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- Speaks with two tongues

Organizations that often stand together now fight so that the rags feed on agricultural commodities.


[new dividers] The temperature is high, and the dividing lines are new and surprising in the debate on international trade and agriculture before the signing of a new agreement in the World Trade Organization (WTO), which could change the rules of the game for global food production.

16 solidarity organizations, trade unions and agricultural organizations, including Attac, the Development Fund and the Norwegian Bond Association, have joined forces on a trade policy platform under the name Trade Campaign.

- The agricultural part of the Trade Campaign is characterized by close contact with Norwegian business interests, says Mekonnen Germiso, research leader in The Future in Our Hands.

- The trade campaign demonstrates ideological skepticism about cross-border trade per se, regardless of research results on what this has to say for the environment and development, he says.

- We are far from opposed to trade, but we are concerned that regulations are needed to support the poorest, towards a neoliberal policy. Trade cannot be seen in isolation from the environment and living conditions. Transporting food across national borders is also an environmental issue, says Aksel Nærstad, spokesperson for the Trade Campaign.

Mekonnen Germiso responds that emissions during the production process are far more important than transport.

- Tomatoes that are grown outdoors in Morocco and then transported to Norway, emit one-eighth of the greenhouse gas emissions generated from the corresponding amount of tomatoes from Norwegian greenhouses, he says.

The Joint Council for Africa and Church Aid are also critical of the Trade Campaign. Magnus Bjørnsen of the Common Council for Africa believes that the trade campaign continues a pattern from the colonial era.

- I am amazed that so many solidarity organizations believe that food sovereignty in the West is important. The trade campaign speaks with two tongues when they say that they want to import more from developing countries, but will themselves decide what the developing countries should export. The trade campaign agrees that food exports can provide development – they would rather have sugar. . .

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