Planet Not For Sale


Our World Is Not For Sale - 29 April, 2009 - 20:03
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Stop the WTO destroying developing country industries and selling off our natural resources!

Many people have heard about the WTO opening up markets in services and
agriculture, with negative impacts on farmers, public services and the
environment world-wide. But now the rest of the world is also up for
sale at the World Trade Organization (WTO), as governments plan to
liberalise all
remaining sectors through a new agreement, known as the
Non-Agricultural Market Access or NAMA agreement, which is being
negotiated as part of the ‘Doha’ round of trade negotiations. 

NAMA contains proposals that would severely curtail governments’
ability to implement domestic policies in the public interest,
including policies designed to support smaller and weaker producers in
the countries of the South. It would also see those countries with the
highest tariffs (that is, the great majority of developing countries)
making the largest cuts and greatest commitments, even though this
could weaken key industries and sectors in those countries. Add to this
the fact that the WTO effectively ‘locks’ countries into these trade
agreements and it is clear that NAMA poses a major threat to those
countries already struggling to develop their economies and deal with
unsustainable and unjust external debt burdens.

We, the undersigned organisations, are united in our opposition to this
new attempt to lever open markets for the benefit of transnational
corporations at the expense of smaller companies and producers, local
economies, cultures and the environment. The NAMA proposals must be
halted and a comprehensive review undertaken of NAMA’s potential
social, developmental, environmental, employment and gender impacts. 

We therefore call on governments to:

  • Halt the NAMA negotiations and agree to a full and independent review
    of NAMA’s potential impacts on economic development, industrial
    diversification in developing countries, the environment and social
    welfare (including employment, health and gender balance);
  • Recognise and guarantee governments’ domestic policy space and
    flexibilities, preserving their right to use policy tools including
    trade measures, that develop fair and sustainable economies, protect
    and promote employment, social welfare, health and the environment and
    guarantee public participation.
  • Promote resource conservation and the sustainable management of natural
    resources including by stopping the further liberalisation of trade in
    natural resources such as forests, fish, oils, gas, metals and

The effects of NAMA on developing country industries and unemployment

  • The rapid and comprehensive reduction in import tariffs and other trade
    measures proposed in NAMA threatens to undercut developing countries’
    ability to industrialise. They would not be able to protect vulnerable
    local businesses from large and well-established overseas corporations
    that are able to mass-produce large quantities of cheap products (trade
    measures were used extensively by industrialised countries when their
    own domestic industries needed such support in order to develop).
  • The closure of local industries and small workshops under pressure from
    cheaper imports would lead to increased unemployment. Trade
    liberalisation has already had disastrous impacts on employment in
    countries in Africa and Asia, under IMF-World Bank structural
    adjustment programs, and in some Latin American countries.
  • Deindustrialization combined with the proposed liberalization of
    natural resources under NAMA (which is planned to include fisheries,
    forestry and mineral resources) could also push countries into
    increasing dependence on commodity exports that generate relatively
    small returns, rather than diversifying their economies.Any
    further pressure on fisheries would be particularly damaging, leading
    to increasing rates of unemployment, poverty and malnutrition for the
    many millions dependent on the world’s marine resources for their
    livelihoods and food.
  • Developing countries would also lose the income they currently receive
    from trade tariffs (customs duties). This is critical, since many such
    governments depend heavily on such revenues to sustain essential social
  • NAMA would also push developing countries into a situation in which
    they import more, yet export less as a result of de-industrialization,
    creating growing trade deficits and  deteriorating external balance of
    payments for developing countries.

Increased exploitation of natural resources

The NAMA negotiations pose a broad and significant threat to the
environment with most countries ignoring the potential environmental
and social impacts of liberalising trade in raw materials. All
natural resources are included in the NAMA negotiations and sectors
such as fish, gold, diamonds and primary aluminium have even been
proposed for complete liberalisation.

  • Increased liberalisation in raw materials sectors could lead to
    increased exploitation of and trade in scarce natural resources and
    remove governments’ ability to use trade measures to manage stocks
    sustainably and for the common good.
  • A NAMA deal could limit governments’ use of tariff and other trade
    measures to preserve the livelihoods of millions of fisherfolk around
    the world and ensure that people in developing countries can still rely
    on fish as a key source of protein.
  • There would be less scope for governments to use trade measures to
    protect endangered fish populations. At the same time, trade
    liberalisation could further strengthen industries engaged in fish
    processing and aquaculture, with little regard for their impacts on
    human rights and the pollution of coastal environments.

Threats to national laws and policy space

Many governments are using NAMA and other WTO negotiations to target
legitimate non-commercial laws around the world which protect the
environment, social well-being and health. They argue that these
so-called “barriers to trade” obstruct transnational companies’ exports
in one way or another. Laws covering food and medicines, fisheries,
timber and petroleum, energy efficiency, chemical testing, recycling
and standards in the electronics and automobile industries have all
been listed as part of the NAMA negotiations, seemingly at the direct
behest of those corporations likely to benefit from their removal. This
concerted attack on regulation ignores the need to use regulations to
protect and promote the health and well-being of citizens, conserve
natural resources and stop climate change.


The NAMA negotiations are taking place at a speed that prevents less
well-resourced governments from participating properly in the
negotiations, let alone conducting assessments of the potential impact
of a new NAMA agreement on their economies, workers and environment.
Although the Least Developed Countries have some limited exemptions in
this round of negotiations, this is not enough to safeguard their
future development.

In fact, what is being pushed
is the exact opposite of the “development” deal sold to developing
countries at the WTO’s Doha Ministerial in 2001. At that meeting
developing countries were promised that they would not have to offer up
as much as the richer countries. But in NAMA they are now being
required to make greater "adjustments" than the highly industrialised
countries and take far greater risks with their current production and
future development prospects. Trade ministers of the Africa, Caribbean
and Pacific (ACP) Countries have already clearly stated that they are “concerned
that the proposals contained in the Derbez text and its annex on NAMA
[negotiating texts] … would further deepen the crisis of
de-industrialisation and accentuate the unemployment and poverty crisis
in our countries”.
However, despite this unambiguous expression
of concern, their views have been blatantly ignored by industrialised
countries and those responsible for driving these radical proposals
forward. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. We therefore
call on governments to:

  • Halt
    the NAMA negotiations and agree to a full and independent review of
    NAMA’s potential impacts on economic development, industrial
    diversification in developing countries, the environment and social
    welfare (including employment, health and gender balance);
  • Recognise and guarantee governments’ domestic policy space and
    flexibilities, preserving their right to use policy tools including
    trade measures, that develop fair and sustainable economies, protect
    and promote employment, social welfare, health and the environment and
    guarantee public participation.
  • Promote resource conservation and the sustainable management of natural
    resources including by stopping the further liberalisation of trade in
    natural resources such as forests, fish, oils, gas, metals and
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

Un documento di Unità della OUR WORLD IS NOT FOR SALE Network

Our World Is Not For Sale - 29 April, 2009 - 19:54
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Un documento di Unità della


Rete Il Nostro Mondo Non E’ In Vendita

La nostra Visione, i Principi ed il Programma


“Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS)” è una rete globale di
organizzazioni, attivisti e movimenti sociali impegnati a sfidare gli
accordi commerciali e sugli investimenti che favoriscono gli interessi
delle più potenti imprese multinazionali, a danno delle popolazioni e

A questo processo di globalizzazione guidato dalle
multinazionali, opponiamo la visione di un’economia globale costruita
sui principi della giustizia economica, della sostenibilità ecologica e
della responsabilità democratica, che anteponga gli interessi dei
popoli a quelli delle imprese. Un’economia costruita intorno agli
interessi dei veri produttori e consumatori, quali i lavoratori, i
contadini, le famiglie di agricoltori, i pescatori, i piccoli e medi
produttori, ed intorno ai bisogni di chi è messo a margine dall’attuale
sistema, come le donne ed i popoli indigeni.

