ATN Statement: Time to dismantle WTO inequity
STATEMENT ON PREPARATIONS FOR THE COMING WTO MEETING IN BALI
We, representatives of African trade unions, youth organisations, women’s groups, faith-
Instead of global economic stability and peace, neo-
The financial institutions and other corporate behemoths whose practices have been at the source of the crises have not been brought to book. On the contrary they have gained in even greater financial resources and concentration of power. This has been at the expense of vast majorities of working people in all corners of the world, who have been thrown into deeper levels of poverty and deprivation.
In its agreements, structure and processes, the WTO has been part and parcel of the creation of these extreme inequalities and imbalances in global wealth and power; of the conflicts arising from them; and of the crises continually generated thereby. This forms the context of the continued stagnation of the Doha negotiations.
However, consistent with their general attitude to the global crisis, the industrial countries of the North and the transnational corporate interests which drive them continue to resist a re-
Instead, they have become even more aggressive in the pursuit of their own agenda of trade liberalisation. Through launching “sub-
This is the essence of attempts at “plurilateral” agreement on services; the push to expand the membership of the existing agreement on government procurement to include a critical mass of countries and therefore generate pressure on others; the clamour for an enhanced International Technology Agreement (ITA); and the pressure to adopt an agreement on Trade Facilitation that would set binding rules on customs and shipping procedures according to the practices and interests of the advanced industrial countries.
In the meantime, developing country concerns to re-
The forthcoming 9 WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali constitutes a critical juncture in this continuing aggressive drive of corporate-
In this context, the pressure by rich countries to conclude an agreement on trade facilitation in Bali must be rejected. As conceived, and as being negotiated, such ‘trade facilitation’ goes beyond the declared need to simplify and speed up customs procedure. Rather this need is being subordinated to a framework which would allow transnational corporations to intervene in the powers of national governments to regulate customs procedure, and to shift the overall management of ports and related import-
In addition, the proposals will undermine revenue-
All this will reinforce and lock in place on-
Above all, these proposals will divert attention from, and even undermine, real efforts to address the actual constraints that face African and other poorer countries in terms of the movement of goods and persons across borders -
Another development with far-
In the light of the above, we reject the emerging agenda being promoted in the WTO, comprising both the so-
We demand that our countries refuse to adopt an agreement on Trade Facilitation at the Bali ministerial conference.
We also call upon all other countries to challenge the TISA initiative as having no place in WTO negotiations which are meant to involve all members equally.
We insist that the needs of developing countries for redressing the imbalances of the WTO cannot be bargained for further expansion of corporate neo-
· the duly motivated demand by Least Developed Country (LDC) members of the WTO for unconditional extension of the waiver of TRIPS implementation;
· the proposal by developing countries to subsidise domestic food production in support of food security; and
Furthermore, we demand that any further and future work on the WTO should focus on redressing the inadequacies and imbalances of the WTO and on the roll-
And we assert that the continued existence of the WTO can only be justified if it forms part of an agenda to construct a global trade regime founded on the fulfilment of the needs of peoples and on respect for the limits of the planet, rather than on rapacious calculations of corporate greed.
As civil society organisations we commit ourselves to continued struggle for the realisation of these demands, and call upon other organisations and citizens groups across Africa and in the global civil society movement to join us in this effort.
Accra, 24 May, 2013
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