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Fisherfolks Murdered By Drowning, Suspect 6th WTO

Japan Indymedia | 15.12.2005 15:38 | WTO Hong Kong 2005 | Globalisation | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | World

HONGKONG-- A proposal of rich countries to open the markets of less developed nations to their non-agricultural products like fish, the Philippines' 1.8 million small fishermen-and Southeast Asia's 12 million-could drown in a sea of imports from the likes of China and Japan.

"We can hardly compete with commercial fishers here. If you add the global fishing giants with their fleet, the local fisheries sector will die," said KM (Fisherfolks Movement- Philippines) chair Bonifacio Federizo.

Most of the population in the Philippines living near the coastal sea relies on small-scale fishing that is not subsidized by the government. On the contrary, Japan subsidizes its fisheries sector to the tune of $2.9 billion annually, the EU $992 million, the US $863 million and China $700 million.

“Imports from countries with highly subsidized fisheries would easily displace local fish products because of their artificially cheap "production" cost.” warns Tambuyog Development Center- a research institute for fisherfolks.

In the ongoing 6th WTO trade talks, the so-called non-agriculture market access (NAMA) is one among the hottest issues tackled at HongKong Convention Centre- it includes forest products, gems and jewelry, pharmaceutical, sporting goods, textile and fisheries. They aim to push forward the interest of rich nations for opening the market of less developed countries on NAMA trade, at the expense of killing prospective local industries and the environment.

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