is not just a moral imperative but a long-term
economic necessity. It cannot continue
to prosper, while the rest of the world lives in poverty. "
"Failure At Cancun"
Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn
maintained (9/17): "The WTO
ministerial conference, which was critical for rapid recovery of the global
economy, collapsed in Cancun on Sunday, following the failure of delegates to
bridge deep differences over agricultural, investment and competition
rules.... If the industrialized world
does not provide an even playing field in trade to the developing states,
globalization will be retarded and there will be slower economic recovery that
would benefit neither the North nor the South."
SRI LANKA: "WTO
Crash--A Fresh Chance For Asia"
Independent English-language Mirror commented (9/17): "The United States, the European Union
and Japan...used all their neo-colonial powers...to hammer out a world trade
pact by the end of next year but it now seems highly improbable.... Representatives of the Third World, led by
India, Brazil and South Africa, claim they...scored a political victory in
proving they would no longer be bullied into a bad deal by the dominant trading
powers.... In this contrary and
confusing scenario, Sri Lanka also would need to seriously reflect on whether
we are going to follow World Bank strategies wholesale or whether we should
work out an alternative arrangement linked more to regional groups like SAARC,
ASEAN or the Pan Asia Economic Cooperation Forum mooted by Thailand."
"The Significance Of The Cancun Collapse"
Independent English-language Island opined (9/17): "Cancun is significant in that...after
years the poor of the world picked up enough courage to say 'no' to the rich
and mighty.... The Cancun summit
collapsed...because the poor nations...demanded that countries such as the
U.S....lower their huge agricultural subsidies.... It has been pointed out that rich nations pay
as much as $300 billion in subsidies to their farmers, leading to over
production of many crops...that are dumped on global markets, depressing prices
and rendering farmers of the developing countries absolutely destitute.... It is indeed encouraging that they have,
after a long period of servitude, summoned enough courage to defy the rich and
mighty. To meekly submit to policies in
silence that will keep the poor of the world in rags and hunger makes no
SOUTH AFRICA: "Cancun
The liberal Mercury declared (9/17): "A very strong and valid point has been
made. It is close to nonsensical to
forge international agreements on liberalized free trade when a vital portion
of such commerce is based not in liberal market principles but in the worst
sort of dirigiste protectionism....
Farmers in the developing world are unable to compete in their own
markets, which receive vast quantities of cheap agricultural products, dumped
from the developed world. Agriculture is
the primary economic activity of the developing word, and such a distortion is
manifestly unfair, and ultimately undesirable for all.... The point having been well made, the next
challenge is to get it seriously on the international agenda."
Dr. Iraj Abedian opined in pro-government, Afro-centric Sowetan
(9/17): "It is easy to apportion
blame to developing countries for the lack of institutional capacity to engage
in the reform process. It is just as
easy to accuse the developed countries for their intransigence about a number
of trade reforms, be they linked to farm subsidies or intellectual property
rights. The sum total of the situation,
however, perpetuates inequality, creates global instability and constitutes a
major stumbling block to improving the standard of living of poor nations. Significantly, there are no built-in or
self-correcting mechanisms to rectify these flaws. On the contrary, if the socio-economic system
is left to itself, global disparities are bound to increase and the collective
vulnerabilities of the poor and the rich nations will multiply. Intelligent and rational interventions are
thus needed to reform the system in a holistic and sustainable manner."
The Afrikaans language, centrist Beeld editorialized
(9/16): "Now it's the poorer,
developing countries who are standing together against the rich nations of the
West, particularly the U.S., to try and force them to do away with the
outrageous large subsidies paid to their farmers.... The rich countries make it impossible for
poor, developing countries to compete because of these large subsidies. This worsens poverty, hunger and political
instability in developing countries. It
is time that consumers in the first world realize that it is their money that
"Battle Lost, But Not The War"
The liberal Star commented (9/16): "Poor countries that stood up against
the rich countries should be congratulated.
They deserve our unqualified support despite the fact that they did not
win the battle because the talks geared at addressing the concerns of poor
countries collapsed.... The developing
countries, and Africa in particular, should continue to campaign for fair
trade. This will be a long and
protracted struggle.... If the developed
countries do not want to adhere to fair trade, then they should accept that
poor nations will keep on coming to them to beg for aid. Even more to the point, as poverty deepens in
the developing world governments will be weaker and global terrorism will
flourish in areas where there are no strong governments to enforce the law....
