24 DECEMBER 2002: NESTLE
VS. FAMINE VICTIMS, FIRST WORLD VS. THIRD WORLD
Demand that Nestlé
drop their claim against Ethiopia!
Take action now to stop Nestlé,
the world’s largest coffee company, demanding $6 million from a country
where 11 million people are facing famine. What are Nestlé doing
to help fight hunger in Ethiopia? They are demanding the Ethiopian Government
pay $6m in compensation for a company that was nationalised 27 years ago,
a company that they didn’t even own at the time. The CEO of Nestlé
has said that companies like his will be held to account for their part
in the fight against hunger in developing countries – so take action now
– e-mail Nestlé telling them to drop the claim for $6m from Ethiopia.
4 Nov 2002 press release:
THE GREAT TRADE ROBBERY
Rich world swindles millions
from the benefits of trade as global wealth divide widens to all time high
OXFAM today accused the rich
world of robbing the poor world of $100 billion a year by abusing the rules
governing world trade and denying millions of poor people their best escape
route from poverty.
every dollar we give in aid two are stolen through unfair trade, costing
the poor world $100 billion a year. Globalisation is leaving millions in
despair, creating a world more unequal than ever before, when it could
do the exact opposite. The wealth divide is at an all time high and the
anger and social tensions that accompanies such morally unacceptable inequalities
threaten us all,” warned Jeremy Hobbs, Execitive Director of Oxfam International
during the launch of Make Trade Fair, a global campaign in 18 countries
to change the rules of trade.
is launched as the 144 countries of the World Trade Organization start
to work on a new agenda of trade negotiations that will determine how world
trade will be regulated in the future. WTO negotiations risk widening the
global divide unless the rich world changes its approach to the concerns
of developing countries.
new report Rigged Rules and Double Standards Oxfam shows that 128 million
people could be lifted out of poverty if Africa, Latin America, East Asia
and South Asia each increased their share of world exports by just one
rich world hypocrisy and double standards stop this from happening because
the rich world is rigging global trade rules by:
· Subsidising rich
farmers $1bn a day. Over-production of agricultural surpluses is dumped
onto world markets, suppressing world prices and destroying local markets
in poor countries
· Influencing the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank polices to prise open poor
countries’ markets with little regard to the social consequences. These
are policies the rich world has itself rejected.
· Stopping or penalising
poor countries from exporting their goods into rich world markets. Goods
from poor countries are taxed at four times the rate of goods from rich
· Being indifferent
to erratic, falling commodity prices that condemn many poor economies to
failure, while generating huge profits for big corporations.
· Allowing big corporations
to ride rough shod over internationally recognised workers rights.
The report also highlights
that while some countries appear to be successfully boosting their economies
through increased exports this has had little impact on levels of poverty.
Oxfam is calling on poor country governments to adopt policies so that
the economic benefits of trade help to alleviate poverty and do not increase
can join the campaign at a dedicated website: http://www.maketradefair.com
Where the campaign will be
The campaign will be launched
in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, India, South Africa,
Senegal, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Great Britain,
Ireland, Canada, United States, Mexico and Brazil.
To find out more go to http://www.maketradefair.com
Wealth divide widens
The wealth divide is
at an all time high. In the last decade the world’s poorest five per cent
lost almost a quarter of their real income while the top five per cent
gained 12 per cent. Trade, though not exclusively, has been an important
factor in this widening gap. For every $100 generated by world exports
$97 goes to the high and middle income countries and only $3 go to low
Nowhere in international
relations is the rich world’s double standards and hypocrisy so blatant
as in its attitude to trade. It demands the poor world slash support for
its farmers yet subsidises its own farmers to the tune of $1bn a
day. This leads to over production that is then dumped onto the world market,
suppressing prices which poor farmers cannot compete against.
the rogues’ league of double standards is the European Union. It’s dumping
of surplus powdered milk on to the Jamaican economy has all but ruined
the local dairy industry. The US has done the same with dumping its subsidized
rice on Haiti forcing thousands of poor rice farmers off the land. In Haiti’s
rice growing area child malnutrition is now among the most severe in the
IMF and World Bank
Through its influence at
the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank the rich world demands
the poor world open up its markets with no regard to the social consequences
yet keeps its own markets tightly shut. It has created a race where the
weakest have to jump the highest hurdles. The rich world taxes imports
from poor countries four times the rates it charges imports from industrialised
Aid debt and trade
For every dollar of aid
to the poor world two dollars are swindled out of the poor world through
unfair trade. Africa is of particular concern. A one per cent increase
in world exports for Africa is worth a staggering fives times the amount
it receives in aid and debt relief combined. Yet Africa is increasingly
sidelined from any benefits from trade.