Crediamo che un sistema giusto debba proteggere, e non
compromettere, le diversità culturali, biologiche, economiche e
sociali; mettere l’enfasi sullo sviluppo di economie e sistemi
commerciali sani a livello locale; assicurare i diritti ambientali,
culturali, sociali e del lavoro riconosciuti a livello internazionale;
sostenere la sovranità e l’autodeterminazione dei popoli; e proteggere
i processi decisionali democratici a livello nazionale e locale.

La democrazia non si riduce semplicemente nell’organizzare
elezioni. Esiste  democrazia quando non si è l’ultimo anello di una
catena che riceve passivamente un processo calato dall’alto, un sistema
di valori standardizzato, delle priorità e delle politiche che vengono
imposte grazie ad organismi multilaterali quali l’Organizzazione
Mondiale del Commercio (OMC – Wto). Esiste democrazia quando non si è
soggetti a processi decisionali non trasparenti e non condivisi, quali
quelli che caratterizzano l’Organo di Risoluzione delle Dispute della
Wto. Esiste democrazia  quando le persone hanno il controllo delle
forze che hanno impatti diretti sulle loro vite.

Quando fu creata la Wto, nel 1995, il suo preambolo sosteneva
che lo scopo dell’organizzazione era quello di portare maggiore
prosperità, aumentare l’occupazione, ridurre la povertà, diminuire le
disuguaglianze e promuovere lo sviluppo sostenibile nel mondo mediante
un maggiore “libero commercio”. A dieci anni di distanza è chiaro che
la Wto non ha raggiunto questi obiettivi ed ha avuto risultati
esattamente opposti.

Il regime commerciale della Wto ha ostacolato misure che
avrebbero promosso lo sviluppo, alleviato la povertà ed aiutato la
sopravvivenza degli esseri umani e dell’ambiente naturale, tanto a
livello locale quanto globale. Sotto la dicitura di “libero commercio”,
le regole della Wto sono state utilizzate per forzare l’apertura di
nuovi mercati e per portarli sotto il controllo delle imprese

I grandi poteri commerciali hanno inoltre utilizzato la Wto per
incrementare e consolidare il controllo delle imprese multinazionali
sull’economia e sulle attività sociali in aree ben al di là di quelle
commerciali, come ad esempio in materia di sviluppo, investimenti,
concorrenza, diritti di proprietà intellettuale, nella fornitura dei
servizi essenziali, nella protezione dell’ambiente e negli appalti

Liberalizzazioni su larga scala in queste aree costringeranno i
paesi in via di sviluppo a rinunciare a molti degli strumenti economici
per lo sviluppo che i paesi industrializzati hanno utilizzato per
creare le loro economie e posti di lavoro. Gli accordi già approvati
nella Wto, inoltre, insieme a quelli attualmente in discussione,
porterebbero di fatto a “mettere sotto chiave“ e rendere irreversibili
i programmi di aggiustamento strutturale della Banca Mondiale e del
Fondo Monetario Internazionale.

Nel portare avanti gli interessi dei grandi poteri commerciali, inoltre, i metodi digovernancee
decisionali utilizzati nella Wto fanno notoriamente affidamento sulle
minacce, l’inganno, la manipolazione e la mancanza di trasparenza, in
maniera non democratica e secondo un processo non inclusivo.

Sono le conseguenze distruttive dal punto di vista sociale,
politico e ambientale del modello neoliberista di globalizzazione delle
imprese ad avere favorito il sorgere della resistenza da parte di un
ampio spettro di organizzazioni della società civile e di movimenti
sociali in tutto il mondo, come si è manifestato ai summit della Wto a
Seattle, Doha, Cancun ed Hong Kong.

La rete Our World Is Not For Sale è parte di questo movimento di resistenza globale.

Dieci anni dopo la fondazione della Wto, per noi è diventato
chiaro che le possibilità che la Wto si muova in direzione di riforme
positive sono minime, se non del tutto assenti. Un cambiamento è
assolutamente necessario. Al momento abbiamo un sistema in cui:

  • le vite sono distrutte, i diritti umani ignorati,
    la salute pubblica minacciata, l’ambiente saccheggiato ed i sistemi
    democratici vengono erosi;

  • le economie
    locali sono minacciate, ed i lavoratori, i contadini, le famiglie di
    agricoltori, i pescatori, i consumatori, le donne ed i popoli indigeni
    sono particolarmente svantaggiati e sfruttati;

  • la
    possibilità per i governi di garantire l’accesso agli aspetti
    essenziali della vita, promuovere la salute, la sicurezza e la
    sovranità alimentare, e proteggere la diversità culturale e biologica è
    compromessa e talvolta eliminata.

In tutto il mondo, gli effetti negativi dell’attuale sistema
economico globale stanno spingendo i movimenti democratici – che
agiscono tramite le urne e nelle strade – a chiedere un cambiamento. I
politici eletti in molti paesi hanno perso la speranza nell’attuale
sistema digovernanceeconomica globale. Un numero sempre
crescente di economisti e tecnocrati che hanno creato ed adottato
questo sistema stanno iniziando a porsi delle domande, in quanto i
risultati provano l’opposto di quanto promesso. Tutto questo si sta
manifestando nel contesto di una crescente disuguaglianza, sia tra le
nazioni, sia al loro interno, e con un risorgere del militarismo.

E’ necessario resistere ai tentativi della Wto di imporre una
liberalizzazione del commercio mondiale che colpisce la giustizia
economica, il benessere sociale, l’equità tra i generi e la
sostenibilità ecologica. Il potere e l’autorità della Wto devono essere
ridimensionati in molte materie nelle quali l’istituzione si è imposta,
quali ad esempio l’agricoltura, i servizi ed i diritti di proprietà

Contemporaneamente dobbiamo ideare nuove istituzioni per
facilitare il commercio, la produzione e la distribuzione dei beni
comuni, se vogliamo evitare la crescente prospettiva di una catastrofe
sociale ed ecologica.

L’attuale regime commerciale, che include la Wto così come gli
accordi commerciali bilaterali e regionali e quelli sugli investimenti,
deve permettere un nuovo quadro commerciale per il XXI secolo
socialmente giusto ed ecologicamente sostenibile.


Sin dal 1998, i membri della rete OWINFS si sono confrontati per
condividere analisi, sviluppare strategie e coordinare azioni a livello
internazionale, in modo da promuovere lo sviluppo di un’economia
alternativa, giusta e sostenibile.

Siamo impegnati per sviluppare un nuovo sistema commerciale
democraticamente responsabile che faccia avanzare un’economia di
giustizia, il benessere sociale, l’equità di genere e la sostenibilità
ecologica, e che garantisca posti di lavoro dignitosi ed i beni e i
servizi necessari per tutti gli esseri umani.

