- 14 September 2003
Cancun talks collapse as poor countries stand firm
The Cancun conference has collapsed after all night talks failed to resolve deadlock between rich and poor countries. The EU and the US tried to push the developing countries into agreement, but they held firm and refused to accept a bad deal.
Oxfam’s Phil Twyford said: “World trade negotiations will never be the same again. This meeting has failed and the rich countries are to blame. But the new power of developing countries, backed by campaigners around the world, has made Cancun a turning point.
“In the past, rich countries made deals behind closed doors without listening to the rest of the world. They tried it again in Cancun. But developing countries refused to sign a deal that would fail the world’s poorest people.”
This really does say it all.
One thing that does worry me greatly though about this is that most of the nations that refused to sign onto this deal were those of the Caribean, Africa, and the Pacifc rim. What is notable in that list is the one giant omission… Latin America. I haven’t heard yet how the nations of Latin America would have voted (except that the UTNE reader story I quoted earlier said that the Brazilian delegation decided to support Kenya’s walkout after seeing the protests both in Cancun and elsewhere). If this omission is accurate (that most of the Latin American countries would have gone with the plan put out by the US, EU, etc.) then we got some work to do between now and November to prepare for the meeting of the FTAA (Free Trade Association of the Americas) in Miami in November.
The good news is that I think this can be won, especially if the citizenery of the nations of Latin America begin to speak out and even take to the streets in peaceful opposition to this plan to extend NAFTA to all of Latin America.