15 September 1999
WTO opponents support farmers

AN UMBRELLA group representing more than 1,000 interest groups in 87 countries has called for a halt to the World Trade Organisation talks.

It claims that the last round of talks, which resulted in the Uruguay agreement, benefited multi-national corporations at the expense of farmers.

The group will launch a petition today to demand that the talks, due to begin in the north-west US city of Seattle in November, are called off.

The group, led by Public Citizen, a consumer activist group, is opposed to any expansion of the trade body.

Their petition, dubbed a “mobilisation against globalisation,” calls for a formal review of the international trading system to make it more accountable.

Consumers International, a worldwide federation of consumer groups, is also opposing further trade liberalisation.

It says negotiations should first ensure adequate protection for consumers and a more equal distribution of benefits.

The group was also critical of the Uruguay Round between 1986-1993 which it said had not delivered what it had promised.

The World Trade Organisation is already committed to further liberalisation of agricultural trade when trade ministers meet in Seattle.