Sosteniamo lo sviluppo di economie locali floride ed i diritti
dei lavoratori, contadini, migranti, famiglie di agricoltori,
consumatori, donne e popoli indigeni. Crediamo che l’autodeterminazione
dei popoli non debba essere subordinata ad impegni commerciali
internazionali. Tra le altre cose, questo significa che il processo
decisionale e l’applicazione ad ogni livello dellagovernancedebbano essere democratici, trasparenti ed inclusivi.

Riconosciamo che un sistema commerciale internazionale giusto
debba dare la priorità ai diritti ed al welfare dei lavoratori,
contadini, migranti, pescatori, e famiglie di agricoltori che producono
i nostri prodotti, servizi e cibi.

Chiediamo ai governi ed alle agenzie multilaterali di arrestare
i loro attacchi ai diritti fondamentali dei lavoratori, l’arretramento
delle conquiste ottenute dalle lotte dei lavoratori, il compromettere
la sicurezza del lavoro e la corsa verso il basso dei salari, e di
rafforzare in tutto il mondo i diritti dei lavoratori.

Ci opponiamo ad accordi e negoziati di liberalizzazione del
commercio che contribuiscono a togliere l’accesso alle risorse naturali
a quelle popolazioni indigene e comunità locali che da queste dipendono
per la propria sopravvivenza, e che invece danno questo accesso alle

Altri diritti umani fondamentali devono essere rispettati,
promossi e realizzati, a partire dall’autodeterminazione dei popoli
indigeni e dalla fornitura dei bisogni e servizi sociali essenziali,
comprese l’educazione, la sicurezza e la sovranità alimentari,
l’accesso universale ad acqua pulita per uso umano e la salute

Allo stesso modo, l’integrità ecologica deve essere un
obiettivo di un mutato sistema commerciale globale. Questo significa,
tra le altre cose, che il commercio delle imprese e gli investimenti
devono essere regolati per arrestare il surriscaldamento globale; gli
accordi ambientali multilaterali devono avere la precedenza su quelli
commerciali; gli standard ambientali non devono essere ridotti a causa
di accordi commerciali; ed il diritto delle persone a rifiutare
organismi geneticamente modificati, di preservare la crescita delle
foreste secolari e la diversità delle sementi dei contadini e la
promozione del benessere degli animali deve essere rispettata.


Assicurare il diritto di scegliere delle persone: autodeterminazione, democrazia e sviluppo

Ribadiamo ildiritto fondamentale dei paesi di sviluppare
politiche economiche ed industriali che promuovano uno sviluppo
economico genuino, creino posti di lavoro dignitosi e proteggano la
sopravvivenza, e tutelino l’ambiente
. Tutti i paesi, ed in
particolare i più poveri, devono avere il diritto di utilizzare opzioni
politiche (come politiche di contenuto locale) per incrementare la
capacità dei loro propri settori produttivi, in particolare per le
piccole e medie imprese. I paesi devono anche tutelare la loro
possibilità (spazio politico) di disegnare strategie economiche,
sociali ed ambientali che favoriscano i loro abitanti più vulnerabili.
La ricerca della “coerenza” tra le istituzioni internazionali è
diventata un mezzo per negare questo spazio politico: il Fondo
Monetario Internazionale, la Banca Mondiale ed alcuni singoli paesi
donatori forzano i governi ad implementare politiche neoliberiste, e la
Wto e gli altri accordi commerciali e sugli investimenti rendono
praticamente irreversibili queste politiche.
Di conseguenza:

  • Our World Is Not For Sale chiede la fine delle
    pratiche segrete e coercitive che sono diventate il marchio di fabbrica
    dei negoziati commerciali, in particolare nella Wto, dove pochi governi
    più potenti, spesso agendo per conto delle loro elite imprenditoriali,
    sono capaci di forzare i governi più deboli per raggiungere i loro

  • Lo smantellamento delle tariffe
    e delle altre misure commerciali non deve consentire di mettere le
    economie locali, ed in particolare quelle dei paesi più poveri e/o di
    settori economici più poveri, in balia delle imprese multinazionali, e
    di minacciare lo sviluppo economico locale, le leggi e gli standard sul
    lavoro, la salute e la sicurezza del pubblico e dei consumatori, e

  • I negoziati sul “libero
    commercio” nella Wto ed altrove non possono continuare ad essere
    utilizzati come un Cavallo di Troia per assicurare regole favorevoli
    alle imprese in materia di investimenti, concorrenza, appalti pubblici,
    accesso al mercato, produzione agricola, regolamentazioni locali sui
    servizi pubblici ed i diritti di proprietà intellettuale. Allo stesso
    modo non possono proseguire le attuali dinamiche di potere, nelle quali
    i ricchi paesi industrializzati impongono la loro agenda economica a
    scapito dei paesi più poveri.

  • L’utilizzo
    di aggiustamenti strutturali e del consolidamento del debito per
    forzare la liberalizzazione del commercio nei paesi del terzo mondo
    deve essere arrestata. Il Fondo Monetario Internazionale, la Banca
    Mondiale e le banche di sviluppo regionali devono cancellare tutti i
    debiti a loro dovuti da parte dei paesi in via di sviluppo ed in
    transizione in modo che questi paesi possano allocare questi fondi per
    soddisfare i bisogni urgenti della popolazione.

Promuovere il primato dei diritti sociali e dell’ambiente

Crediamo che la protezione e l’avanzamento dei diritti sociali,
il soddisfacimento dei bisogni basilari, e la protezione del nostro
ambiente siano essenziali alla vita. E’ inaccettabile che queste siano
compromesse dalla Wto ed altre regole degli accordi “commerciali”.
Di conseguenza:

  • nessun accordo commerciale o sugli investimenti
    deve avere la precedenza, o compromettere, gli accordi internazionali
    che promuovono la giustizia sociale, economica ed ambientale, tra i
    quali alcuni sono

    • la dichiarazione dell’Organizzazione
      Internazionale del Lavoro (OIL) sui principi e sui diritti fondamentali
      del lavoro (che include i quattro core labour standard);
    • la
      Convenzione sulla biodiversità ed il suo protocollo attuativo sulla
      bio-sicurezza, e gli altri accordi multilaterali sull’ambiente;
    • la
      Dichiarazione sui diritti dell’uomo delle Nazioni Unite e le sue
      convenzioni associate, la Convenzione internazionale sui diritti
      economici, sociali e culturali e la Convenzione internazionale sui
      diritti civili e politici;
    • la prossima Dichiarazione delle Nazioni Unite sui diritti dei popoli indigeni;
    • la Convenzione per l’eliminazione di tutte le forme di discriminazione contro le donne (CEDAW); e
    • La Convezione internazionale sulla protezione dei diritti di tutti i lavoratori migranti e dei membri delle loro famiglie.
  • governi devono conservare il diritto sovrano di
    determinare come regolare i servizi in modo da soddisfare i bisogni
    della popolazione, l’economia e la società, ed onorare i loro altri
    obblighi internazionali e costituzionali, compresi quelli verso le
    donne, i popoli indigeni, i giovani, gli anziani ed i poveri.

  • Il
    diritto dei governi ad applicare il principio precauzionale per
    proteggere la salute pubblica, l’ambiente, e l’agricoltura da rischi
    sconosciuti deve avere la precedenza su qualunque accordo e clausola

  • La riduzione delle tariffe
    che danneggiano l’ambiente o lo sviluppo sostenibile aumentando un
    commercio inappropriato delle risorse naturali e di altri prodotti
    ambientalmente sensibili non dovrebbe essere attuata.

