The World Trade Organisation The World Trade Organisation

Introduction

When you think of the world government, you probably think of the toothless United Nations, but the real power is in the WTO (World Trade Organisation), the WTO. It was born as GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) in Bretton Woods in New Hampshire when world leaders met in 1944 to plan a course of action to deal with the world’s economic problems. The USA did not get around to formally agreeing to the Bretton woods treaty until 1994. Then GATT renamed itself the WTO.

You elect no representative to the WTO. It is run mainly by international corporations for the benefit of international corporations. Unlike the UN (United Nations), it has no mandate for world peace, only maximal profit for the international corporations.

It is the force behind the McDonaldisation of the planet, destroying unions, pushing people into low paying jobs, squashing local culture, and trashing the environment for profit. It is something like NAFTA in its destructive power, but on a global scale.

Actions

In the name of harmonisation, the WTO forces countries to the lowest common denominator of environmental and labour protection. In the name of fair trade, they block any attempts to foster local culture. Here is a partial list taken from Thom Hartmann’s book Unequal Protection, of some of the ways they have bullied governments:
  1. The stats of Massachusetts and 30 other local governments in the United States had passed laws that banned imports of products that were manufactured with child or slave labour from the repressive dictatorships of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The national Foreign Trade Council, a lobbying and trade industry association representing more than 500 US corporations, successfully challenged these laws, making now illegal the kind of boycott that led to the freedom of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid in South Africa.
  2. Laws in England and France restricting the use of asbestos in construction were successfully challenged by Canada which exports asbestos.
  3. Asian laws that banned the marketing of tobacco products were overturned.
  4. The Venezuelan government successfully challenged the U.S. Clean Air Act’s provisions banning the import of dirty gasoline reformulated in refineries in Venezuela.
  5. Laws in several European countries restricting the import of lumber cut from old growth forests nor by environmentally destructive clearcutting were successfully challenged by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
  6. Japanese laws to reduce automobile emissions by cars sold in that country were successfully challenged by the United States.
  7. U.S. laws banning the import of shrimp taken from regions where the shrimp industry is destroying the habitat of endangered sea turtles were successfully challenged by several nations and corporations.
  8. European laws banning the importation of genetically modified organisms, or GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) s, were successfully challenged by the United States.
  9. A Canadian ban on the gasoline additive MMT (Methycylcopentodieny Manganese Tricarbonyl) (methycylcopentodieny manganese tricarbonyl), which can cause disabling neurological impairments in movement and speech, was struck down and the Canadian government paid millions to MMT ’s American manufacturer for the economic harm to that corporation caused by Canada’s law to protect its citizens.
  10. A California ban on the gasoline additive MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) (methyl tertiary butyl ether) that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) had found to be a known animal carcinogen and a probably human carcinogen was challenged. MTBE is manufactured by a Canadian corporation, which sued the United States for three quarters of a billion dollars to make up for their loss of profits in California because they cannot now sell their product in that state.
  11. European laws, passed by elected legislatures, that banned beef laced with hormones, regulated cosmetic testing on animals, and banned the import of furs caught in steel-jaw leg hold were all thrown out.
  12. The WTO made it legal to label tuna dolphin friendly whether it was caught in a manner that kills dolphins or not.
  13. The agreements make it illegal to discriminate against goods that were produced by unethical or destructive processes, e.g. slave labour, child labour, or killing endangered species.
  14. The agreements make it illegal to restrict the export of hazardous wastes to countries ill-equipped to deal with them.
  15. The agreements make it illegal to ban the import of ozone-depleting substances.
  16. The agreements along with NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) prevent the Canadian government from giving any incentives to its local magazine industry, film industry or entertainment industry to encourage the expression of Canadian values. Instead Canadians are swamped by American imports which espouse American materialistic values.
  17. The agreements even prohibit giving poorer nations a break in trade as a form of financial aid.

The Result

Legislators, fearing lawsuits, are reluctant to even propose environmental or labour legislations.

These agreements were drafted behind closed doors by businessmen for the interests of the multinational corporations. They don’t serve the needs of ordinary people in the least. They have further failed to even bring the promised material benefits.

The very notion of preferring global trade to local production is ecologically foolish. It wastes enormous amounts of energy to transport goods and food all over the planet. It makes more sense to produce goods and fresh food locally where possible.

You have probably seen people rioting at WTO meetings. However, you never heard a word about why. Funny thing about that.

What To Do

There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains.
~ Theodore Roosevelt (born: 1858-10-27 died: 1919-01-06 at age: 60)
What are the solutions: The alternative is a world that cares nothing about people or life, just the bottom line of faceless corporations willing to take any measure to squeeze another penny without concern for the consequences to human life or the environment.

Learning More

book cover recommend book⇒Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rightsto book home
by Thom Hartmann 978-1-57954-955-8 paperback
birth 1951-05-07 age: 62 978-1-57954-627-4 hardcover
publisher Rodale
published 2002-10-04
How corporations have taken control the government and have used terrorism as an excuse to abrogate human rights. How they have used NAFTA and the WTO to squash labour and environmental protection.
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book cover recommend book⇒The World Trade Organization: A Citizen’s Guideto book home
by Steven Shrybman 978-1-55028-735-6 paperback
publisher Lorimer
published 2001-02-19
Shrybman is an environmental lawyer who takes you by the hand explaining the WTO from scratch. You don’t need a degree in economics to understand his book.
Australian flag abe books anz abe books.co.uk UK flag
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.co.uk UK flag
German flag abe books.de abe books.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de amazon.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag iberlibro.com abe books.com American flag
French flag abe books.fr amazon.com American flag
French flag amazon.fr Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe books.it Google play American flag
Italian flag amazon.it O’Reilly Safari American flag
India flag junglee.com Powells American flag
UN flag Kobo other stores UN flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.

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