So the rich countries do not have a choice."
"Content, Not Pontificating, Was What Killed Cancun"
Assistant editor Max Gebhardt opined in the liberal Business
Report (9/16): "What is
astounding is that the EU and U.S. either haven't realized that it was the
substance, and not the process, of the discussions that caused the collapse or
they have chosen, for political reasons, to ignore this fact entirely.... The worry now is what this will do to future
WTO meetings. The US is already saying
it will now focus on bilateral trade negotiations with favoured nations. The threat is very clear. Developing nations might find themselves on
the outside of any future bilateral trade deals, overshadowed by the might of
the developed world."
GHANA: “Lessons From Cancun
The national government-owned Ghanaian Times editorialized
(9/17): “If anything, the talks produced
a new twist to the conduct of such meetings when developing countries, for
once, refused to accept the so-called revised terms of trade proposed by the
15-member European Union with the U.S., in collaboration in direct contrast to
their objectives. This is not a situation where a bluff has been called by any
side in the bargain. It is the scenario which is very familiar with the
powerful nations of the world in their unrelenting determination to place
developing nations in a perpetual state of 'hewers of wood and drawers of
water.' And for the first time in many
years, the poor nations have been loud and clear that no longer can they
continue to be mere supplicants at the feet of any power.... The spectre of
neo-colonialism stares developing nations in the face and our leaders can only
fight the ‘monster’ only when they stick together.”
KENYA: "Cancun: The
Lessons Not Learnt"
Gichinga Ndirangu judged in the independent left-of-center Nation
(9/24): “In the WTO environment where the weak and poor negotiate with the rich
and powerful, democracy is a necessary evil--not an option. Zoellick has also joined the chorus in
slanging the multilateral system. There
is early indication that the U.S. will intensify its push for bilateral trade
deals as it steadily turns its back on multilateral negotiations. As with Lamy, Zoellick is keen to rock the
boat where America’s national trade interests do not converge with the concerns
of developing countries. The lessons of
last week’s collapse have, therefore, not been learnt which provides little
comfort to poor countries. Indeed, the
posturing of these two savvy negotiators smacks of blackmail and hypocrisy.”
"What Next For The Poor After Cancun?"
Samuel Kumba wrote in the KANU party-owned Kenya Times
(9/23): “The experience of many countries which tried to sell their produce
around the world is discouraging.... If
your main export is coffee...or copper, or bananas...you may feel the bottom
has dropped out of your world and more liberalized trade is the last thing you
need. The developed countries make the
rules, and...they drive a hard bargain.
That is one of the campaigners’ chief objections to the WTO, that it is a club to make the rich
richer.... The Cancun having ended in
disarray, developing countries must quickly put heads together and chart a new
"What Next, After Cancun?"
The independent, intellectual weekly East African held
(9/22-28): “In the aftermath of Cancun,
there are now fears that the world’s leading trading nations, who also double
as donors, could decide to lash back at some developing countries for standing
firm at the ill-fated WTO talks.... For
blue water trade, East Africa must unequivocally resolve to look to eastern
markets as alternatives for the increasingly protected traditional Western
markets.... The real lesson from Cancun
for East Africa is not that powerful nations will subvert global agreements for
their selfish ends. Poor nations like
East Africa’s must, therefore, endeavor to develop innovative ways to penetrate
the global market without waiting for anyone’s helping hand. ”
"WTO Takes A Beating From Poor
Ochieng Rapuro wrote in the independent
pro-business Standard (9/22):
“Alarmed by the ability of developing nations to rally their rank around
specific standpoints on the summit’s agenda, despite the knee-jack tactics used
to scatter them in the past, the developed world has launched a fierce media
campaign placing everything that went bad in Cancun at the doorsteps of
developing nations.... With Cancun water
under the bridge, it can only be expected that battle for international trade
will shift to other fronts. Tamed by the
collective will of poor countries, the United States and its allies could
quickly change course. Having left
Cancun badly wounded, the world’s economic powerhouse is said to be considering
entering into bilateral agreements with countries that are ready to play the
hardball that is liberalized trade.”