  • L’indebolimento
    delle Nazioni Unite da parte delle istituzioni pro-multinazionali di
    Bretton Woods, della Wto, e dei grandi poteri deve essere arrestata, ed
    il sistema di agenzie ed accordi delle Nazioni Unite deve essere

Proteggere i servizi essenziali

Sottoscriviamo il principio fondamentale secondo cui nessun
accordo commerciale o sugli investimenti dovrebbe violare il diritto
dei governi a garantire l’accesso ad aspetti essenziali alla vita, a
promuovere la salute ed il benessere dei loro abitanti, e la protezione
Di conseguenza:

  • i paesi non dovrebbero subire pressioni per
    accettare regole commerciali che diminuiscono questa loro abilità, sia
    tramite l’Accordo Generale sul Commercio dei Servizi (GATS) della Wto,
    sia negli accordi bilaterali e regionali.

  • I
    settori direttamente legati a quelli essenziali, quali la salute,
    l’educazione, la cultura audiovisiva, l’assistenza sociale, i servizi
    idrici ed energetici devono essere esplicitamente esclusi da tutti gli
    accordi commerciali e sugli investimenti.

  • Le
    regole riguardanti i regolamenti domestici, i sussidi e gli appalti
    pubblici in materia di servizi per la loro stessa natura impattano su
    questa abilità e non dovrebbero pertanto essere inclusi in accordi
    commerciali o sugli investimenti.

I paesi stanno subendo enormi pressioni per sottomettere i loro
servizi essenziali alle regole del GATS, che hanno l’effetto di
promuovere le privatizzazioni. Quando, inoltre, gli impegni presi in
questo negoziato sono adottati da paesi che sono o sono stati soggetti
a deregolamentazioni e privatizzazioni dei loro servizi essenziali
tramite le richieste di “aggiustamento strutturale”, le regole del GATS
servono per rendere queste privatizzazioni praticamente irreversibili.
In questa maniera il GATS promuove l’apertura dei mercati locali alle
imprese multinazionali e l’avanzamento del modello neoliberista.
Di conseguenza:

  • Queste richieste di “aggiustamento strutturale” debbono
    essere respinte, non rese irreversibili, e non devono essere una
    condizione per i paesi che ricevono nuovi prestiti o aiuti, così come i
    paesi non dovrebbero essere messi sotto pressione per sottomettere i
    loro servizi essenziali alle regole del GATS.

Difendere i saperi, la cultura e le forme di vita come l’essenza di una civiltà

Consideriamo i saperi, la cultura e l’educazione come le forze
che muovono la civiltà. Queste forze non possono essere ridotte a
prodotti commerciabili o proprietà privata.

Non c’è alcuna base per includere queste affermazioni sulla
proprietà intellettuale in un accordo commerciale. Tutte le nazioni,
inoltre, hanno la responsabilità e l’obbligo di proteggere la salute
pubblica ed il benessere delle loro popolazioni. Le attuali regole
sulla proprietà intellettuali in accordi commerciali, quali l’accordo
sugli aspetti commerciali dei diritti di proprietà intellettuale
(TRIPs) della Wto, impediscono l’accesso delle persone ai farmaci
essenziali, alle sementi ed alle necessità vitali, mentre portano
all’appropriazioni dei privati sulle forme di vita ed i saperi
tradizionali e la distruzione della biodiversità. Impediscono inoltre
ai paesi più poveri di migliorare i propri livelli di welfare economico
e sociale e di difendere le loro identità e tradizioni uniche.
Di conseguenza:

  • i governi devono conservare il loro
    imprescindibile diritto a limitare la protezioni dei brevetti in modo
    da proteggere gli interessi pubblici in queste aree, in particolare
    riguardo le medicine, le sementi e le forme di vita.

  • La
    brevettabilità delle forme di vita, inclusi i microrganismi, deve
    essere proibita in tutti i regimi nazionali ed internazionali.

  • Una
    diversità culturale genuina deve essere difesa dall’impatto e
    dall’omogeneizzazione dei mercati globali e dai monopoli sui saperi,
    sulla tecnologia e sulle telecomunicazioni.

Preservare e favorire la sovranità alimentare e la sicurezza alimentare

Affermiamo che il diritto al cibo è un diritto umano
fondamentale. L’accordo sull’agricoltura (AOA) della Wto subordina
questo diritto ai profitti delle imprese.
Il sistema alimentare
promosso dalla Wto è costruito su un’agricoltura industrializzata con
grande utilizzo di capitali e guidata dalle esportazioni, che sta
contribuendo alla concentrazione delle imprese lungo la catena
alimentare e compromettendo la sopravvivenza, i diritti, la salute, le
condizioni di vita e di lavoro dei lavoratori nei settori
dell’agricoltura e alimentare, e di conseguenza compromettendo la
sicurezza alimentare.

Inoltre questo sistema non riconosce che il lavoro agricolo
è un modo di vita ed una base importante per la comunità e la cultura.
Le politiche della Wto e di altri accordi commerciali favoriscono
quindi un’ulteriore concentrazione ed un aumento del potere delle
imprese multinazionali e causano l’espulsione di milioni di contadini e
di famiglie di agricoltori dalle terre e dalla produzione, nel Nord
come nel Sud del mondo. Dall’introduzione dei “programmi di
aggiustamento strutturale” e della Wto, molti contadini, famiglie di
agricoltori e lavoratori nel campo dell’agricoltura sono stati
allontanati dalle loro terre e hanno provato la fame, molti sono stati
spinti al suicidio, permettendo la liberalizzazione delle importazioni
tramite la riduzione delle tariffe, l’abolizione delle restrizioni
quantitative e l’introduzione di politiche nazionali agricole ingiuste.
Contemporaneamente molti sussidi che vanno all’agribusiness, ed in
primo luogo alle imprese agricole orientate all’export, sono aumentati
invece di diminuire.

Mentre queste regole permettono in maniera sempre maggiore
alle potenti imprese commerciali dell’agribusiness di abbattere i
prezzi delle materie prime pagati ai contadini in tutto il mondo, la
concentrazione della distribuzione e della lavorazione del cibo sotto
le regole dei negoziati agricoli e sui servizi della Wto ha portato ad
un aumento dei prezzi per i consumatori.
Di conseguenza:

  • per evitare un’ulteriore aumento della fame, degli
    spostamenti forzati e delle morti, devono essere intraprese delle
    azioni per ridurre le politiche agricole, commerciali e sugli
    investimenti che incoraggiano una cronica sovrapproduzione e per
    proibire il dumping dei prodotti agricoli sui mercati mondiali, sotto i
    costi di produzione da parte delle grandi imprese agricole ed altri
    soggetti coinvolti nel commercio mondiale di prodotti agricoli. I
    sussidi diretti ed indiretti che causano il dumping devono essere
    proibiti. I paesi dovrebbero mantenere e riaffermare i loro diritti
    sovrani a proteggere i propri mercati agricoli ed i settori interessati
    dal dumping in modo da implementare misure che possano effettivamente
    ed attivamente sostenere le produzioni sostenibili fondate sul lavoro
    dei contadini e degli agricoltori che lavorano su scala familiare.

