September 29, 2003

MORE HEAT THAN LIGHT:

Poor nations keep heat on trade: After WTO talks, the 'G-22' group of developing nations focuses on more-open agricultural markets (Patrick Smith, 9/30/03, The Christian Science Monitor)

Global trade negotiations may well proceed more slowly in the aftermath of the World Trade Organization's collapsed talks in CancĂșn, Mexico, earlier this month. But they are also likely to proceed more equitably.

As the WTO's 148 members brace for their next session, now scheduled for December, it is already clear that the sudden emergence of a coalition of 22 developing nations has turned the negotiating landscape between rich and poor countries into one that more closely resembles a level playing field.

For now, the Group of 22 intends to remain focused on the opening of global markets for farm products - the issue that divided rich and poor at CancĂșn and prompted the group to walk out on Sept. 14. Viewed more broadly, however, the "G-22" reflects the increasing assertiveness of developing nations - not only in the WTO but in other multilateral organizations, including the UN.

"It's too early to tell what the G-22's larger agenda will be, or even if we will have one," says Rubens Barbosa, Brazil's ambassador to Washington and a prime mover behind the group's formation. "But the political, economic, and trade circumstances are different now. There's a new balance of power, and the US and the European Union are finally going to have to face us."


Why? Or what?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2003 7:26 PM
Comments

It's the Group of 77 all over again. With as much long-term consequence.

Posted by: Chris at September 30, 2003 10:18 AM
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