Thursday, August 28, 2003

Proof positive that the Global South is more united than it has been since the 1970s and playing hardball at the WTO.
The United States said today that it was close to accepting an agreement, which it had rejected last December, to help poor nations buy generic medicines through exemptions from trade rules.

The reversal by Washington � meant to improve the access of millions of people in those countries to expensive patented medicines for AIDS and other diseases � could enhance the Bush administration's international standing and prevent the collapse of global trade talks to be held in Mexico next month.

. . . Faizel Ismail, the permanent representative of South Africa to the World Trade Organization, who was part of the private negotiations, said the United States accepted the deal because of new assurances that it would not be abused by the countries in need of generic drugs to fight diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
It remains to be seen what "abused" actually means in the text of the agreement. But suffice to say that the South isn't lying down any more.


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