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04.10.2005 General News

Civil society to present petition against WTO rules

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Accra, Oct. 4, GNA - A group of civil society organisations that toured farming communities in some regions to mobilise domestic support against World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules at the up-coming WTO Honk Kong Conference returned to Accra on Tuesday to present a petition to Trade and Industry Minister.

The group comprising Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Third World Network-Africa, Trades Union Congress (TUC), Market Access Promotion Network, Peasant Farmers Association, General Agricultural Workers Union, among other organisations, embarked on the trip to collate grassroots experiences of the impact of world trade agreements vis-=E0-vis the nation's trade policy.

Christened "The road to Hong Kong", it was organised in pursuant of Africa's declaration adopted at an August 16 to August 19 2005 Africa Trades Network meeting in Accra.

The expedition took the groups to Nyariga in the Upper East Region; Savelugu in the Northern Region; Tuobodom in Brong Ahafo Region; Otwereko in the Central Region and Tema in the Greater Accra Region. At a mini-rally held at the Freedom and Justice Park in Accra after a procession, the group said the views collated formed part of a petition to be presented to the Trade and Industry Minister, who would represent the country at the December Hong Kong conference. Addressing the rally, Mr Kofi Asamoah, Deputy Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress, said the campaign was a noble one because it sought to get the Government to pursue trade policies in the best interest of the people of Ghana and Africa.

He said it would ensure that critical decisions that would affect farmers, urban workers and the entire population were taken in Hong Kong in the interest of all.

Mr Asamoah said the TUC joined civil society in demanding a fair trade and just trade rules that recognised that the members of WTO were at different levels of development.

He said the TUC with the support of all the other 16-affiliate members together with international NGOs would continue to campaign for trade rules that were supportive of development for the benefit of the people.

Mr Hohammed Adam, President of the Peasant Farmers Association, said the sovereignty of Ghana was under threat because external forces had pushed the country so close to the wall that the Government found it difficult to say no to them.

He cited the collapse of the domestic rice industry and textile factories mainly because of cheap imports that had been allowed to flood the markets in the name of trade liberalisation.

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