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"Jenner also picked holes on the WTO itself charging that it lacked "transparency, accountability and democracy" inasmuch as most important decisions were taken during informal meetings between a small number of countries led by the EU, the US, Japan and Canada in the so called 'Green room method.' "
Despite calls for a new round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks critical issues of concern for developing countries in the existing world trade agreements signed in Marrakech, Morocco have yet to be addressed, notes Oxfam (Belgium) researcher Raoul Marc Jenner.
Addressing an EU seminar in Brussels Jenner affirmed Oxfam's opposition to a new round of trade talks, insisting that the content of the Marrakech agreements already expose an imbalance in rights and obligations to the detriment of developing countries.
The seminar highlighting the EU's stance on global trade vis-à-vis the least developed countries (LDCs), was organised for a group of LDC journalists.
Indicting WTO rules, Jenner cited the agreement on agriculture that virtually pits directly or indirectly subsidised products from the North against non-subsidised products from the South.
"On one side, Europe and the US have the right to support both exportation and domestic production and are authorised to put restrictions on imports and, on the other side, developing countries are forbidden to introduce such measures," he charged. Also citing the WTO agreement on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Jenner observed that 95 percent of patents were from the North "but the WTO rules are imposed to all."
He noted too that on textiles and clothing, the US and EU were and still are protected by the authorisation to fix quotas and restrictions.
Jenner also picked holes on the WTO itself charging that it lacked "transparency, accountability and democracy" inasmuch as most important decisions were taken during informal meetings between a small number of countries led by the EU, the US, Japan and Canada in the so called "Green room method."
The researcher said that the WTO dispute settlement mechanism lacked independence and was failing to guarantee genuine trade justice to weak and poor countries.
Above all, Jenner noted that even as developing countries indicated in Geneva last March that implementation of the existing agreements was on top of their agenda, there was a long list of so-called "new issues" proposed by developed countries seeking to link trade with several economic and non-economic areas.
He observed, for instance, that the EU wanted to bring non-trade issues such as investment, competition, government procurement and environment under the WTO rules as a way of compensating for possible loss in agriculture.
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