Import tax hikes and the
Many poor countries are
locked into only producing the raw food and materials we consume. The moment
they begin to process these goods, therefore getting a higher price, they
face high import taxes hikes, called tariff peaks, at rich world ports.
Fully-processed manufactured food products are subject in the EU and Japan
to import taxes twice as high as products in the first stage of processing.
In Canada, taxes on processed food are as much as 13 times higher than
those on unprocessed products. Thirty per cent of all tariff peaks applied
by the EU protect the food industry. These range from 12 to 100 per cent
and affect sugar-based products, cereals, and canned fruit. In the US,
where the food industry accounts for one-sixth of all tariff peaks, including
orange juice (30 per cent) and peanut butter (132 per cent). Forty per
cent of all Japanese peak tariffs protect the food industry, affecting
a wide range of products from cocoa powder and chocolate to canned meat
and fruit juices.
poor economies are heavily dependent upon the export of a single commodity.
Falling and erratic commodities prices are at crisis point. In 2000/01
poor countries sold nearly 20 per cent more coffee than in 1997/98, yet
they were paid 45 per cent less. Had they sold it at the 1997/98 price,
they would have been around $8 billion better off. This means less money
for farmers but also cut backs in social spending on health and education.
And this crisis is not restricted to coffee. Between 1996 and 2000 Ghana
increased cocoa production by almost a third but was paid a third less.
Corporations and workers’
When poor countries attempt
to industrialise they also face many obstacles. Large trans-national corporations
(TNCs) are powerful players in the globalised economy. Two-thirds of all
trade takes place within TNCs. They are a major influence on labour standards
in poor countries. Either directly through the people they employ or more
significantly through their sub-contractors.
and the World Bank trumpet successful export led economic growth of star
pupils such as Mexico, Bangladesh and Honduras. However their export success
does not trickle down to the rest of the economy. Their economic growth
has been dominated by special export processing zones (EPZs). These are
low wage ghettos for simple assembly of imported parts. The wealth it generates
is spirited out of the country or left in the hands of a tiny minority.
Changing rules of the World
Many of the rules of the
World Trade Organisation (WTO), for example those on intellectual property,
protect the interests of rich countries and powerful TNCs, while imposing
huge costs on developing countries. This bias raises fundamental questions
about the legitimacy of the WTO. By including new issues like investment,
government procurement or competition rules, the new Doha trade round risks
widening the globale divide.
Women on the front line
Women workers are becoming
increasingly crucial in these EPZs as cheap labour. They are the super-exploited
in the new globalised economies. Women now make up about one-third of manufacturing
workers in developing countries but they earn about three-quarters of their
male colleagues. They may earn more money than before but they have fewer
rights, less time to care for the family and more burden. In China they
are forced to work 12-hour days in appalling conditions. In the sweatshops
of Bangladesh they are denied the right to join a union. In the flower
exporting market gardens of Colombia compulsory pregnancy testing is common
before women are granted employment contracts. Summary dismissal has become
standard practice for avoiding employer based maternity pay.
Oxfam is calling for a radical
reform of the international trading system so that trade can become the
engine for poverty reduction.
· Ending the use of
conditions attached to IMF-World Bank programmes which force poor countries
to open their markets regardless of the impact on poor people.
· Improving market
access for poor countries and ending the cycle of subsidised agricultural
over-production and export dumping by rich countries, without demanding
further concessions of developing countries.
· Creating a new
international commodities institution to raise prices to levels consistent
with a reasonable standard of living for producers, and changing corporate
practices so that companies pay fair prices.
· Establishing new
intellectual-property rules to ensure that poor countries are able to afford
new technologies and basic medicines, and that farmers are able to save,
exchange, and sell seeds.
· Prohibiting rules
that force governments to liberalise or privatise basic services that are
vital for poverty reduction.
· Enhancing the quality
of private-sector investment and employment standards.
· Democratising the
WTO to give poor countries a stronger voice.
· Changing national
policies on health, education, and governance so that people can develop
their capabilities, realise their potential, and participate in markets
on more equitable terms.