NIGERIA: "Reform WTO To Cater For African Interest"
Lagos-based respected Guardian contended (9/24): "Beyond Cancun,
the various global trade blocks need to recognize the primacy of negotiation
and consensus as the central plank of the WTO.
The world and every country that must trade, need a framework under the
WTO as a forum for negotiating multilateral trade. The growing recourse to
bilateralism and regional trade deals will only breed and intensify colonialism
and imperialism, a twin anachronism....
The time is ripe for African and developing countries to persuade
developed countries to concede to their objectives in order to reverse the
upward trend of poverty through trade and development as opposed to aid and
"In The Interest Of World Peace"
The Lagos-based independent This Day argued (9/24): "The tragedy of the failure is that
everyone--both rich and poor nations--will lose all round.... Growing economic disparities between rich and
poor nations can only increase and intensify global problems. And the problems are bound to become more
threatening to world peace when those who bear the burden are able to trace
their condition to unfair trade practices of their neighbor. There is no doubt that the world could be a
better place with less poor people.
Diseases which know no boundaries would not only be less, terrorists
would have fewer mal-contents from which to recruit.... And because the surest means of ensuring
global economic prosperity and the accompanying peace is through fair trade, it
is imperative that the Cancum talks be brought back on track."
TANZANIA: "The Rich
Must Open Up Their Markets"
The government-owned Daily News stated (9/22): "It is time for rich nations to
reconsider their stance on farm subsidies and opening up access to their
markets by poor countries following the recent collapse of the World Trade
Organization (WTO) talks in Cancun, Mexico.
Tanzania and other developing countries had a common position that the
multilateral trade talks could only proceed if the Western nations opened up
their markets and stopped giving their farmers ridiculous subsidies.... Delegates from developing countries rightly
pressed for fair trade in Cancun, insisting on the need for the rich to honor
pledges made during the 2001 WTO ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar, where a
development agenda was adopted. It is
unfortunate that the Doha Development Agenda, which is regarded as road map for
easing global trade barriers, is yet to be fulfilled."
"WTO: Cancun And Crocodile Tears!"
Kiswahili anti-government Majira
(9/19): "Talks at the WTO summit in
Cancun collapsed due to pressure from developing countries. After the collapse of the summit, developed
countries are now shedding crocodile tears.
EU countries are lamenting that the collapse of the talks will deny
developing countries the benefits of an agricultural agreement they had prepared. The free market has been turned into a
chaotic market. Europe and America offer
their farmers massive subsidies, which kill the market of agricultural products
from poor countries. As if that was not
enough, developed countries even subside the transport costs of their
agricultural products. Europe and
America are calling on poor countries to open up their markets for products
from rich countries, but they are closing their markets for products from poor
"After Solidarity, Boost Cooperation"
Pro-government Kiswahili-language tabloid Uhuru stated
(9/17): "At the recently held WTO
Cancun Summit, rich countries demonstrated their arrogance by clinging to their
trading system that oppresses developing countries. As a result of this, the talks collapsed
without any agreement being reached. This is the first time that the more than
100 developing countries have displayed such solidarity in defending their
interests.... Developing nations should
stick together and should not change their stance. The rich countries need us
as markets for their products.
Developing countries should now intensify trade between themselves.
Countries like China and India for example could produce products that are much
needed by other developing countries, thus lessening our dependence on the
"WTO: Which Way
The independent Monitor declared (9/17): "Every country lost when the World Trade
Organization talks collapsed in Cancun, Mexico, in what has been described as a
spaghetti-bowl of conflicting ambitions between developed and developing
nations.... The rich have refused to bargain.
They want to buy from the poor countries market at low prices and gain
easy access for their own products under a new foreign investment arrangement. The poor refused the deal.... The collapse of the talks leaves poor
countries with a choice between being isolated further or accepting America’s
bilateral Free Trade Areas. The U.S.
trade representative has already said that America intends to use the FTAs to
reward 'friends.' Such arrangements,
however, leave poor nations with little to bargain with against powerful
nations. The poor remain beggars."
