Saturday, February 11, 2012

As David Cameron calls for a quick trade negotiations between the EU and India free, small traders and farmers, with people living with HIV - marched to the EU- India, since it began in New Delhi. His message was: "Do not negotiate with our lives," protesting that the talks are ignoring the impact on their livelihoods. After five years of negotiations, there has been no impact assessment, despite calls repeated MPs and civil society, to the trade agreement could mean for millions of merchants, laborers and peasants (Comment, 08 February).

Traidcraft, a leading UK fair trade organizations with a long history of working with small farmers in the subcontinent, is very concerned with research showing that an assessment adequate social impact identified at an early stage would be premature to liberalize the Indian retail sector, given its importance in providing jobs for millions of poor Indians. In fact, trade liberalization could destroy jobs twice what would be created by foreign investment. addition, the Commission's insistence on the inclusion of data exclusivity as requiring liberalization of intellectual property could seriously affect the ability of India to provide affordable drugs to fight against HIV and tropical diseases, both in India and abroad. EU Trade Commissioner said a break in the talks is now an option. Traidcraft believes that negotiations should be pending until a proper assessment of social problems allows the EU and India to negotiate an agreement that takes into account interests other than those of large enterprises. Better no agreement than a bad deal and the serious long-term effects for millions of poor in India.

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