Nations clash in Bali over 'green' trade

 

Rich and poor differed today over how to open up trade in green goods, with Brazil fearing a major US-EU proposal raised on the fringes of climate talks in Bali was a protectionist ruse.

Officials from 32 nations, including 12 trade ministers, are meeting for the first time on the sidelines of an annual UN climate conference, opening a new front in the global warming battle.

About 20 finance ministers will also meet on Indonesia's resort island of Bali tomorrow and Tuesday.

Pakistan and Brazil voiced reservations today over a move to cut tariffs on clean technologies, such as wind power and solar panels, meant to help reduce the cost of curbing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

They suspect the measure's real intention is to boost exports from rich nations. Brazil, a big producer of biofuels from sugar cane, has said the proposal did not include biofuels nor biofuels technologies.

"The protectionism is like the serpent's head. The serpent will always try put its head up," Brazil's Minister of External Relations, Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim, said in Bali. "What are we here for? Are we here to make three things mutually supportive, development, trade and climate change, or are we here to discuss about protectionist ways to slow down the process?"

Pakistan objected to the US-EU proposal because most developing nations don't have the money or know-how to build competitive green goods.