Freedom to Trade Coalition in Hong Kong for WTO Ministerial
IPN Press release
London: International Policy Network (IPN) and members of the Freedom to Trade Coaltion from Ghana, India and China will be participating in the WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong, 13-18 December 2005. Participants will include:
Julian Morris, Executive Director of IPN and Visiting Prof. at the University of Buckingham
Philip Stevens, Director of IPN’s Health Programme
Alec van Gelder, Research Fellow at IPN and expert on technology and trade policy issues
Barun Mitra, Director of the Liberty Institute in India
Franklin Cudjoe, Director of Imani – the Centre for Humane Education in Ghana
Andrew Work, Director of the Lion Rock Institute in Hong Kong
Simon Lee, Research Director of the Lion Rock Institute in Hong Kong
The Freedom to Trade Coalition believes that Free Trade Frees People: it is fundamental to eliminating poverty, promoting development and achieving political and economic freedom.
The Freedom to Trade Coalition calls on world leaders to permit the people of the world real freedom to trade. That means removing all barriers to trade imposed by governments, including quotas, tariffs, subsidies and protectionist regulations. We demand that all nations:
• Eliminate import tariffs and quotas.
• Eliminate production and export subsidies.
• Eliminate protectionist regulations.
• Remove other bureaucratic restrictions on trade.
• Enable entrepreneurs, traders and innovators to protect and exchange their property.
Julian Morris said that he was very concerned that European governments continue to hold up negotiations by refusing to scrap their agricultural subsidies – which cause great harm not only to the poor in Europe but to agricultural exporters in poorer parts of the world:
“The removal of barriers to trade offers the potential for over a trillion dollars increase in World GDP. The GDP of African countries could rise by as much as 4 per cent per year. But for this to happen African countries must remove their own trade barriers, which are the biggest obstacle to trade on the continent.
Nevertheless, the EU should lead by example and tear down its own trade barriers.
The US has put a good offer on the table; it is time for the EU to follow suit.”
Philip Stevens says that Governments currently impose to many barriers in the way of technologies that would improve the lives of the poor:
“in some countries, taxes and tariffs increase the cost of medicines by 50 per cent or more. This is simply unacceptable. Governments should use Hong Kong to commit to removing tariffs, taxes and unnecessary regulations that prevent the poor from accessing medicines and other goods that would enable them to lead healthier, longer lives.”
IPN believes that markets and their underlying institutions – property rights, the rule of law, limited government, free trade – harness human potential better than any other institutional arrangement, and are the best way to address the poverty and tragedy faced by many people in the world.