"The Struggle Continues"
The state-owned New Vision commented (9/16): "World trade talks at the Mexican resort
of Cancun have collapsed acrimoniously.
Rich countries wanted to ease restrictions on cross-border trade and
foreign investment. But this is a
smokescreen for their continued insistence on subsidizing their farmers. The World Bank has estimated that 144 million
people would be lifted out of poverty and $500 billion added to global incomes
if agricultural subsidies were eliminated.
A further round of trade talks is scheduled for December. The rest of the world should maintain their
pressure on Europe and America to drop agricultural subsidies. Right is on their side. Eventually there will be a
"Protectionism On The Rise"
The conservative National Post opined (9/18): "Thanks
to the collapse of international trade talks in Cancun...Third World farmers
and First World taxpayers are at greater peril than at any time since the WTO
was formed in 1994 out of the old GATT.
The EU and the Japanese are the most obvious culprits. But the Americans are not far behind. And U.S. presidential politics may make the
U.S. the hardest party to lure back to the table.... Even in the four days since Sunday's failure,
however, disturbing signs have emerged that George W. Bush's administration is
planning to draw a curtain around America's economy. Faced with a loss of more than two million
manufacturing jobs since the U.S. President took office in January, 2001, and
beset by a perceived need to butter up such key agricultural states as Florida,
Tennessee and Kansas...the White House is mumbling about pouring yet more cash
on America's already over-subsidized sugar, cotton, corn and produce
growers.... The history of economics
teaches that protectionism acts as a contagion.... If governments in the U.S., Japan and the EU
do not summon the courage to confront the small but powerful agriculture
lobbies wagging their trade policies, it is not just the Doha round of the WTO
that will be at risk, but the health of the global economy."
"Rich States Turn Backs On Poor Once More"
Richard Gwyn observed in the liberal Toronto Star
(9/17): "There may be a retreat
from multilateral liberalization if the United States, as it has threatened,
now ignores the WTO to do one-on-one pacts with favoured countries (like
Australia). It's been said many times that what's needed as an integral part of
the war on terror is a war on poverty. At Cancun, the U.S., but no less so
Europe and Japan, turned their backs on the poor (with Canada simply looking
the other way). The unresolved question is whether more of the poor will now
"Failure Of WTO Talks A Blow For
conservative Montreal Gazette commented (9/16): "By linking their own political will to
reduce farm subsidies to the developing world's willingness to discuss issues
relating to investment and competition, rich nations have short-circuited the
cause of global trade liberalization....
Without movement on agricultural supports by rich nations, poor countries
won't be able to benefit fully from globalization.... When Japan and the
European Union linked progress on agriculture to other issues in Cancun, the
so-called G-21 coalition of poor nations, including Brazil and India,
understandably perceived a stalling tactic.
It didn't help that U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick accused
poor nations of looking for "a freebie." By insisting as firmly as they did that agriculture
should be given the top priority in international trade negotiations, the G-21
have drawn a line in the political sand that all true free traders should
"The Third World's Stand"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (9/16): "If the collapse of the global trade
talks in Cancun shows anything, it is that the world's poor countries are no
longer prepared to be doormats for the rich and that they have summoned the
collective will to do something about it.
The developing countries finally stood up to the combined might of the
United States, Japan and the European Union....
The problem now for the World Trade Organization is how to find a way to
bridge the wide gulf between the sides and get them back to the table. The cost of failure would be staggering for
all participants. But it is the poor countries that would pay the highest
price.... Failure will only mean a
renewed focus on regional trading blocs and bilateral deals with handpicked
partners. Poor countries will still find
themselves squeezed out of wealthy markets and unable to compete with heavily
subsidized producers. Years of work
toward establishing a level global playing field will go down the drain. What a
tragic waste that would be."
North South Volcano Erupts In Cancun"
Joneed Khan wrote in the centrist La Presse (9/16): "
The Cancun failure is a defeat for both sides even if the rich countries
have options not available to poor countries."
