Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Int'l NGO Coalition Demands Global Freedom to Trade

Press release titled Int'l NGO Coalition Demands Global Freedom to Trade was published on International Policy Network on August 26 2003.

Tuesday, 26 August, London – An international coalition of NGOs has launched a campaign which calls on trade ministers and governments everywhere to promote freedom to trade.

In anticipation of the World Trade Organisation’s 5th Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico, (10-14 September, 2003), six campaign members from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Bangladesh and India will gather in London on Wednesday (27 August) to call on governments everywhere to remove the artificial barriers that prevent people from trading with each other.

Campaign member Barun Mitra, director of Indian NGO the Liberty Institute, explains: “Members of the Global Freedom to Trade Campaign challenge world leaders to rise above national politics and vested interests at the Cancun Ministerial, tear down trade barriers, and give the people of the world the real freedom to trade. Freedom to trade enables people to escape from poverty.”

Campaign member James Shikwati, director of Kenyan NGO Inter-Region Economic Network, remarks: “Africans need trade, not aid. Aid leads to dependency, cronyism and conflict. Trade leads to empowerment, development and peace. Trade facilitates transfer of technology, leading to improvements in health and human welfare.”

According to Shikwati, Africans currently suffer because their governments prevent them from trading amongst themselves. He explains, “Average Africans stand to gain immensely from the WTO’s rules-based trading system, which provides a forum to negotiate removal of trade barriers.”

IPN’s Global Freedom to Trade Campaign calls on governments to remove all barriers to trade imposed by government, including tariffs, quotas, subsidies, and protectionist regulations. After the London launch on 27 August, the campaign will be launched in Washington, DC, and Mexico City. Campaign members will be in Cancun for the WTO meeting during 10-14 September, 2003.