On Monday the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced an anticipated increase in trade assistance from rich countries to poor countries.
Trade aid to help poorer countries integrate with the international trading systems have increased by 50% over last 4 years, says the WTO and OECD.
Official Development Assistance is also expected to increase from US$ 80 billion in 2004 to US$ 130 billion in 2010.
“Trade-related development assistance is certainly desirable,” commented ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder, “but it must not become a pretext for arm-twisting by industrialised countries pretending that it obliges developing countries to mortgage their future industrial development and public services in exchange.”
Instead, unions want an “early harvest” for developing countries at world trade talks through an early end to export subsidies and other export support that hurt billions of farm workers in developing countries.
Pointing to job losses in the garment industry in many least developed countries, unions say countries should have the flexibility to change liberalisation commitments made at the WTO in cases where there are high job losses and social disruption.
To curb further damages, the ICFTU says current trade talks to liberalise manufactured goods should leave out textile and clothing.
The unions says developing countries should be allowed to exempt certain manufactured goods from tariff bindings and tariff cuts.
In the services negotiations, unions say efforts to do away with the current positive list approach.
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