Michael Soltys, executive editor of liberal, English-language Buenos
Aires Herald wrote (9/16) "The refusal of the U.S. and the EU to cut
some 280 billion dollars of agricultural subsidies... led to a complete
deadlock with the G21/22.... But there
is also reason to believe that the trade talks foundered on a more general
opposition of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to globalization,
especially where government procurement and investment rules are
concerned. It could also be argued that
the Cancun summit was trapped by its own 'single undertaking' concept that
nothing be agreed until everything is agreed.
If indeed 'trapped' is the right word--if the rich countries wanted
things to move forward at all. The collapse of the WTO huddle is the worst
failure in the world trade talks since Seattle in 1999--it is also a clear blow
to achieving a FTAA by 2005."
"Argentine Optimism At The WTO"
Alejandro Rebossio concluded in daily-of-record La Nacion
(9/16): "The Argentine delegation
attempted to find some positive points obtained by the country and other
developing countries in the failed WTO summit.... Argentina, together with Brazil, China, India
and South Africa, led the new and powerful G22, which had a hard stance in the
first days of the summit, but in the end unsuccessfully attempted to approach
the U.S., the EU and Japan, the three largest protectionist blocs. USTR Robert Zoellick accused them of changing
position too late. The US expects a more
flexible attitude from Latin American countries in the FTAA negotiation... but
made it clear it is negotiating 45 bilateral deals, none of them with Brazil or
Argentina. Argentina was seen by
analysts on a second line within the G22, although visible, having a more
professional and firmer attitude than in previous summits, but flexible when
time comes to seek consensus."
"Trade And Argentina After Cancun"
In business-financial El Cronista Felix Peña opined
(9/16): "Cancun failed. It will be
necessary to save the WTO. For this
purpose, negotiations will have to continue.
The leadership of developed countries has been tested. It is hard now to predict the immediate
evolution of negotiations and even less to anticipate the effects of the Cancun
failure on other negotiations of interest to Argentina and Mercosur, the FTAA
and the EU. Everything will have to be
renegotiated because it seems obvious that the agricultural issue will not have
a satisfactory response at the WTO, at least in the planned timing."
BRAZIL: "Tied Game"
Right-of-center O Globo noted (9/23):
"President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is going to speak at the UNGA today,
while the Brazilian position taken at the Cancun summit as the G-22 leader
still resounds.... The reactions range
from applause to irritated criticism....
One should not think that with the G-22 [Brazil] will be able to bypass
the U.S. The world's largest market is
an inevitable partner for someone who needs to expand its foreign trade. The
Cancun impasse and weakening of the WTO--indeed dangerous--put the world in a
cycle of bilateral negotiations with rich countries on the other side of the
bargaining table. Brazil should
demonstrate the same efficiency at this new stage with the FTAA. In Cancun the game ended up a tie. To break it, a lot of talk is
"The Fury Of The Rich Nations"
Clovis Rossi commented in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (9/18):
"The fury with which both Americans and Europeans have reacted to what
happened at the WTO ministerial in Cancun is much more intense than one would
have supposed.... There is fear, even
within the WTO, that the EU and the U.S. may [now] disregard the
organization.... Several analysts had
supposed that without an advance in the Cancun negotiations, another boom in
bilateral and/or regional trade accords could occur. This is not a good prospect for the
developing world.... If such a
reasonable suspicion already existed before Cancun, the scenario after the
fiasco is even worse: the rich world's finger is clearly pointing to Brazil as
the major party responsible for changing the game."
"Cancun In Miami?"
Clovis Rossi commented in liberal Folha de S. Paulo
(9/17): "The next FTAA ministerial
meeting, scheduled for November in Miami, should be quite a spectacle,
considering the fury with which both Americans and Europeans responded to the
behavior of Brazil and the G-21, the group of developing nations led by Brazil,
in Cancun.... The rich world, especially the U.S., does not like
confrontations--even though the distance between the economic importance of the
two nations is immense. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that the U.S.
wants to take advantage in Miami of the opportunity to restore Brazil to its
due place. Twelve nations of the group led by Brazil in Cancun will attend the
FTAA meeting. The group was not created for the FTAA, but to deal with a very
modest U.S.-EU proposal in terms of agricultural trade liberalization.... But it would be almost natural to have the
alliance that rocked Cancun reappear in Miami."
