WTO talks may fail poorer nations: S African Prez | business | Hindustan Times
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WTO talks may fail poorer nations: S African Prez

South African President Thabo Mbeki suggested poorer nations link up with anti-globalization protest groups to win a better deal on international trade.

business Updated: Sep 06, 2003 14:50 IST

Expressing pessimism about the next round of global trade talks, South African President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday suggested that poorer nations link up with anti-globalization protest groups to win a better deal on international trade.

"They may act in ways that you and I would not like - breaking windows in the street and this and that - but the message they are communicating relates to us," Mbeki told a seminar in Malaysia during a visit to strengthen ties between Africa and Southeast Asia.

Citing the role US lobby groups played in winning American support for sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa, Mbeki said the developing world should try to enlist public opinion in the West to force more powerful nations to stop flouting trade rules.

Almost 150 member countries of the World Trade Organization are due to meet in Cancun, Mexico, September 10-14 for the latest negotiations on a global trade treaty.

WTO meetings have been the scene of anti-globalization protests drawing hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in recent years. In some cases, police have struggled to quell protesters wearing hoods and gas masks as they went on rampages attacking outlets of multinational corporations.

Many poorer countries and their supporters complain that the United States and Europe force developing nations in Africa and Asia to lower trade protection measures by tying aid to compliance, but often flout liberalisation agreements when it comes to opening their own economies.