  • E’
    necessario adottare delle misure per sostenere la sovranità alimentare
    (il diritto dei popoli e delle comunità a definire le proprie politiche
    agricole e sul cibo, cosi come il diritto di produrre i propri cibi di
    base in modo che siano rispettate le diversità culturali e produttive e
    che siano sostenute le produzioni sostenibili fondate sul lavoro dei
    contadini e delle famiglie di agricoltori) e la sicurezza alimentare e
    del cibo (sia per i consumatori sia per i produttori).

  • Le
    misure che riguardano unicamente la produzione per il consumo interno e
    che non contribuiscono ad aumentare le esportazioni sui mercati
    internazionali dovrebbero essere escluse da qualunque accordo
    commerciale internazionale. Il sistema commerciale non deve
    compromettere la sopravvivenza dei contadini, delle famiglie di
    agricoltori, dei lavoratori agricoli, dei pescatori artigianali e delle
    popolazioni indigene.

  • Crediamo che lo
    sviluppo della sovranità alimentare, della sicurezza alimentare e
    dell’agricoltura sostenibile su scala familiare richieda che i governi
    riconoscano i fallimenti nel principio del “libero commercio”, che
    sottostà all’idea di vantaggio comparato, dell’agricoltura votata
    all’esportazione e dei piani di “aggiustamento strutturale” e che
    sostituiscano queste politiche con altre che diano priorità e
    proteggano le produzioni locali, sostenibili e di sussistenza, compreso
    l’utilizzo di controlli sull’importazione e regolazioni che assicurino
    metodi di produzioni più equi e sostenibili.

  • Saranno
    necessari diversi accordi per assicurare questi obiettivi. Questi
    potrebbero includere una convenzione sulla sovranità alimentare e
    sull’agricoltura sostenibile, e una dichiarazione sui diritti dei
    contadini e delle famiglie di agricoltori. In ultima analisi la Wto e
    gli accordi di “libero commercio”, con il loro attuale focus sulla
    liberalizzazione ad ogni costo, non sono luoghi appropriati per queste
    regole; di conseguenza è necessario rafforzare dei luoghi alternativi
    dove discutere di queste regole.

Fermare la globalizzazione delle multinazionali e promuovere una giustizia nel commercio

Le regole commerciali della Wto e di molti altri accordi commerciali
oggi in essere e in corso di negoziazione promuovono il potere delle
imprese multinazionali nell’economia globale, fornendo nuovi diritti in
materia di investimento, proprietà intellettuale e altro.
Contemporaneamente, rendono praticamente irreversibili le politiche
neoliberiste di privatizzazione e deregolamentazione. Tutto questo è
fatto nel nome del “libero commercio”. Questo squilibrio nei poteri
promuove l’interesse di pochi giganti economici, spesso con effetti
devastanti sulle economie locali, in modo particolare nei paesi in via
di sviluppo.

Questo potere delle imprese è stato considerevolmente aumentato
mediante accordi regionali e bilaterali sul commercio e sugli
investimenti. Le loro potenti regole promuovono i diritti delle imprese
e pongono una seria minaccia alle autorità democratiche locali. In
certi accordi, di fatto, le ora imprese straniere possono fare causa ai
governi nazionali per “mancati profitti”, se qualunque legge o
regolamentazione nel paese riduce le loro attuali o future possibilità
di profitto. I diritti ambientali, del lavoro e sociali sono tutti
diventati secondari rispetto al diritto al profitto delle imprese.
Questo andamento deve essere ribaltato.

Dopo avere ostacolato con successo l’Accordo Multilaterale
sugli Investimenti, che avrebbe assicurato questi diritti delle
imprese, chiediamo di porre fine alla strategia delle imprese di
promuovere una rapida ed avventata espansione degli accordi regionali e
bilaterali sul commercio e gli investimenti che cercano di rinforzare
le mancanze della Wto. Chiediamo anche di porre fine alle regole che
garantiscono il diritto al profitto di un investitore straniero,
esponendo le politiche di regolamentazione locale alle sfide degli
investitori e chiedendo compensazioni con soldi pubblici.

Per iniziare a muoversi verso un sistema commerciale giusto,
chiediamo ai governi di negoziare un accordo legalmente vincolante per
assicurare che le imprese siano ritenute democraticamente responsabili
per la loro condotta e riguardo gli impatti sociali, economici ed
ambientali, compreso il ruolo che alcune giocano nel sostenere regimi
politici repressivi ed il commercio delle armi. Questo dovrebbe essere
fatto tramite le Nazioni Unite ed altre organizzazioni appropriate, con
la piena partecipazione della società civile.

Chiediamo inoltre alle organizzazioni della società civile ed
ai movimenti sociali di iniziare un dialogo globale della società
civile sullo sviluppo di un’alternativa, un quadro commerciale giusto e
sostenibile che rimpiazzi il modello neoliberista, uno che promuova
genuinamente uno sviluppo sostenibile fondato sui diritti e
nell’interesse delle persone.

Siamo impegnati per un sistema commerciale ecologicamente
sostenibile, socialmente giusto e democraticamente responsabile. Come
primo passo, quindi, chiediamo che i nostri governi implementino i
cambiamenti elencati in questo documento, in modo da bloccare ed
invertire il potere e l’autorità della Wto, e per invertire la
direzione del commercio e creare un sistema giusto. Ci impegniamo a
mobilitare le persone all’interno dei nostri paesi, regionalmente e
globalmente per lottare per queste richieste e per sfidare le politiche
ingiuste della Wto ed in generale del sistema commerciale

La scelta davanti a noi è chiara: o accettiamo l’attuale ordine
globale centrato sulle imprese e abbandoniamo il welfare delle prossime
generazioni ed il futuro stesso del pianeta, o raccogliamo la difficile
sfida di muoverci verso un nuovo sistema che metta al centro gli
interessi delle persone, delle comunità e dell’ambiente.

Categories: Planet Not For Sale

Declaración de unidad política de la Red ‘NUESTRO MUNDO NO ESTÁ EN VENTA’

Our World Is Not For Sale - 29 April, 2009 - 19:51
Currently accepting signatories:  Accept signatories



Declaración de unidad política de la Red


Introducción: nuestro desafío

‘Nuestro Mundo No Está en Venta’ es una red mundial de
organizaciones, activistas y movimientos sociales abocados a combatir
los acuerdos de comercio e inversiones que promueven la globalización
orientada por las transnacionales y benefician a las empresas más
poderosas del mundo a costa de los pueblos y el medio ambiente.

Contra ese proceso de globalización orientada por las
transnacionales, sostenemos la visión de una economía mundial fundada
en principios de justicia económica, sustentabilidad ecológica y
responsabilidad democrática –una economía que privilegie los intereses
de los pueblos y las personas antes que los de las empresas. Una
economía erigida en torno a los intereses de los verdaderos productores
y consumidores –trabajadores, campesinos, agricultores familiares,
pescadores artesanales, pequeños y medianos  productores—y las
necesidades de quienes se encuentran marginados por el sistema
imperante, como es el caso de las mujeres y los pueblos indígenas.

