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Special Report: Trade Between Developed and Developing Countries 

This special report covers four topics:

The bias in trade rules in favor of developed countries

The bias in trade rules in favor of developed countries and against developing countries finally provoked a walkout by developing countries in the September 2003 World Trade Organization meeting in Cancun, Mexico and a breakdown in international trade negotiations.  Free trade in this article's title is something of a misnomer--it is free trade only after the rules, and world economic and political structures, have been stacked against developing countries. World Trade Talks Collapse BBC (September 15, 2003) Walkout Shadows Free Trade's Future  Paul Blustein Washington Post, September 16, 2003. (You will leave this site and be required to register [once] with the Post.)

A New Beginning for the World Trade Organization After Cancun  Mark Ritchie and Kristin Dawkins (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, October 26, 2003) The writers are optimistic, because they believe that the Cancun meetings marked the beginning of real attention in the WTO to developing country trade issues and consequently the possibility that trade can bring benefit to poor countries.

Bolivian Leader Forced Out Over Plan to Export Natural Gas, New President Pledges Unity BBC (October 18, 2003) An article which illustrates the high degree of frustration present in developing countries over their role, perceived to be inferior and subject to discrimination, in the international trade system

World leaders shut their ears to the poor, say protestors at the September 2003 World Trade Organization meetings in Cancun, Mexio.

Photo: BBC

World leaders shut their ears to the poor, say protestors.

Time to Stop Dumping on the World's Poor Kevin Watkins and Joachim von Braun   (August 29, 2003). An excellent article which explains how the United States and other developed countries made promises to reform their agriculture sector (which would have benefited developing counties),  but did not fulfill these promises.

"When the current round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks was launched at the end of 2001, northern  governments promised to overhaul agricultural trade rules—and their own farm policies. That commitment is at the heart of the so-called Doha  "development agenda." Unfortunately, fine words have been followed by business as usual."

Oxfam Calls International Trade Rules Biased in Favor of Rich Countries; Launches Multi-nation Campaign to Change Rules

What is the World Trade Organization? (June 1998)

Developed country subsidies to agriculture

Brazilians Soured by U.S. Sugar Tariffs  John Jeter  (Washington Post, September 10, 2003.) (You will leave this site and be required to register [once] with the Post.)  This article clearly exposes the hypocrisy of the United States in proclaiming free trade. While proclaiming free trade it imposes a tariff of 244 percent on sugar imports above a small quota of duty free sugar imports. Quotas, incidentally are basically illegal in the WTO, unless, as the United States does, you have the power to write ostensibly "neutral" trade rules which favor your producers and which are completely against any real notion of free trade. The United States is in favor of free trade rules for others, not itself, in areas such as agriculture and textiles, where developing countries would have some competitive advantage.

While Brazil has both plentiful and fertile land and available workers, the 244 percent tariff that the U.S. government levies on sugar imports above established quotas prevents the Latin American nation from dramatically expanding its sugar industry and potentially dominating the American market. So scarce are jobs here that when a supermarket in Sao Paulo last week ran a newspaper advertisement for a new cashier, more than 3,000 people showed up the next day to apply. "Brazil could easily double its sugar production almost overnight," said Maurilio Biagi Filho, president of the Companhia Energetica Santa Elisa, a sugar mill here that employs 5,000 workers. We certainly would have no problem finding workers if the U.S. lifted its tariff on our sugar today." 

U.S. Proposes Global Cut in Farm Subsidies; Other Nations Doubtful  Paul Blustein  (Washington Post, July 26, 2002. You will leave this site.)

European Union Agriculture Policies Block African Exports  Action for Southern Africa (July 2002)

Western Cow vs. Eastern Farmer: The Absurdity of Inequality  Devinder Sharma (July 28, 2002)

President Bush Signs Farm Bill with Large Increase in Farm Subsidies--Developing Country Farmers Will Be Hurt  Mike Allen (Washington Post, May 14, 2002. You will leave this site)

(The lack of) low cost access to life-saving drugs

AIDS Plan Would Cut Drug Costs For Poor: WHO Would Provide 3-in-1 Pill to Nations, Possibly Violating Patents Shankar Vedantam (Washington Post, October 25, 2003. You will leave this site and be required to register [once] with the Post.)

WTO Votes to Bypass Patents on Medicines for AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis for Some Poor Nations Wire Services Washington Post, August 31, 2003. (You will leave this site and be required to register [once] with the Post.)

Trade Talks Fail to Agree on Drugs for Poor People  Elizabeth Becker (New York Times, December 20, 2002. You will leave this site and be required to register [once] with the NYT.)

Health for Poor People and the World Trade Organization Farah Fosse (International Gender  and Trade Network, December 27, 2002. PDF file.)

In China (As Elsewhere), AIDS Crisis Confronts WTO Property Rights Rules on Drugs Peter S. Goodman  (Washington Post, December 4, 2002. You will leave this site.) 

HIV/AIDS, Trade, and Patent Protection -- An Introduction (December 4, 2002)

What happens when trade occurs between one (or more) of the societies being what we describe as harmful economic systems.

One would think that discovering oil and being able to export it would enable governments in developing countries to provide sufficient resources for assisting poor people in that country to have education and health services and to provide productive employment. NOT!  In fact what HN has described as harmful economic systems mean that very little gets to poor people. (See our section on harmful economic systems for more details on harmful economic systems.) The following brief article and link to the full report describe the (mis)use of oil revenues in developing countries.

The African Oil Boom: Peril or Opportunity for Africa's Poor People?  Catholic Relief Services (November 8, 2003)

The importance of remittances as a source of foreign exchange for developing countries

Can Remittances Break the Cycle of Poverty in El Salvador? Amy L. Damon (January 20, 2003)

Dialing for Dollars: El Salvador's President Calls Salvadorans in U.S. to Ensure that They Keep Sending Money Home Mary Beth Sheridan (Washington Post, November 11, 2002. You will leave this site.)

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