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Mr. Clarke: I agree absolutely and I am delighted that the Trade Justice Movement also agrees, not least because, rightly, it has been campaigning—and the Government have responded—on issues such as debt, trade, HIPC and the other matters that my hon. Friend rightly raised.

Oxfam research showed that the falling price of coffee in Kenya forced parents to take their children out of school because they could no longer afford the fees. The price fall meant that parents' income more than halved in the space of two years.

Yesterday's The Guardian contained an extremely telling article, which I commend to my friends in the Trade Justice Movement, by George Monbiot—[Interruption.] I see that it appeals also to the hon. Member for Meriden. George Monbiot said that he had changed his mind on some of the essential issues—for example, on the role of the World Trade Organisation. I welcome that change of mind. He made it clear that whereas he had argued that our aim should be to remove the influence of the WTO, he now realised that the initiative should be transformed. In telling words, he said:


The challenge to this Parliament, the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation is to put in place a set of rules banishing free trade and replacing it with a genuine level playing field and fair trade. The Cancun conference in September is the next road stop on this almost endless journey, and we are watching all the developments very closely indeed.

My last words are those that have been poignantly expressed by the Trade Justice Movement:


5.30 pm

Tony Baldry (Banbury): The prophet Micah said:


We all have an inherent concept of what justice is, and this debate is about trade justice. When the Prime Minister of Ethiopia gave evidence to the Select Committee on International Development, he said that there was a danger that Africa could become the continental ghetto of a globalised world. He said:


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Of course, we could replace the word "Africa" with the names of many of the developing countries.

Our world community is interdependent, and we cannot simply have trade rules that are entirely give and take, whereby we ask the developing countries to gain concessions while they keep having to give more. Prime Minister Meles put it to the Committee that


Many non-governmental organisations gave evidence to the Select Committee. Duncan Green of CAFOD spoke of


At Cancun, we shall all have to stand back and consider what is in the best interest not of each country but of the global community as a whole. Unless we in the developed world are prepared to make concessions on agricultural support and trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights—TRIPS—we can forget about getting the general agreement on trade in services or "new issues" on to the agenda, because there will be absolutely no interest in the developing world in making any concessions on GATS or new issues. Sadly, we have made almost no progress on agricultural support or TRIPS since the end of 2002.

The International Development Committee has been undertaking an inquiry into the matter, and we went to see Commissioner Fischler. It was a pretty depressing meeting, as I think the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle), who was also present, will confirm. We got there, sat down, asked the commissioner some questions, and he said, in terms, "Frankly, it is not our responsibility. It is not our fault. The EU is doing everything that we need to do." He said:


In effect, Fischler was saying, "There is nothing for us to do." We then went to Washington to meet representatives of the United States Department of Agriculture. They said, "It is not us, it is you, the European Union, who have got to shift."

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Some real political effort needs to be made if we are to achieve a breakthrough. Understandably, that will require genuine political commitment. The attention of many political leaders, including our Prime Minister and President Bush, has understandably been distracted by Iraq and other topics. If I have a criticism and concern, it is that, if any progress is to be made in Cancun, it will require more than an interdepartmental Cabinet sub-committee and the Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry, for International Development, and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs getting their act together. In terms of agricultural subsidy, some serious political head-banging and sorting out will be required in the EU and the United States. It is appalling to note that, even if we have won any influence in the United States, we have yet to sort out TRIPS.

In his recent statement on the G8 summit, the Prime Minister said:


We would all agree with that. Then, almost a week later, the Prime Minister reported back from the European Council in Thessalonika. Those of us who have been around long enough understood the form of words that were used at the Dispatch Box. In the light of the wordplay between the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, it was clear that, while in Thessalonika, the Prime Minister had not invested any political capital in pushing for reform of the common agricultural policy.

We on the Conservative Benches are far more consensual and kind to the Prime Minister than some of the political sketch writers. In the following day's edition of The Independent, Simon Carr said that the Prime Minister proved that


The real concern is that Ministers have to convince this House and the country that between now and Cancun the Government and the Prime Minister will invest some real political time and effort in talking to President Bush, and in making progress on agricultural reform and TRIPS. If they do not, we will make no progress on the WTO agenda. We do not doubt the good will and commitment of Ministers—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): Order. The hon. Gentleman has had his time. I call Ann McKechin.

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