WTO agreement: something is better than nothing, say S&D MEPs

WTO agreement: something is better than nothing, say S&D MEPs, WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, S&D MEP Bernd Lange, agricultural subsidies. Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández,

Members of the S&D Group present at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi have welcomed the fact an agreement was reached but have criticised its lack of scope and ambition.

S&D MEP Bernd Lange, chair of the European Parliament’s international trade committee, said:

 "We are pleased that some kind of agreement was reached and that some movement was made regarding the removal of agricultural subsidies. However, after a tough five days of negotiations, the final agreement was a little underwhelming to say the least. We had pushed for a legally binding agreement and although we got this in certain areas, it cannot be called a comprehensive one.

 "The main positive from our side was that an agreement was reached at all and that it contains support for the least developed countries. If these negotiations had failed completely then this would have been the nail in the coffin for the Doha round of trade talks and could have brought into question the whole purpose of the WTO. This has been averted but if we want the WTO to work in the future we need to restructure it, to make it more democratic and more accountable."  
S&D MEP Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, added:

 "We wanted an agreement that took into account the development and economic weight of the countries involved. Trade can bring huge benefits to developing countries and removing agriculture export subsidies will help farmers in poorer countries to compete more fairly. However we need to stop treating developing countries as if they are a monolithic block - China is not Kenya. Countries whose economies have grown rapidly in the last few years and decades need to step up and play a bigger role in tackling global development goals."