[ssf] More water
c.malins at sheffield.ac.uk
Mon Mar 21 12:46:48 GMT 2005
In the spirit of world water day, from an article about EU demands on
Least Developed countries to liberalise water and sanitation under the
GATS, in exchange for concessions on agricultural issues. Note that even
business is not asking for GATS commitment of water provision:
Agreeing to the EU's request would give stability for companies looking
to become involved in developing markets, said Mr Jennsen (of DG Trade).
"It is a guarantee against sudden policy reversals", he said.
But his views were countered by an unlikely combination of development
NGOs and multi-national water utilities already operating in the
developing world, saying that giving access to foreign companies bound
by a multilateral agreement would not help developing countries.
"I don’t think opening up developing countries’ water services under
GATS will achieve what needs to be done", to help poor regions gain
access to drinking water, said Richard Aylard, head of corporate
development and external affairs for RWE Thames Water, the German-owned
utility that serves the London area.
"When we were analysing the agreement, we couldn’t find any real
benefits for companies or developing countries. Water is a local issue
but trade negotiations are handled by national governments. There is
often a disconnect between the national level and local needs and
applications", said Mr Aylard.
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