PN170103EA

Press Notice

IMMEDIATE

FRIDAY 17 JANUARY 2003

GLOBALISATION: LORDS INQUIRY URGES FURTHER EFFORTS TO COMBAT WORLD POVERTY

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee urges the UK Government to take further steps to help the poorest countries tackle poverty, in its report published today.

Amid growing fears about the increasing interconnection of the world economy through advances in technology and the expansion of transnational corporations, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee undertook an extensive 16-month inquiry into the economic impact of globalisation.

In its report, the Committee finds that  

• in general the opportunities of globalisation outweigh the dangers, but

• shameful levels of poverty in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa remain.

Lord Peston, chairman of the inquiry, said:

"Globalisation is the defining feature of our current economic environment. Our inquiry and report aim to move the debate forward on this difficult and controversial subject.

"We are optimistic, but not complacent. Globalisation has the potential to benefit everyone: but fairer distribution of these benefits cannot be achieved without far greater efforts to ensure the poorest countries are given the voice and tools to reap those benefits for themselves."

The report considers a number of areas where developed countries should try harder to enable the poorest developing countries to exploit the opportunities created by globalisation. In particular, it urges the UK Government, in conjunction with other governments and relevant organisations

• to bring an end to the wholly objectionable and unjustifiable protection by developed countries of their agricultural and textile markets;

• to improve the balance of power between developed and developing countries in international financial institutions and the transparency of their decision-making;

• to consider solutions to the possible adverse effects of the "brain drain" from developing to developed countries (whilst recognising the significant benefits of international labour mobility);

• to establish a centre of responsibility aimed at tackling corruption in the operation of the global economy;

• to pursue policies which will see an end to child labour;

• to review the operation of the World Trade Organisation's agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights to reduce the burden of implementation on developing countries; and

• to ensure that developing countries are not placed under unreasonable pressure to accept the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

1. The members of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee which conducted this inquiry were:

Lord Barnett

Lord Burns

Lord Elder

Baroness Hogg

Lord Newby

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

Baroness O'Cathain

Lord Paul

Lord Peston (Chairman)

Lord Roll of Ipsden

Lord Cuckney

Lord Vinson

2. The Committee took evidence from a wide-range of leading figures in the globalisation debate, including Cabinet Ministers (Gordon Brown, Patricia Hewitt and Clare Short), European Commissioners, senior representatives of international financial and other institutions, non-governmental organisations, academics and industrialists.

3. The report is published by the Stationery Office: Globalisation, House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, 1st Report, Session 2002-03, HL Paper 5-1, ISBN 0 10 400125 9, £14.00. The full text of the report will be available on the internet via www.parliament.uk shortly after publication.

Copies of the report will be available to the media, under strict embargo, from 2.30 today, 16 January. Please contact Deborah Delacroix on 020 7219 6968 to discuss collection details.

4.There are also two volumes of evidence: Globalisation  Oral Evidence up to 13 March 2002, Session 2001-02, HL Paper 143, ISBN 0 10 411502 5, £28.50 and Globalisation Oral Evidence after 13 March 2002 and Written Evidence, Session 2002-03, HL Paper 5-II, ISBN 0 10 400128 3, £29.00.

The report and evidence are contained on a CD Rom which is included with the report.

Further information and interviews with the Chairman from:

- Christine Salmon,  Clerk

Tel: 020 7219 3233 or E-mail: [email protected]

- Jillian Bailey, Press and Publicity Officer (Committees)

Tel: 020 7219 8659 or E-mail: [email protected]

[ENDS]