This text is from the documentary: WTO – why is it really bad for you? The documentary was made in early 2000 by a group called Focus on the global south. Here we can read how World Trade Organisation favours big corportions on behalf of local industries. This is part one.
WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION PUSHES THE UNFAIR FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS
The WTO claims to be a forum for trade negotiations but it’s really not about trade between countries. WTO is the World Trade Organisation. Essentially it was set up to coordinate the economic activities of rich countries along with multinational corporations. World Trade organisation was created in 1995 to enforce a whole number of treaties. The main treaty was called GATT .- General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT is one of 23 different agreements that the WTO enforces. The World Trade organisation claims to be a forum for trade negotiations but is in fact being turned into an instrument to control all countries throughout the world.
Each of our governments hade people at WTO representing us, but actually not really. We the ordinary people, the trade unions and so on, we have no seat at the table. The WTO is an international institution which has been put together by the pluralist to impose trade rules. In the WTO the decisions are not made like you find in democracies. What you have in the WTO is that the actual decisions are made in what is called a green room process. In which just a few countries take the decisions. Nobody knows who is chosen, how they are chosen. But everybody knows that they are there because the EU and U.S. thinks that this set of countries is needed to legitimize the agenda.
MEMBER-STATES NEED TO OBEY THE WTO
Even though WTO tends to claim that it’s a democratic organisation, it’s really represented by the developed countries rather than the developing countries. The WTO doesn’t just benefit the companies. What we see is that the companies is actually writing the rules. It’s only the interest of big corporations and banks that are represented. And what they are saying is that money values should rule over life values. That human rights and the environment should be subordinate to the needs of commerce. The big secret about the World Trade Organisation is that the binding provision of the WTO requires that all countries shall conform their domestic laws, regulations and administrative procedures to the WTO agreements. The WTO is kind of noose around the neck of human rights, of environmental stewardship, of people’s right to healthcare and to save job, housing and education.
The WTO places rules on governments so that the governments no longer can regulate corporations. WTO is a place where companies can escape the laws of each country, including their own country. This isn’t really about trade, but it’s about handcuffs on what policies our governments can put in place at home on a huge array of issues. Like what they can do with basic services like water and electricity.
WTO ENFORCES ITS RULES ON THE COUNTRIES
Its really important that people not only look at the world trade organisation as a trade regime. But I think it’s really important that we understand it as a new global constitution. This is the final level of constitutional development. And all of these is one-size-fits-all-set of rules of WTO that all the countries are supposed to meet. And the problem is of course that the WTO has enforcement mechanisms so that it can enforce governments to obey the WTO. And the WTO has rules that stick so when governments go back or try to change the rules of the WTO, they can be faced with escalating economic sanctions. There is a whole system of economic punishment built into it. WTO’s concern is only one way, its only to privatize, to deregulate, to let the corporations come in. The citizens have basically become the enemy of the WTO because were standing in the way. It is a trade organisation but it’s not a fair trade organisation.
Democracy as we know is individuals who choose their rulers and that the majority are the one that are the decision makers. WTO is one of the most undemocratic organisations around. Although it’s supposed to be an multilateral organisation that runs on one country one vote. In fact the last time that was taken in WTO was in 1959. Now what you have is a process called consensus. And this is really a process whereby the consensus of the quad, which is Canada, Japan, USA and the EU is imposed on the majority. WTO to me is like a place were traders come and negotiate trade. It cannot be a democratic forum because major traders certainly have more power that the smaller traders. It’s an illegitimate forum. The WTO doesn’t just benefit companies. What we see is that companies are actually writing the rules of the WTO themselves. It’s really amazing that were coming to the 21:st century with one of the most important international organisations around. Not even being democratic but very few though in its decision making.