Methodist President regrets collapse of Cancun talks and 'scandal' of trade rules

The President of the Methodist Conference, the Rev Dr NeilRichardson, has called for renewed efforts in campaigning on tradejustice in the wake of the collapse of World Trade Organisation(WTO) talks, as poor countries proved they could - and would -stand up to their rich counterparts.

Dr Richardson said: "We deeply regret the breakdown of tradetalks in Cancun. These talks were a reminder of one of the biggestmoral challenges of our time. The conditions under which thepoorest nations of the world are obliged to trade with the rich arescandalous.

"The major economic players have shown themselves unwilling toact in the face of unfair trade rules that keep millions of farmerslocked in poverty. This behaviour cannot continue in an era inwhich we need to live more as members of the same family and ratherless as competitors.

"The Methodist Conference in July called for the WTO to work toeliminate those trade barriers which are designed to protect peoplewho are already rich, and also to encourage poor countries tomanage their own trade policies in order to reduce poverty. TheConference put its full weight behind the Trade Justice Movement topromote rules that take into account the needs of all."

Dr Richardson welcomed the efforts of Methodist organisationssuch as MAYC World Action and MRDF to encourage Christians behindthe coalition of support to change trade rules. He said: "I urgeall Methodists to get behind the Trade Justice Movement, in callingfor trade rules weighted to benefit poor people and theplanet".