Creemos que un sistema justo debe proteger y no socavar la
diversidad cultural, biológica, económica y social; priorizar la
economía y el comercio local; salvaguardar los derechos ambientales,
culturales, sociales y laborales reconocidos internacionalmente;
restituir la soberanía y autodeterminación de los pueblos, y proteger
los procesos democráticos de toma decisiones a escala nacional y

A diferencia del conjunto de valores, prioridades y políticas del
mismo talle para todos impuesto por organismos internacionales como la
Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) y procesos internacionales de
solución de controversias comerciales que no son responsables ante
nadie, la democracia no es tan sólo la realización de elecciones, sino
un sistema de gobierno en el que el pueblo tiene el control de los
asuntos que afectan directamente la vida de la gente. Democracia
significa no estar sujeto a mecanismos de decisión velados, carentes de
transparencia y que no le rinden cuentas a nadie, tales como los
procesos de solución de controversias de la OMC. La democracia implica
que el pueblo asuma el control de las fuerzas que afectan directamente
la vida de la gente.

Desde su creación en 1995, la OMC ha sido promocionada como una
institución que traería mayor prosperidad, aumentaría el empleo,
reduciría la pobreza, disminuiría las desigualdades y fomentaría el
desarrollo sustentable en todo el mundo mediante la aplicación de más
“libre comercio”. Diez años después es innegable que la OMC ha tenido
efectos exactamente opuestos.

El régimen de intercambio comercial administrado por la OMC ha
demostrado ser profundamente hostil a cualquier tipo de medida
orientada a fomentar el desarrollo, aliviar la pobreza y contribuir a
asegurar la supervivencia humana y ecológica a escala local y mundial.
Amparadas tras el disfraz del “libre comercio”, las reglas de la OMC
son utilizadas para forzar la apertura de nuevos mercados y para
librarlos al control de las empresas transnacionales.

Al mismo tiempo, las grandes potencias comerciales han intentado
utilizar la OMC para promover y consolidar en manos de empresas
transnacionales el control de las actividades económicas y sociales en
esferas que trascienden el comercio, tales como el desarrollo, las
inversiones, la política de competencia, la prestación de servicios
sociales, la protección del medioambiente y la contratación pública o
compras del Estado.

La liberalización a gran escala en estas esferas obligará a los
países en desarrollo a renunciar a muchos de los instrumentos de
desarrollo económico que fueron utilizados por los países
industrializados para fortalecer sus economías y generar empleo. Es
más, las disposiciones vigentes en la OMC –así como las que se están
negociando actualmente en su seno—pueden efectivamente ‘perpetuar’ los
programas de “ajuste estructural” del Banco Mundial y el Fondo
Monetario Internacional tornándolos irreversibles.

De otra parte, los mecanismos de gobierno y toma de decisiones
utilizados en la OMC son célebres por su recurso a las amenazas, el
engaño y la manipulación, y por su falta de transparencia y el carácter
excluyente y antidemocrático de sus procesos.

Los efectos destructivos sociales, políticos y ambientales del
modelo neoliberal de globalización pro-empresarial son los que han
despertado resistencia creciente entre un espectro amplio de
organizaciones de la sociedad civil y movimientos sociales de todo el
mundo, incluso durante las Cumbres de la OMC en Seattle, Doha, Cancún
y  Hong Kong.

Nuestro Mundo No Está en Venta forma parte de ese movimiento mundial de resistencia.

Diez años después de su creación, ha quedado en evidencia que la
posibilidad de conseguir que la OMC se encamine en dirección a un
programa de reformas positivas es mínima, si no nula. Es absolutamente
necesario cambiar. El sistema imperante hoy en día es tal que:

  • se están perdiendo empleos y medios de vida, los derechos
    humanos están amenazados, se ha saqueado el medioambiente y los
    sistemas democráticos están debilitados;
  • se está socavando a las economías locales y nacionales; y
    los trabajadores, campesinos, agricultores familiares, consumidores,
    mujeres y pueblos indígenas son quienes resultan más desfavorecidos y
  • a los gobiernos se les está restando capacidad –y a veces
    incluso se les está privando de ella—para garantizar el acceso a los
    medios esenciales de vida, para promover la salud, la seguridad y la
    soberanía alimentaria y para proteger la diversidad cultural y

Los resultados negativos del sistema económico mundial imperante
están dando impulso a movimientos democráticos en todo el mundo que
reclaman cambios a través de las urnas y la movilización callejera. Las
autoridades electas de muchos países han perdido la fe en el sistema
actual de gobernanza económica mundial. Cada vez con mayor frecuencia,
algunos de los economistas y tecnócratas que crearon y respaldaron este
sistema están empezando a cuestionarlo, ya que los resultados han
demostrado ser casi antagónicos a lo prometido. Todo esto ocurre en un
contexto de desigualdad creciente –tanto entre las naciones como dentro
de cada país—y de resurgimiento del militarismo.

Tenemos que oponer resistencia y rechazar las pretensiones de la OMC
de liberalización forzosa del comercio mundial según modalidades
nocivas para la justicia económica, el bienestar social, la equidad de
género y la sustentabilidad ecológica. Es imperativo restringir el
poder y la autoridad de la OMC y hacerla retroceder de muchas esferas
en las que se ha impuesto forzosamente como en la agricultura, los
servicios y los derechos de propiedad intelectual.

Al mismo tiempo, para evitar el panorama cada vez más recurrente de
catástrofe social y ecológica, tenemos que crear nuevas instituciones
para facilitar el comercio, la producción y la distribución para el
bien común.

Necesitamos reemplazar el régimen actual de comercio –del que forman
parte tanto la OMC como otros acuerdos regionales y tratados
bilaterales de comercio e inversiones—con un nuevo sistema de comercio
socialmente justo y ecológicamente sustentable para el siglo XXI.

Nuestras metas

Desde 1998, los miembros de la red Nuestro Mundo No Está en Venta
han cooperado entre sí compartiendo análisis, diseñando estrategias y
coordinando acciones a escala internacional con el fin de fomentar el
desarrollo de economías alternativas, justas y sustentables.

Dedicamos nuestros esfuerzos al desarrollo de un nuevo sistema de
comercio sometido al control democrático, que contribuya al avance de
la justicia económica, el bienestar social, la equidad de género y la
sustentabilidad ecológica, y que provea empleo digno y los bienes y
servicios necesarios para todas las personas.

Apoyamos el desarrollo de economías locales vibrantes y los derechos
de los trabajadores, campesinos, migrantes, agricultores familiares,
consumidores, mujeres y pueblos indígenas. Consideramos que la
autodeterminación de los pueblos no debe estar subordinada a
compromisos comerciales internacionales. Entre otras cosas, eso
requiere que los procesos y mecanismos de decisión y ejecución a todos
los niveles de gobierno sean democráticos, transparentes e incluyentes.

Reconocemos que un sistema de comercio internacional socialmente
justo tiene que darle prioridad a los derechos y bienestar de los
trabajadores, campesinos, migrantes y agricultores familiares que
producen nuestros bienes, servicios y alimentos.

Exigimos que los gobiernos y las agencias internacionales cesen su
embestida contra los derechos fundamentales de los trabajadores, que
desistan de anular las conquistas logradas por la lucha de los
trabajadores, que frenen el debilitamiento de la seguridad laboral y la
nivelación hacia abajo de los salarios, y reclamamos que fortalezcan
los derechos de los trabajadores en todo el mundo.

Nos oponemos a los acuerdos y negociaciones de liberalización
comercial que privan a las comunidades indígenas y locales del acceso a
los recursos naturales de los que dependen para su supervivencia,
garantizándoselo en cambio a las empresas.

