27 Apr 2006

Oxfam says WTO offers little to Pacific

1:59 pm on 27 April 2006

The international aid agency, Oxfam, says Pacific Islands countries have very little to gain from the current trade deal round of the World Trade Organisation.

Oxfam's report, A Recipe for Disaster, says that European Union and United States brinkmanship has sidelined development concerns.

WTO members must agree details and schedules for reform by the middle of this year in order to get a deal before the US Trade Promotion Authority expires in mid-2007.

The executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand, Barry Coates, says the current negotiations had been billed as a developing round - for the benefit of developing countries to make trade rules fairer.

But, he says instead the talks leave developing countries out in the cold.

"This is not a good deal on the table for developing countries and that includes pacific countries - pacific countries have very little to gain from the kind of poultry offers on agriculture that the US and EU have made - but actually they have a lot to lose in terms of what they are being asked to sign up to."

Barry Coates says the chances of a trade deal being done this year that helps reduce poverty look increasingly slim.