Barbara visited the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva last week where she met trade ambassadors from Africa, Asia and Latin American countries.
Barbara and Helen Jones MP were joined by a Conservative and a Liberal Democrat MP on the one day visit, organised by the aid agency CAFOD, to meet the trade negotiators.
Barbara met with negotiators from Bangladesh, Philippines, Kenya and Mauritius, who between them represent over 100 developing countries at the WTO. They also met with the UK government representatives in Geneva.
"The agenda for trade negotiations at WTO tends to be set by a small group of powerful nations and developing countries feel that they struggle to be heard.
“The negotiators from developing countries that we met hope that talks will open up new trading opportunities but they also need short term protection for their subsistence farmers.
“I hope that this balance of needs will be respected so that opening up trade helps to support development across the world."
Barbara also met Anne Kamau, negotiator for the Kenyan delegation at the WTO. She told Barbara:
“Given that we have liberalised during the past twenty years our markets are very open.
“We have had an import surge of cheap agricultural goods which has really affected our markets. We are just trying to safeguard our farmers."
CAFOD’s Trade Policy Analyst, Matt Griffith, who accompanied the MP delegation to Geneva said:
“The next month will be crucial in deciding the fate of millions of poor people.
“The UK is in a good position to stand up against the interests of the powerful and in favour of justice for the world’s poor.
“It’s a credit to Barbara Keeley and to the concerns of her constituents that they care enough about the issue to listen to what it’s really like for poor countries struggling to make themselves heard at global trade talks".