"What's Next After Cancun"
Independent Jornal da Tarde editorialized (9/17): "The failure of the WTO ministerial in
Cancun has meant losses for both rich and developing nations.... The failure at Cancun has already encouraged
some nations, beginning with the U.S. and the EU, to speed up bilateral trade
negotiations.... If no accord is reached
in Geneva, the quest for bilateral accords will grow. On the face of it, this
type of accord gives developing nations great opportunities to gain access to
the world's most important markets....
However, bilateral accords potentially undermine the foundations of the
multilateral trade system on which the WTO is based.... Moreover, the strongest nations impose on the
weakest ones rules that interest only their domestic lobbies. Bilateral accords weaken the developing
nations' power in international negotiations, because they discourage those
nations from banding together in support of common causes. In 2004, there will be presidential elections
in the U.S. President George W. Bush has already demonstrated that to get votes
he is capable of sending troops everywhere in the world on behalf of his
nation's interest. One can only imagine what he could do in the trade area in
an electoral year."
"Brazil Must Prioritize Strengthening The WTO"
Business-oriented Valor Economico noted (9/17): "Under the unilateralist and despotic
Bush administration, the U.S. is threatening to prioritize bilateral accords
and conduct its trade policy on the basis of political favoritism.... Although the U.S.'s responsibility for the
fiasco in Cancun is smaller than that of the EU, Washington helped to
jeopardize the meeting by abandoning its previous position and aligning with
the Europeans in defense of agricultural subsidies. Everyone knows that this
stance will not change in 2004, an electoral year, because George W. Bush has
his main electoral pillars in the agricultural states.... Instead of puerile victory celebrations for
the failure in Cancun, the GOB should use the political power that it gained by
forming the G-21 in defense of the WTO. To look to bilateral accords is a
"Rich And Unreasonable"
In right-of-center O Globo, Miriam Leitão opined
(9/16): "The WTO meeting will delay
the Doha Round of free trade by at least two years and weakens the multilateral
organism even further. Brazil's
performance, however, reduces the failure because it shows that medium powers
can unite to counterpoise rich countries' power. Africa only wanted to sell more cotton and
the rich said no.... The trade world is
filled with absurd barriers.... There
is an infinity of similar insanity, poor excuses to prevent free trade. But, there is no other form to overcome it
than constant negotiation."
Gustavo Esteva judged in independent Reforma
(9/24): "The WTO meeting in Cancun marked the drowning of the free trade
argument. Even though those who advocate
free trade will continue to defend it, their line of reasoning is dead and
their hypocrisy was made evident.... At
the WTO meeting, weak nations dared to face the powerful nations, although they
did not resort to protectionist arguments.
They merely conditioned trade concessions to dismantling the
protectionist mechanisms of powerful countries.
The latter refused. Thus, they
are responsible for the failure of the Cancun meeting. Capital is only interested in using either
protectionism or free trade, depending on what best suits its
interests.... The failure of the Cancun
meeting, however, is positive in the sense that it has further awakened civil
society and contributed to their awareness of the economic problems the world
faces. This is no minor achievement for a meeting whose main protagonists were
defeated by their arrogance and irrationality."
"The U.S. And Trade"
Gabriela de la Paz asserted in independent El
Norte (9/17): "The failure of the recent WTO Ministerial should be
attributed to several factors. In the
first place, developed countries refuse to compete under equal conditions as
less developed countries. Second, the
predominant role of the U.S. in this organization, as well as the way it
traditionally reacts to agriculture topics, is projected.... That the United States has been the main
generator of free trade is undoubtable, as have those countries that have
joined the game at a higher standard of living compared to those that have
stayed on the margin. Nevertheless, it
is a fact that the topics being discussed in the agenda are imposed by
developed countries and that there is a funnel law that needs to be broken so
that there can be true free trade.”
And The Cost Of Failure"
Leading-circulation, popular La Tercera
editorialized (9/17): "The recently
concluded WTO convention in Cancun failed notoriously.... But this obstinacy was neither unilateral nor
attributable to just one sector. In
fact, to launch the talks, the U.S. and the EU...submitted a draft proposal to
gradually eliminate internal distortions to trade.... The flexibility shown by these 'ultra
protectionist' states...would have been a small step forward.... But emerging powers and third world nations
were not pragmatic in assessing the situation and placed demands that were too
high, and by doing this only hurt themselves because the obstacles to
agricultural exports were not eliminated....
