Briefly noted

After days of protests during their Hong Kong talks in December, the 149 members of the World Trade Organization hammered out a scaled-down agreement on global commerce. But many Christian and civil society groups fighting for trade justice predicted that the deal will do little to help the world’s poor. “Those talks might not have crashed as spectacularly as those at Seattle and Cancun. However, the deal will have as little impact on the world’s poor people,” said trade analyst Claire Melamed on the Web site of the British aid and trade justice advocacy group Christian Aid. The main development came December 18, the final day of the WTO Ministerial Conference, when rich nations settled on the year 2013 as an end date for agricultural export subsidies. U.S.-based Church World Service officials were dismayed.


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