'Make Trade Fair' Campaign Launched

For Immediate Release

OXFAM today accused the rich world of robbing the poor world of $100 billion a year by abusing the rules governing world trade and denying millions of poor people their best escape route from poverty.

"For every dollar we give in aid two are stolen through unfair trade, costing the poor world $100 billion a year. Globalisation is leaving millions in despair, creating a world more unequal than ever before, when it could do the exact opposite. The wealth divide is at an all time high and the anger and social tensions that accompanies such morally unacceptable inequalities threaten us all," warned Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International during the launch of Make Trade Fair, a global campaign in 18 countries to change the rules of trade.

The campaign is launched as the 144 countries of the World Trade Organization start to work on a new agenda of trade negotiations that will determine how world trade will be regulated in the future. WTO negotiations risk widening the global divide unless the rich world changes its approach to the concerns of developing countries.

In a new report Rigged Rules and Double Standards Oxfam shows that 128 million people could be lifted out of poverty if Africa, Latin America, East Asia and South Asia each increased their share of world exports by just one percent.

However, rich world hypocrisy and double standards stop this from happening because the rich world is rigging global trade rules by:

  • Subsidising rich farmers $1bn a day. Over-production of agricultural surpluses is dumped onto world markets, suppressing world prices and destroying local markets in poor countries

  • Influencing the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank polices to prise open poor countries' markets with little regard to the social consequences. These are policies the rich world has itself rejected.

  • Stopping or penalising poor countries from exporting their goods into rich world markets. Goods from poor countries are taxed at four times the rate of goods from rich countries.

  • Being indifferent to erratic, falling commodity prices that condemn many poor economies to failure, while generating huge profits for big corporations.

  • Allowing big corporations to ride rough shod over internationally recognised workers rights.

The report also highlights that while some countries appear to be successfully boosting their economies through increased exports this has had little impact on levels of poverty. Oxfam is calling on poor country governments to adopt policies so that the economic benefits of trade help to alleviate poverty and do not increase inequality.

People can join the campaign at a dedicated website: www.maketradefair.com

AMP Section Name:Trade Justice
  • 194 World Financial Institutions

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