Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday made a strong case for breaking down trade barriers in the Montreal Protocol as it can “adversely impact” the economy and cripple poverty-alleviation initiatives in developing countries.
The Protocol imposes curbs on trade in hazardous chemicals, mostly compounds of chlorofluorocarbons, hyrdochlorofluorocarbon and halons — dubbed major climate polluters. The pact monitors and licenses trade between parties and non-parties in these chemicals.
The Prime Minister instead lobbied for financial and economic resources to meet the eco-objectives, consistent with growth and poverty eradication. “Let us not seek trade advantages through environmental treaties,” he said inaugurating the 18th meeting of “Parties to Montreal Protocol” on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
The Prime Minister said while all parties must fulfill their commitment to multilateral eco-agreements, trade restrictions were not advisable. He said trade advantages — if any — could offset the gains for developing nations achieved after tough bargaining in the WTO regime. “Let us not trim the flow of multilateral and bilateral resources for poverty alleviation to accomplish unrelated environmental objectives,” he said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that technology transfer has not been significant under the Montreal Protocol. “I am not referring to the simple sale of capital equipment embodying technology and related training in operations. Rather, I am talking about the development of capacity in developing countries to manufacture and develop capital equipment,” Singh said.