Ongeri John writing in the Dar es Salaam Express has reported that Tanzania has been silently campaigning among poor countries asking them to turn down bids by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to remove all trading restrictions by 2012. Tanzania, a WTO signatory, believed that making the world a free trade area would only help to enrich developed countries further and wreak havoc on weak economies. Industries and Commerce Minister Iddi Simba was quoted as saying that Tanzania had begun to miss WTO negotiation sessions after the realisation that it had nothing to gain from the talks. “Our position is that Tanzania has a poor industrial base without the technology to produce high quality but low priced products to compete with those from developed economies,” he said. Simba added that this was Tanzania’s position even on its membership in the East African Community (EAC) which expected to become a free trade area in four year’s time.

Minister Simba continued his campaign when, between July 22 and 24 trade ministers from 49 developing countries came together in Zanzibar and declared that they were prepared to take part in a forthcoming WTO conference at Doha, Qatar, but only on condition that the negotiating principles they had laid down in their ‘Zanzibar Declaration’ -long term duty free access for products from LDC’s, simplified rules of origin, understanding of their special structural difficulties, reversal of marginalisation of LDC’ s -were dealt with at the meeting. Minister Simba concluded by saying: “Most of us are not ready, psychologically, materially and technically for a new trade round. WTO Deputy Secretary General Ablassa Ouedraogo pointed out however that globalisation was inevitable.

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