Countries like Brazil, Argentina, and India, which led this unexpected
reaction, should first review their own protectionist measures....because in
the end...'when there is no progress, no one wins.'"
"The Uncertain Future Of Global Trade"
Centrist La Razon editorialized (9/26):
“The statements by the (Bolivian) Vice president before the General Assembly of
the United Nations, made reference, one more time, to insurmountable
differences in global trade: ‘The poor countries are demanding that their
products reach the markets of the rich countries in favorable conditions’, he
said.... The confrontation between rich and poor countries at the WTO
ministerial, was a disaster and ran doubts about the future of the WTO.... The bad thing about this situation is that it
creates doubts over the sincerity of the rich countries when they talk about
free trade. (Those doubts) could weaken
the position of those who work for the acceptance of the FTAA project.... The unfairness in world trade is one of the
causes of the insulting poverty of the Third World. It is no good that rich countries promise
economic aid to the poor, if they are not going to allow principles of equity
and justice to be introduced in world trade.”
COLOMBIA: "Cancun And The Costs Of
Rudolf Hommes warned in leading national El
Tiempo (9/19): "It looks like
the debacle in Cancun will help.... I
hope that we won’t have to conclude in the future an excess of zeal in
protecting the interest of the agricultural sector kept us from signing a Free
Trade Agreement with the U.S.”
Gustavo Tobon Londoño commented in Cali-based El
Pais (9/19): "It seemed that
the developing countries woke up in Cancun.
The G-21...was heard and it is now clear that decisions cannot continue
being taken in secret by the strongest."
"World Trade Summit"
Riobamba’s moderate-centrist Los Andes
noted (9/22): "This [failure]
occurred above all because it was the first time that the agricultural issue
was addressed. This is a delicate issue
that provokes serious discussion internationally due to the subsidies granted
to farmers by developed countries, such as the U.S. and those from the European
Union. Those subsidies reach whopping
and impressive figures, contrary to what happens in developing countries where
we still believe that a free market is the response to all our woes--a free
market without any interference from the state, including technical assistance
and investment. Now we see clearly that
in countries such as ours, agriculture has been abandoned without technical
support, without subsidies, and even without credits, contrary to what happens
in industrialized nations.... Developed
nations preach about free trade but practice subsidizing policies that will
never allow poor countries to be competitive in international markets.”
"Since the Cancun Failure"
Quito’s left-leaning, sensationalist La Hora
declared (9/21): "After the failure
of the WTO meeting in Cancun, expectations for world trade and the fight
against poverty are very discouraging.
In the case of neighboring countries, Colombia concentrates its efforts
in negotiating a free trade agreement with the U.S., and Peru already signed an
accord for integrating within Mercosur.
The few perspectives of solving the failures [of commercial integration]
in the Andean region demand that Ecuador defines its position vis-a-vis Andean trade--participation
within the FTAA or an accord similar to the one signed by Colombia and the
U.S., in order to avoid being isolated.”
"Free Trade, Poverty and Wealth"
Conservative, business-oriented Siglo
Veintiuno argued (9/22): "International
free trade does not depend on an institutions like the WTO. It depends on countries allowing free imports
and exports of goods.... Free world
trade is the best way for poor countries to be less poor and have the real hope
of becoming rich, and the only option for wealthy countries to be
wealthier. And there will be free trade
if all customs in the world are eliminated....
The WTO would only have one function:
be the arbitrator of free world commerce."
JAMAICA: "The Challenge Of Solidarity"
The centrist, business-oriented Jamaica
Observer editorialized (9/19): "Such contempt for poor countries, we
believe, is a part of the problem at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). And it played itself out in Cancun last week
when delegates from the rich nations engaged in closed discussions throughout
the conference...added to growing dissatisfaction about agriculture subsidies
which poor countries say are hurting their farmers, U.S. and European Union
bullying aimed at further dismantling of trade barriers in the developing
world, and the bitter economic experience of many developing nations that had
opened their markets to competition, was a potent combination that had to
explode.... We in this region need to
utilise this breathing space to transform our economies and increase our
ability to compete. For, make no
mistake, the wealthy nations will not abandon their agenda. Therefore, we would be wise to prepare
ourselves for transformation, as the dismantling of all trade preferences is
Severe Blow To The WTO"
commented in the moderate, influential Daily Gleaner (9/18): "The tide against globalisation has
turned in several countries, including the U.S.
