FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOVEMBER 11, 2005
CONTACT: Friends of the Earth International
In London (UK) Ronnie Hall, +44 7967 017281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In Brussels (Belgium) Alexandra Wandel, Friends of the Earth Europe: +49
172 748 3953 or email email@example.com
Trade Talks at a Standstill: Good for People and Planet
BRUSSELS / LONDON - November 11 - On the day of crucial global trade talks
in Geneva (Switzerland) Friends of the Earth International applauded developing
countries' apparent success in resisting European and US pressure to open
Developing countries have argued that aspects of the deal on the table
could lead to unemployment and increased poverty  as well as increased
use of already seriously depleted natural resources .
On Wednesday November 9 several key member countries of the World Trade
Organization (WTO) said they have reached an impasse and had run out of
time to reach agreement on a draft trade deal  supposed to be finalized
at a WTO December 13-18 conference in Hong-Kong.
Even though the current trade negotiations were supposed to focus on
development, the European Union (EU) and the US have been aggressively
using them to insist that poorer countries open their markets in a wide
range of service, industrial and raw material sectors, including forests
and fisheries. Meanwhile, the EU and the US are only willing, in return,
to offer superficial concessions in agriculture.
"The trade proposals on the table are seriously bad news for poor
people and the environment", said Ronnie Hall of Friends of the Earth
International. "Developing countries are right to stand their ground.
No deal is definitely better than a bad deal."
Brazil's Foreign Minister among others said on Wednesday that the EU
is coming up with nothing new on agriculture. But negotiations on industrial
products and in raw material sectors could see developing countries being
forced open their markets extensively. They are being put under pressure
to partially liberalize almost all sectors and completely liberalize in
a few priority areas which include forests and fisheries.
This could lead to increase production and consumption of these resources,
even though they are already severely depleted. This could endanger the
livelihoods of up to 40 million people who rely on small-scale fishing
for food and livelihoods and 1.6 billion who rely wholly or partially
on forests .
Friends of the Earth International believes that a review of the impacts
of international trade rules on the impoverished and the environment is
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
 The ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) Ministerial
Declaration on the WTO Doha Work Program adopted on 11 July 2004 in Mauritius,
states that they "are concerned that the proposals contained in the
Derbez text and its annex on NAMA [non-agricultural market access negotiating
documents] . would further deepen the crisis of de-industrialisation and
accentuate the unemployment and poverty crisis in our countries."
 For further details of the potential environmental impacts of negotiations
on natural resources see http://www.foei.org/publications/pdfs/NAMAenvironmentFINAL.pdf
In addition the final Sustainability Impact Assessment on forests commissioned
by the European Commission states that "in biodiversity hotspot countries
such as Brazil, Indonesia, Congo Basin countries, and Papua New Guinea,
possible negative impacts on biodiversity can be irreversible." http://trade-info.cec.eu.int/doclib/html/125566.htm
 A 'mini-Ministerial' meeting was convened and chaired by Pascal Lamy,
Director General of the WTO, in Geneva on 8 and 9 November. 28 countries
considered to be key to the negotiations participated. Failing to reach
agreement on negotiations they agreed that it was necessary to 'scale
back' expectations for Hong Kong. Some Ministers proposed a second Ministerial
be held in March 2006. This will undoubtedly be the main topic of discussion
at today's General Council meeting. Countries present included the EU,
US, India, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Zambia, New
Zealand, Australia, Korea, South Africa, Malaysia, Lesotho, Benin, Chad,
Thailand, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan
and China.  Forests are home to 300 million people around the world,
but more than 1.6 billion people depend to varying degrees on forests
for their livelihoods, e.g. fuelwood, medicinal plants and forest foods.
60 million indigenous people are almost wholly dependent on forests. See
also 'Food and Agriculture Organization' Fisheries Department, The State
of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (Rome: FAO, 2004).