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Who benefits from WTO? - Ferris

19 December, 2005

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has questioned
the  belief  that  the  agreement  at  the  WTO to phase out EU farm export
subsidies by 2013 will benefit farmers in the developing countries. He also
added  his  voice  to  those predicting that the changes will have damaging
implications for Irish agriculture.

Deputy  Ferris said: “The line being propagated by the major players within
the  WTO  is  that  the  deal  on  farm  export  subsidies  will  boost the
livelihoods  of  farmers  in the developing world. There is no evidence for
that  but it is certain that EU and Irish farmers will come under increased
pressure,  and  that  the  CAP reform package agreed two years ago is being
undermined long before the projected review date of 2013.

“The situation with regard to farmers in the developing world is similar to
that of those who work in the textile and shoe sectors which have also been
given  increased  access  to  EU  markets.  The  fact  is  that farming and
manufacturing  in the developing countries is based on low costs, including
poor  wages  and  conditions for those directly involved, and that they are
controlled   by   trans-national  corporations  who  have  no  interest  in
development  but  are  solely  motivated  by  reducing  costs and expanding
markets  based on their ability to undercut sectors in which labour, health
and safety standards apply.

“We  are  ending this year with another international deal that will damage
the  future of Irish agriculture, but which Minister Coughlan again insists
is  the “best possible” one available. Any more “good deals” like this one,
and  the  one  that  sounded the death knell of the Irish sugar sector will
further  endanger  the  future of Irish farming, which more and more people
are  coming to believe was sold a pup in 2003 with the deal on CAP reform.”

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