Saturday, September 11, 2004

Biosafety Protocol Will Harm Poor Farmers and Undermines WTO

My IPN press release titled Biosafety Protocol Will Harm Poor Farmers and Undermines WTO was published on International Policy Network on 11 September 2004.

11 September, Cancun – Today, the Biosafety Protocol goes into effect worldwide. The Global Freedom to Trade Campaign, a coalition of pro-globalization NGOs at the Cancun WTO Ministerial, believes that the Biosafety Protocol will harm poor farmers by preventing them from accessing farming technologies which would help them to generate income and escape poverty.

Agricultural expert Barun Mitra, Director of the Liberty Institute in New Delhi, India (a member of the SDN), commented:

“Farmers everywhere should have the freedom to choose the technologies they use. But the Biosafety Protocol will only aggravate the trade barriers they already face. Poor farmers will be subjected to arbitrary restrictions on trade in agricultural products, especially from the European Union. Thus, it will only prolong poor farmers’ escape from poverty.”

Trade expert Julian Morris, Director of International Policy Network in London commented:

“The Biosafety Protocol will undermine the WTO’s rules-based trading system, by allowing arbitrary trade restrictions which are not based on sound science. The agreement panders to pressure groups who are generally opposed to trade and believe that people should not have access to modern technologies.”