About the WTO
About the IMF &
UN and WSSD
The World Trade Organization (WTO)
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is among the most powerful, and one of the most secretive international bodies on earth. It is rapidly assuming the role of global government, as 134 nation-states, including the U.S., have ceded to its vast authority and powers. The WTO represents the rules-based regime of the policy of economic globalization. The central operating principal of the WTO is that commercial interests should supersede all others. Any obstacles in the path of operations and expansion of global business enterprise must be subordinated. In practice these "obstacles" are usually policies or democratic processes that act on behalf of working people, labor rights, environmental protection, human rights, consumer rights, social justice, local culture, and national sovereignty.
The International Forum on Globalization (IFG) focused its efforts throughout most of 1999 on the WTO and its relation to the larger issue of economic globalization. We published four new reports, held a debate between leading critics and proponents of the WTO, and held a Teach-In a few days prior to the WTO Ministerial meeting. Archived webcasts of the Teach-In can be viewed on the WTOwatch website. (Go to Multimedia and perform search on the "International Forum on Globalization"). Webcast of the debate can be viewed on the Progress Project website. Audio cassettes of the Teach-In and videos of the debate are also available for sale through the IFG.
New IFG Publications on the WTO:
- INVISIBLE GOVERNMENTThe World Trade Organization: Global Government For The New Millennium? (see report summary) - $5 for members, $8 for non-members
Authors: Debi Barker and Jerry Mander
This primer is a basic briefing on the powers, structure, rules, powers, and values of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the agreements it encompasses. It includes a brief description of economic globalizationthe engine driving the creation of global agreements and institutions such as the WTO. Also included is a history of post-Bretton Woods free trade institutions, leading up to the WTO, as well as thorough explanations of WTO agreements and procedures. Analyses of the WTO regime and case studies are included concerning major recent decisions on: environment, agriculture, intellectual property rights, culture and investment. 50 pages.
- VIEWS FROM THE SOUTH: The Effects of Globalization and the WTO on Third World Countries.- $10 for members, $15 for non-members
Authors: Martin Khor, Vandana Shiva, Walden Bello, Oronto Douglas, Sara Larrain, Anuradha Mittal. Forward by Jerry Mander. Editor: Sarah Anderson.
A rare chance for a comprehensive perspective on the WTO from some of the leading voices from the South. Martin Khor (Malaysia), Vandana Shiva (India), Walden Bello (Thailand), Oronto Douglas (Nigeria) and Sara Larrain (Chile), as well as Anuradha Mittal (India and the U.S.) debunk the idea that global instruments have been designed to benefit the interests of the Third World or the poor. In fact, exactly the opposite is the case as the South bears extra burdens from the rules of trade. 100 pages.
- FREE TRADE, FREE LOGGING: How the World Trade Organization Undermines Global Forest Conservation (see Introduction) - $8 for members, $12 for non-members
Author: Victor Menotti, Chair of the IFG Environment Committee
This is a comprehensive look at the way WTO rules are accelerating the destruction of the planet's last pristine forests. Included are analyses of the giant timber corporations' role in the creation of the WTO rules, and how they will benefit from them. Considerable discussion on the new proposed "Free Trade in Wood Products" provisions. 30 pages.
- BY WHAT AUTHORITY? Unmasking and Challenging the Legitimacy of Global Corporations in their Assault on Democracy through the World Trade Organization.- $8 for members, $12 for non-members
Author: Tony Clarke, Chair of the IFG Committee on Corporations.
This booklet looks at the specific corporations that are designing the new rules of trade, specifically, WTO rules. A sector by sector analysis (food, public health, fresh water, public education public broadcasting, forestry, etc.) reveals exactly which corporations are benefiting from some specific WTO policies. 35 pages.
Upcoming IFG Publication on the WTO:
For further information on the WTO:
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- AFTER THE WTO: Turning Away from Failure A Special Report on New Rules for a Citizens' Millennial Agenda. (See preliminary report)
Editor: John Cavanagh, Chair, IFG Committee on Global Finance.
This publication is an analysis of the systemic aspects of the current model of economic globalization as implemented by the WTO and other international trade agreements and institutions. Until now, the rules of global (and even domestic) commerce have been set by transnational corporations and the global trade bureaucracies that serve their purposes. This special report will discuss potential alternatives to current policies based on principles that put human beings, equity, democracy, public health, and the environment ahead of profits of global corporations. What should be retained of current institutions? Who should be at the table? How will citizens control the agenda now controlled by corporations? How will change be achieved?
In Seattle, the IFG issued a preliminary report written by the Alternatives Task Force to answer the frequently asked question, "If you are opposed to the current set of global rules (including the WTO), then what are you for?" The Alternatives Task Force continues to work on this publication and welcomes public input. All comments can be emailed to the editor, John Cavanagh:
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