With presidential elections due next year, it is unlikely the Bush administration
will expend any more capital on securing a trade deal.... There may be no time like the present to
advance the cause of regional integration in order to augment market size and
make the region a more attractive trading partner.... In theory, say some critics of the world
trading system, no trade is better than bad trade. But the risk is that this may turn out to be
another case where the theory is wrong."
PANAMA: "The New Walls"
Conservative El Panama America
editorialized (9/19): "The nations
that promoted market liberalization are now responsible for its control,
maintaining protectionist measures that obstruct the application of an economic
and political system based on principles of equality and liberty. This was
manifested during the last World Trade Organization summit in Cancun. As
economic tariff and non-tariff barriers reappear, restrictive migration
policies strengthened, returning to distancing countries. The WTO summit made
it clear that this organization is far from reaching its objectives and the
developed countries are responsible for this retreat, in their attempt to hold
on to their privileges, opposing the changes they promote.”
"The Great Lie"
Juan David Morgan held in independent La
Prensa (9/17): "Before the
Cancun summit, the debate on subsidies was mainly between the U.S. and Europe,
and it focused on the way in which the agricultural products of those richer
regions would enter their own markets....
After Cancun, the agricultural problem will take a new
dimension.... Te latest
statistics...clearly indicate that globalization does not have positive results
in the economies of developing countries....
If the unfair agricultural subsidies of the rich countries end, then
market globalization can become a future tool for the development of
humanity. But if the industrialized
countries ignore the needs of the poor, and keep those unfair privileges and
subsidies, then globalization will continue being what it has been up to
now: A Great Lie”
PARAGUAY: "Free Trade Was Not On Anyone's
Highest circulation ABC Color concluded
(9/21): "The clash in Cancun was not between rich and poor countries, nor
was it between free trade and protectionism, but rather between protectionist
policies of rich countries and protectionist policies of poor countries. Free trade was not on anyone's agenda.... The
barriers and tariffs between poor countries are higher and more damaging than
the subsidies of the rich countries. The
liberalizing of trade between the poor countries will make the victims of
European and American protectionism more and more their own consumers. Meanwhile, countries like Paraguay, who have
little to protect, can forget the blocs and negotiate bilateral, free-trade
Third-largest left-of-center Ultima Hora editorialized
(9/17): "The failure of the last
meeting of the WTO in Cancun looked like a photocopy of other times.... On this occasion it was shaped by the G-21
which presented a common posture to demand results in [the disparity between
the amount of subsidies paid by the developed world to its agriculture sector
and the amount of aid dedicated to the developing world] and to not open
discussions in other topics (investment)....
In the present...the strip of the world that appears to be most
disproportionately harmed by globalization is looking for its voice.... We are all human beings. But with different
and distant opportunities. The world
will continue to be vast and indifferent."
URUGUAY: "Global Selfishness"
Conservative, business-oriented El Observador
noted (9/21): "Both the poor and the rich would have benefited from a good
liberalization agreement. But the rich
countries did not have the courage to reduce the outrageous subsidies granted
to their farmers...nor did the poor countries dare to try to reduce their high
tariffs designed to protect their sometimes inefficient industries. [In the latter case] perhaps this was done in
order not to create enemies out of powerful NGOs that defend their own
interests more than they defend poor countries."
"The Moment Is Now"
Conservative, business-oriented El Observador declared
(9/17): "If Uruguay gained
something in Cancun it was the confirmation that it cannot expect external
generosity and must depend on its own ability and imagination to multiply the
exports needed to reactivate [the economy]....
The European Union, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan blocked everything in
order to focus on their own commercial needs and relegate to empty discussions
the urgent needs of the agro exporting nations that includes the poorest
countries on earth. The United States
disagreed with the Europeans and Asians and showed itself more inclined to
lower the subsidies and protectionism that block free agricultural