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The Path to Poverty Reduction: Trade a means to an end?
by Robyn L
The World Summit on Sustainable Development
source: iNetNews

Johannesburg, South Africa •• Aug. 28, 2002 •• SolarQuest® iNet News Service •• An international NGO, Oxfam, has been submitting various papers concerning the agricultural trading policies of developed countries, especially the European Union sugar policies. Oxfam states that the US and EU’s agricultural subsidies make importing goods such as sugar cheaper than local production for many developing countries. This stunts local markets and retards growth. The first world imposes liberal free trade on developing countries through structural adjustment programmes while maintaining mercantilist protectionist measures (such as subsidizing export markets) themselves; this disallows the developing world a chance to find a niche in the global economy.

When questioned as to whether Oxfam was a pro-liberal free trade organization, the difference between an end and a means to an end was elaborated upon. Oxfam states their position as follows: Poverty reduction is a paramount concern to their organization. Whether the most effective solution is through free trade, aid or debt relief, whatever works should be implemented. It is important to differentiate between this stance and the way the World Trade Organization sees free trade as an end in itself.

Oxfam will be demonstrating against developed countries agricultural subsidies on Thursday 29th August 2002.

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