Petition for Trade Justice
over 6,000 signatures!
A delegation of Manchester campaigners had the opportunity
to present our petition to Peter Mandelson, EU Trade Commissioner, in
Edinburgh on July 6th at the start of the G8 meeting!
for Trade Justice and Debt Cancellation
the UK Government and the EU Commission.
We call on the UK Government and the EU Commission to meet
the Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty by 2015 through
Peter Mandelson is responsible for the EU trade
negotiations at the WTO. Ultimately he carries responsibility for
the whole of the EU trade agreements. Although he has to secure the
agreement of the trade ministers of all (25) member states, as
Commissioner he can take initiatives and exercise considerable leverage on
the issues he wishes to promote or block. He has presented many
papers and speeches apparently supporting pro-poor solutions for the trade
The delegation had a half hour meeting with Peter
Mandelson and pressed him to set and early date for the end to export
subsidies. His response was great confidence that an end to export
subsidies could be secured across all rich countries, but less confidence
of a target of 2010 given the delays in concluding the round (unlikely
before 2006). When pressed he conceded that if necessary the EU
would end export subsidies unilaterally, but was still confident a better
multilateral agreement would be achieved.
Peter spent much of the meeting trying to convey the
difficulties in negotiating agreements which didn't have unintentional
negative consequences (as has been noted in relation to ending the sugar
regime). The world trade rules are extremely complicated and there
are existing special protection for trade from, for example ACP (African, Caribbean,
Pacific) countries within the U.
Our closing exchange brought the discussions back into
sharp focus on the awesome responsibility he carries for the lives of millions.
The World Bank estimates that a pro-poor Doha settlement would lift 150 million
out of poverty, saving about 7,500 lives every day (almost 3 million a
year!). To his credit, he accepted that responsibility.