In Indonesia, Lamy faces protesters suspicious of his "SP mission"

Original Publication Date: 
23 February, 2007

The WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy has been facing demonstrations by farmers and NGOs concerned that his visit to Indonesia is aimed at getting the government to dilute the "food security" demands of the Group of 33 in the WTO's Doha negotiations.

Protestors turned up at a hotel in which Lamy was addressing a seminar on the Doha Round. They held up a banner stating "SP/SSM means Stop Preaching - Save Southern Market". The banner was removed by police and a demonstrator was arrested.

The banner was referring to the demands by the Group of 33 countries (which Indonesia coordinates at the WTO) that the concepts of Special Products (SPs) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) be implemented in concrete terms in the Doha talks.

SPs refer to special products important to developing countries for food security and farmers' livelihoods (and which the G33 says should be subjected to lenient tariff reduction), while SSM refers to a mechanism proposed by the G33 that developing countries can use to increase their tariffs if there is a surge in imports or a fall in import prices.

Lamy is on a two-day visit to Indonesia, after which he goes to the Philippines.