Christians say MPs report on trade challenges Government
A report by an influential committee of MPs, recommending fundamental changes to world trade rules, poses a direct challenge to the UK Government, says Christian Aid.
The campaigners say that the report, "Trade and Development at the WTO: Issues for Cancun" - written after hearings taken by the International Development Select Committee - directly challenges two central aspects of the UK government's trade policy.
The report says that the UK government 'should unequivocally drop its support' for the launch of negotiations on new issues at the World Trade Organisation.
It also says the government should abandon its insistence on international agreements which enforce trade liberalisation.
"The Committee has thrown down the gauntlet on trade ahead of September's WTO meeting in Cancun, Mexico," said Claire Melamed, Christian Aid's head of trade policy, who gave evidence to the committee during its hearings.
"Its findings are in direct opposition to government policy on trade. Baroness Amos, who is answerable directly to the committee, must now respond."
Lady Amos gave evidence to the committee, whose members also sought the views of non-governmental organisations in developing countries and those representing poor countries at the WTO's headquarters in Geneva.
The Committee's findings were published the day after Michael Wills MP, a Home Office minister, resigned his post to join the burgeoning movement for greater justice in world trade.
"If the government is serious about development it should do what the committee has done and listen to poor people rather than preaching to them," said Claire Melamed.
"It must drop its insistence that talks on the new issues are launched in Cancun and it must recognise that poor countries need the right to protect their farmers and new industries against cheap imports from Europe and America. Without a serious commitment to flexibility in trade policy making there is little prospect of trade being the engine of development that we all agree it could be."