Greetings from Hong Kong, straight from the WTO ministerial conference…….kind of stuck inside the conference hall…… protests are going outside…… The situation is tensed ……. And am sure it is boiling few blocks away from here (among the government delegations) as the real negotiations are going on, after the draft text came out this afternoon……..the remaining few hours would be extremely important, critical and decisive as these decisions would determine how the world trade and development scenario would move, in the days to come.
It has been an amazing experience for me to participate in this MC6 HK, furthermore the youngest participant ever from Nepal to participate in WTO ministerial; however, it is really distressing to have direct experience how the developing countries are bullied by the developed countries. Among others, the day before yesterday I was at the press conference of the US by Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR) and when the issue of ASEAN countries’ stance on Trade in General Services was asked he bluntly said “it would be a mistake” as if the developing countries can’t decide what how to have policy space for their countries and their citizens.
Earlier on the 14th when the ministerial started, dozens of farmers tried to swam towards the WTO conference venue……. And this is because trade policy have not worked positively in different parts of the world, especially in the poor countries and they want their voices to be heard when decisions are made…... I met one farmer from the US and he was saying it was only the large farmers and corporations benefit from the US Agricultural subsides….. farmers like him are being thrown out of their own farmlands….
It is interesting to note diverse opinions even within the UN organizations. Supachi (former WTO DG, now Sec General of UNCTAD) was worried that free trade was being unpopular among the citizens of US and EU. While, Salli Shetty, UN Millennium Campaign Director said “there should be fair trade rules…….peoples’ voices should be there when these decisions are made and their voice is simple: they want adequate food, water, education, respect and dignity.”
Hope this ministerial ends in positive note……