Es también imprescindible que se respeten, fomenten y ejerzan otros
derechos humanos fundamentales, empezando por la autodeterminación de
los pueblos indígenas y la dotación pública y acceso universal a
servicios sociales básicos como la educación, la salud, el agua potable
para uso humano y la seguridad y soberanía alimentaria.

La integridad ecológica tiene que ser asimismo una meta de un
sistema mundial de comercio transformado. Eso implica, entre otras
cosas, que se tiene que regular el comercio y las inversiones de manera
tal que se revierta el recalentamiento de la Tierra; los acuerdos
multilaterales sobre medioambiente tienen que gozar de primacía frente
a los acuerdos comerciales; no se puede permitir que los acuerdos
comerciales arrastren y nivelen hacia abajo las normas ambientales; el
derecho de las personas y los pueblos a rechazar los organismos
genéticamente modificados tiene que respetarse, al igual que el derecho
a preservar las semillas diversas de los agricultores y los bosques
primarios, y promover el bienestar animal.

Qué nos proponemos

Apuntalar el derecho de elección de los pueblos: autodeterminación, democracia y desarrollo

Reafirmamos el derecho fundamental de todos los países a
ejecutar políticas económicas y productivas que fortalezcan el
desarrollo económico genuino, generen empleos dignos y protejan los
medios de vida y vigoricen el medioambiente. Todos los países, y
particularmente los más empobrecidos, tienen que gozar del derecho a
optar por la aplicación de políticas (tales como las disposiciones
relativas al ‘contenido nacional’) que apunten a incrementar la
capacidad de sus propios sectores productivos, especialmente las
pequeñas y medianas empresas. Los países deben asimismo conservar la
capacidad (o espacio político) para modelar estrategias económicas y
ambientales de desarrollo al servicio de los sectores más vulnerables
de su población. El envión en pos de la “coherencia” entre las
instituciones internacionales se ha convertido en un medio para denegar
ese espacio político: el Fondo Monetario Internacional, el Banco
Mundial y algunos países donantes obligan a los gobiernos a aplicar
políticas neoliberales mientras que la OMC y otros acuerdos de comercio
e inversiones las perpetúan tornándolas irreversibles.
Por ello:

  • Nuestro Mundo No Está en Venta exige el fin de
    las prácticas secretas y coercitivas que se han transformado en el
    sello distintivo de las negociaciones comerciales, especialmente en la
    OMC, donde un puñado de gobiernos poderosos –actuando a menudo en
    nombre de sus elites empresariales—coaccionan a otros gobiernos más
    débiles para alcanzar sus objetivos.
  • Hay que impedir que los aranceles aduaneros y
    otras medidas comerciales sean desmantelados, dejando las economías
    locales y nacionales –en particular aquellas de los países más
    empobrecidos y/o los sectores económicos más débiles—libradas a la
    merced de las empresas transnacionales y poniendo en riesgo el
    desarrollo económico local y nacional, las leyes y normas laborales, el
    medioambiente y la salud pública y de los consumidores.
  • No podemos permitir que las negociaciones de
    “libre comercio” en la OMC y otras instancias continúen funcionando
    cual caballo de Troya para garantizarle reglas favorables a las
    empresas en materia de inversiones, política de competencia,
    contratación pública y compras del Estado, acceso al mercado,
    producción agropecuaria, reglamentación nacional de los servicios y
    derechos de propiedad intelectual. Tampoco se puede permitir que siga
    rigiendo la dinámica actual de fuerzas según la cual los países ricos
    industrializados le imponen su agenda económica de prioridades a los
    países más empobrecidos.
  • Hay que impedir que los ajustes estructurales y
    las condicionalidades de la deuda sigan usándose para imponerle la
    liberalización del comercio a los países del tercer mundo y otros. Es
    imprescindible que el Fondo Monetario Internacional, el Banco Mundial y
    los bancos regionales de desarrollo anulen todas las deudas que aún
    mantienen con ellos los países en desarrollo y en transición, de manera
    tal que estos puedan reasignar esos fondos a la satisfacción de las
    necesidades apremiantes de su población.

Garantizar la primacía de los derechos sociales y el medioambiente

Sostenemos que proteger y extender los derechos sociales,
satisfacer las necesidades básicas y proteger nuestro medioambiente es
esencial para la vida. Es inadmisible que las reglas de la OMC y de
otros acuerdos de ‘comercio’ los socaven.
Por ello:

  • Ningún acuerdo comercial o de inversiones debe
    socavar o tener primacía sobre los acuerdos internacionales que
    promueven la justicia social, económica y ambiental, entre ellos, mas
    no exclusivamente:
    • la Declaración
      de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT) relativa a los
      Principios y Derechos Fundamentales en el trabajo (que abarca los
      cuatro derechos laborales fundamentales);
    • el Convenio sobre la Diversidad Biológica y su Protocolo de Bioseguridad y otros acuerdos multilaterales sobre el medioambiente;
    • la
      Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos y los convenios a ella
      asociados en el marco de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU):
      el Pacto Internacional de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y culturales; y
      el Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos;
    • el proyecto de Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de las Poblaciones Indígenas;
    • la Convención sobre la Eliminación de todas las Formas de Discriminación Contra la Mujer; y
    • la Convención Internacional sobre la Protección de los Derechos de todos los Trabajadores Migratorios y de sus Familiares.
  • Los gobiernos deben conservar el derecho
    soberano a determinar cómo regulan sus servicios de manera tal que se
    satisfagan las necesidades de su población, su economía y sociedad y
    que se honren sus demás obligaciones internacionales y
    constitucionales, entre ellas aquellas de cara a las mujeres, los
    pueblos indígenas, los jóvenes y niños, los adultos mayores y los
  • El derecho de los gobiernos a aplicar el
    principio de precaución con el fin de proteger la salud pública, el
    medioambiente y la agricultura frente a riesgos desconocidos tiene que
    primar sobre cualquier acuerdo o disposición comercial.
  • Es imperativo evitar cualquier recorte
    arancelario que perjudique al medioambiente y el desarrollo sustentable
    como resultado del crecimiento inadecuado del comercio de recursos
    naturales y otros bienes sensibles desde el punto de vista ambiental.
  • Hay que frenar el debilitamiento de la ONU a
    manos de las pro-empresariales instituciones de Bretton Woods (Banco
    Mundial y FMI), la OMC y las grandes potencias, y fortalecer el sistema
    de acuerdos y agencias de Naciones Unidas.

