portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

corporate dominance | economic justice

Remember Seattle and Cancun? THEY DO!

Pre-negotiations are being conducted this week in Geneva, Switzerland, as the W.T.O. attempts to sneak through yet another sell-out of the interests of working and poor people around the world.

A report by Gustavo Capdevila, Inter Press Service (IPS), dated October 11, explains that the WTO meetings beginning this week in Geneva, Switzerland -- particularly this Thursday's session of the Trade Negotiations Committee, (the body mandated to supervise the overall conduct of WTO talks) -- are crucial to the W.T.O. meeting to be held in Hong Kong in December.

<<The following week, they will shift their focus to the Oct. 19-20 meeting of the General Council, which carries out the functions of the WTO in the intervals between ministerial conferences.

<<This emphasis on preliminary meetings responds to what activists see as a change in tactics on the part of the WTO.

<<They believe that the organisation is striving to ensure that negotiations are not left until the last minute, for fear of a repeat of the disastrously inconclusive Seattle and Cancun ministerial conferences.

<<Consequently, the negotiations taking place this month in Geneva will be crucial to the outcome of Hong Kong, the activists maintain.

Capdevila's report IPS report is via Yahoo! News.

 link to news.yahoo.com
How does the W.T.O. grow? Look at this: Russia wants in, but has been kept out. Why does Russia want in? Because the W.T.O. operates as an organization in restraint of trade -- a monopoly! So far, the W.T.O. functions as an imperfect monopoly. It wants to become a total monopoly.

In today's news: "Trade ministers face rough ride toward WTO deal"
>>Reuters via Yahoo! News - Oct 12
>>The European Union came under pressure on Wednesday to accept lower barriers to farm goods as ministers from leading World Trade Organization (WTO) states battled for a breakthrough in global trade talks.

The 148-member WTO needs to agree on a blueprint for the final stage of its Doha Round in Hong Kong in December, but negotiations are stalled primarily around food (euphemistically termed "agriculture" by the corporate media). This is the same "round" that got off to a stalled start four years ago in Cancun, where massive public pressure brought the entire process to a halt. Failure in Hong Kong in December could kill the round and put global capital back at Square One, relatively speaking -- actually to get back to Square One, the U.S. would have to get behind Dennis Kucinich's demand that the U.S. withdraw unilaterally from the W.T.O.!

Corporate media continues to sell W.T.O. as an enlightened concept. Typical recent global corporate coverage, which is identified as "news" but should be identified as EDITORIAL OPINION --

"Failure could kill the round, which has been touted as capable -- if successful -- of giving a multi-billion dollar boost to the world economy and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty." Reuters (via Yahoo! News), October 11, 2005

 http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051011/ts_nm/trade_talks_dc_12

The U.S. has recently announced willingness to abandon American farm interests and reduce agricultural barriers by 60% -- not enough, the W.T.O. says, to make a real difference. But the greatest obstacle is the fact that the E.U. has just negotiated a delicate E.U.-wide agricultural policy to integrate new Eastern European members into the existing agricultural policies in France and elsewhere. France, notably, just rejected the proposed new European constitution. Any W.T.O. agriculture agreement would threaten that politically explosive E.U. agreement. If an agricultural agreement is to be reached, it will have to be SLOWLY phased in -- but, then, that is a hallmark of W.T.O. action: phasing in so that nobody notices until it's too late!

What is galling to many progressives is that the "agriculture" issues are all about supporting global capital in its push to convert under-developed nations into food exporting areas to feed the global appetites of the upper classes in all nations while the local people continue to starve and land reform movements continue to be suppressed. The idea is that "subsistence" crops that feed the local people should be replaced by "cash" crops that feed "middle class" appetites all around this great globalized world. You know, that's the "middle-class" that is growing in countries like India and China, as democracy and liberty are undermined, and is supposed to provide the backbone for democratization of those very same nations as they continue to slop around in the sty of wannabe Americanization.

What is galling to many Americans is that this is all running according to the same formula that brought us the disgraced programs of NAFTA, CAFTA and the China trade agreements: proclaim it as part of a wonderful future and denounce opponents as racist!

Meanwhile, although you won't get it from corporate media, anti-WTO protests are continuing stronger than ever!

From OneWorld.net (via Yahoo! News) --

"Anti-WTO Protesters Back on the Streets"

GENEVA, Oct 10 (Inter Press Service)

Gustavo Capdevila, Inter Press Service (IPS) -- Tuesday, Oct 11, 2005

<<Civil society groups will be taking to the streets beginning this week, staging demonstrations around the world in the run-up to the December WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong.

<<The organisers of the protests stress that the greatest frustrations to the trade liberalisation policy promoted by the WTO (World Trade Organisation) have come at times of large-scale civil society mobilisation, as was the case with the ministerial conferences in Seattle in 1999 and Cancun in 2003.

<<"When we look at Seattle and Cancun, it is very important to underline the role played by civil society in derailing these ministerials. We hope to play the same role in Hong Kong," said Filipino activist Walden Bello of Focus on the Global South.

<<"We are going to stop the WTO negotiations because we don't see any good prospects for all countries, especially in Latin America and Africa," stated Iara Pietricovsky of the Brazilian Institute for Social and Economic Studies (INESC).

***

<<The December conference is meant to yield agreements establishing the framework for the continuation of the Doha Round of WTO talks, launched in the Qatari capital in 2001.

<<So far, the Doha Round has experienced repeated failures and broken deadlines, essentially because the industrialised and developing nations are defending opposing interests, and no one has been overly willing to make concessions.

<<The main themes of the ongoing negotiations are agriculture, services, industrial tariffs, intellectual property rights and issues of specific interest to the developing South, such as special and differential treatment for poor nations and the pending application of measures already agreed upon to benefit them.

<<According to Bello, it has been proven beyond a doubt that over the last 10 years, the WTO has consistently promoted the interests of transnational corporations.

<<A prime example, he said, is the case of the pharmaceutical industry, and the efforts to undermine the supremacy of public health over intellectual property rights mandated by the Doha Declaration.

***

<<The organisers expect to gather at least 5,000 demonstrators outside the WTO headquarters in Geneva for this mobilisation.

<<In the meantime, at least 8,000 protesters are expected this December in Hong Kong.

<<Bello reported that South Korean organisations are forecasting that between 2,000 and 3,000 activists from that country alone will be travelling to Hong Kong, along with thousands from nearby countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.

<<As a result, he believes there will be a bare minimum of 8,000 protesters, and most organisers expect many, many more.

***

<<"What we are precisely all about at this point is making sure that a deal doesn't happen, to show the developing country governments there are large numbers of people from civil society representing the interests of people in the developing world and elsewhere that will be very, very dissatisfied, very, very upset if a deal were made," said Bello.

 link to news.yahoo.com

ALSO TAKE A LOOK AT "Privatization and the World Trade Organization" by "Latin American Information Service", translated by mbatko of Portland, Oregon

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/10/326574.shtml