The latest WTO Doha talks have ended without an agreement. This is good news for developing countries, and generally for the world at large. For one thing it gives countries a bit more sovereignty:
The past has seen a tendency of nations to give up their sovereignty to some unaccountable organizations or contractual agreement frameworks. The EU, IMF, NATO or the WTO are example for such.
Afraid of mass imports of hugely subsidized goods from the U.S. and EU, developing countries insisted on their right to put tariffs on these and to protect their local long term food sources from economic ruin. The rich countries tried to deny that right to the poor even while they insisted on subsidizing their exports.
The real issue at stake here was the responsibility of a nation to provide for its people. That duty includes their security in a wide sense. Any nation is obliged to take care that it can feed its people from its own soil.
The failure of the Doha talks reaffirms this responsibility. The ability to adopt national policies on food production stays with the local people. Everyone who believes in real democracy should welcome this event. It is a win for the sovereigns of the world – its people.
The contractual agreements with unaccountable organizations mentioned above have traditionally locked developing countries into crushing cycles of debt.
The end of Doha is also a step in the right direction for the environment.
Global trade is carried out with transportation that is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. It is estimated that about 60 per cent of the world’s use of oil goes to transportation activities which are more than 95 per cent dependent on fossil fuels. An OECD study estimated that the global transport sector accounts for 20-25 per cent of carbon emissions, with some 66 per cent of this figure accounted for by emissions in the industrialized countries.
A derailment of Doha will not be a sufficient condition to formulate a strategy to contain climate change, but given the likely negative ecological consequences of a successful deal, it is a necessary condition.
I’m hoping the failure of Doha will help Ghana protect itself a bit more from EU and US agricultural dumping. That dumping has made earning money with our small farms extremely difficult. It is difficult to compete with goods that are priced below the cost of production.
h/t to Moon of Alabama and the well informed people who comment there.