Proteger los servicios esenciales

Adherimos al principio fundamental de que ningún acuerdo
comercial o de inversiones debe vulnerar el derecho soberano de los
gobiernos a garantizar el acceso de la población a los bienes
esenciales para la vida, y a promover la salud y bienestar de sus
pueblos  y proteger el medioambiente.
Por ello:

  • No se debe presionar a los países a aceptar
    reglas de comercio que coarten el ejercicio de esa soberanía, ya sea a
    través de la OMC y su Acuerdo General sobre el Comercio de Servicios
    (AGCS o GATS, por su sigla en inglés) o a través de otros acuerdos
    regionales o bilaterales. 
  • Es imprescindible excluir explícitamente de
    todos los acuerdos de comercio e inversiones a  todos aquellos sectores
    directamente asociados a dichos servicios esenciales, entre ellos los
    de salud, educación, cultura audiovisual, asistencia social, agua
    potable y energía.
  • Las reglas relativas a la reglamentación
    nacional, los subsidios y la contratación pública de servicios
    obstaculizan por su propia naturaleza el ejercicio de ese derecho
    soberano, y no se las debería incluir en los acuerdos de comercio e

Hoy en día se está ejerciendo muchísima presión sobre los países
para que sometan sus servicios esenciales a las reglas del AGCS cuyo
efecto es promover las privatizaciones. Por otra parte, cuando un país
que es o ha sido víctima de la desregulación y privatización de sus
servicios esenciales en cumplimiento de las exigencias de “ajuste
estructural”, asume compromisos con arreglo a las reglas del AGCS,
dichas reglas sirven para perpetuar esas privatizaciones tornándolas
irreversibles. El AGCS fomenta de ese modo la apertura de los mercados
nacionales y el ingreso de empresas transnacionales, y promueve así el
avance del modelo económico neoliberal.
Por ello:

  • Es imperativo retraer esas exigencias de ajuste
    estructural, no perpetuarlas, y hay que impedir que los nuevos
    préstamos o donaciones a los países sean condicionados al cumplimiento
    de dichas exigencias, del mismo modo que hay que objetar que se
    presione a los países para que sometan sus servicios esenciales a las
    reglas del AGCS.

Defender el conocimiento, la cultura y las formas de vida como esencia de la civilización

Consideramos el conocimiento, la cultura y la educación como
fuerzas motrices de la civilización que no pueden ser reducidas a meras
mercancías comerciables o propiedad privada.

No existe ningún fundamento legítimo para la inclusión de
reclamos de propiedad intelectual en un acuerdo de comercio. Más aún,
todos los países tienen la responsabilidad y la obligación de proteger
la salud pública y el bienestar de sus ciudadanos. Las reglas de
propiedad intelectual vigentes en los acuerdos comerciales, tales como
el acuerdo de la OMC sobre los Aspectos de los Derechos de Propiedad
Intelectual relacionados con el Comercio ( ADPIC), obstruyen el acceso
de los pueblos a medicamentos vitales, semillas y otros bienes
esenciales, conducen a la destrucción de la biodiversidad y la
apropiación privada de los seres vivos y el conocimiento tradicional.
Además le impiden a los países empobrecidos elevar sus niveles de
bienestar económico y social y defender su singularidad identitaria y
su patrimonio.
Por ello:

  • Los gobiernos deben conservar el derecho irrestricto a
    limitar los derechos de propiedad que confieren las patentes, a fin de
    proteger el interés público y el bien común en esas esferas,
    especialmente con relación a los medicamentos, las semillas y los seres
    vivos y sus partes.
  • El patentamiento  de formas de vida, incluso
    microorganismos, tiene que prohibirse en todas las legislaciones
    nacionales e internacionales.
  • Tenemos que defender la diversidad cultural genuina contra
    el impacto homogenizador de los mercados mundiales y los monopolios del
    conocimiento, la tecnología y las telecomunicaciones.

Preservar y extender la seguridad y soberanía alimentaria

Sostenemos que el derecho a la alimentación es un derecho humano
fundamental. El Acuerdo Agrícola de la OMC subordina este derecho al
lucro empresarial. La OMC fomenta un sistema alimentario fundado en una
agricultura industrializada de exportación e intensiva en inversión de
capital, que está profundizando la concentración empresarial a lo largo
de toda la cadena alimentaria a la vez que socava el sustento, los
derechos, la salud y las condiciones de vida y laborales de los
trabajadores agrícolas y de la alimentación, minando así aún más la
seguridad alimentaria.

Además no admite ni reconoce que la agricultura es un modo de
vida y un cimiento importante de la comunidad y la cultura. En
consecuencia, sus políticas y aquellas de otros acuerdos comerciales
alientan una concentración mayor y acrecientan el poder de las empresas
transnacionales y provocan la expulsión de millones de campesinos,
agricultores familiares y trabajadores agrícolas que son despojados de
sus tierras y excluidos de la producción en los países del Norte y del
Sur. Desde que se iniciaron los programas de “ajuste estructural” y se
creó la OMC, muchos campesinos, agricultores familiares y trabajadores
agrícolas han sido desplazados de la tierra y sufrido hambre, empujando
a muchos de ellos al suicidio debido a la liberalización de la
agricultura mediante recortes arancelarios, la abolición de las
restricciones cuantitativas y la aplicación de políticas nacionales
agropecuarias inequitativas. Al mismo tiempo, muchos subsidios que
benefician al agronegocio –incluso a la agricultura industrial de
exportación—se  han incrementado en lugar que recortado.

Por otra parte, mientras estas reglas le permiten a las empresas
comercializadoras crecientemente poderosas presionar hacia abajo los
precios que se le paga a los agricultores de todo el mundo por sus
productos, la concentración de la distribución y procesamiento de
alimentos alentada por las reglas de la OMC para la agricultura y los
servicios han llevado a un aumento de los precios al consumidor. 
Por ello:

  • Para evitar una escalada mayor de hambre,
    desplazados y muertes, es imperativo que se emprendan acciones
    inmediatamente para restringir las políticas agrícolas, de comercio e
    inversiones que estimulan la superproducción crónica, y prohibir eldumpingde
    productos agrícolas en los mercados mundiales a precios por debajo del
    costo de producción, practicado por las grandes empresas
    transnacionales agroalimentarias y otros agentes que intervienen en el
    comercio mundial agropecuario. Hay que prohibir los subsidios directos
    e indirectos a las exportaciones que conducen aldumping. Los países deben conservar y  reafirmar su derecho soberano a proteger sus mercados y sectores agrícolas contra eldumping,
    y poder así aplicar medidas que activa y efectivamente brinden apoyo a
    la producción sustentable fundada en la agricultura familiar y

  • Es preciso tomar medidas que
    fomenten y protejan la soberanía alimentaria de los pueblos (el derecho
    de los pueblos y las comunidades a definir sus propias políticas
    alimentarias y agrícolas, así como el derecho a producir sus alimentos
    básicos de forma tal que se respete la diversidad cultural y productiva
    y se apoye la producción campesina y la agricultura familiar), la
    inocuidad de los alimentos y la seguridad alimentaria (tanto de los
    consumidores como de los productores). 

  • Las
    medidas que sólo competen a la producción para el consumo nacional y
    que no contribuyen a incrementar las exportaciones a mercados
    internacionales deben quedar eximidas de cualquier acuerdo
    internacional de comercio. Hay que impedir que el sistema de comercio
    socave el sustento de los campesinos, agricultores familiares,
    trabajadores agrícolas, pescadores artesanales y pueblos indígenas.

  • Consideramos
    que el ejercicio de la soberanía y seguridad alimentaria y el
    desarrollo de una agricultura sustentable de base familiar y campesina,
    le exige a los gobiernos reconocer la imperfección y fallas de los
    principios de libre comercio que fundamentan tanto la teoría de
    ventajas comparativas percibidas, como el desarrollo de la agricultura
    orientada a la exportación y las políticas de “ajuste estructural”; y
    que sustituyan esas políticas por otras que le den prioridad y protejan
    a la producción local, de subsistencia y sustentable, utilizando a tal
    efecto medidas de control a las importaciones y reglas que garanticen
    métodos de producción sustentable más equitativos.

  • