Cancun talks break off

Historical victory against corporate model of globalization

Monday 15 September 2003, by Guy CARON

CANCUN, MEXICO, September 14, 2003 - The Council of Canadians praised international civil society and the leaders of developing and least-developed countries for calling Canada, the United States and the European Union’s bluff, which led to the collapse of the WTO 5th Ministerial Meeting in Cancun.

"This is an historical victory, not only for civil society, but also for developing and least-developed countries," said Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the 100,000-member Council of Canadians. "It’s historical because the failure isn’t about technicalities: it’s the model that was rejected. The corporate model of globalisation that the WTO tried to implement always was illegitimate. It is time to move to a different model, based on values other than unfettered free markets and greed.

"Quad countries tried all week long to bully them, to intimidate them and to bribe them, and they stood up for what they believe will be in the best interest of their people. It’s a courageous stand that will lead to new dynamics. No longer will the rich countries be able to manipulate the whole process to their advantage.

"When they come back, the industrialized countries will have to do something they never did: they will have to sit down, listen and address the issues that peoples around the world are truly demanding: safe food, clean water, health care and an improvement of their livelihood."

Ms. Barlow adds that Canadian Minister of International Trade Pierre Pettigrew has to share a lot of the blame for the Cancun fiasco. "His role as Friend of the Chair (New Issues) was totally incompatible with the stated objectives of the Ministry. We have heard from more than one delegate that he was pressuring countries to agree to launch new negotiations on issues such as investment, even though many developing countries had clearly said no.

"In those circumstances, no deal is way better than a bad deal."

For more information, please contact:
Guy Caron, Media Relations Officer - 52.998.107.6734 (cell. in Cancun)

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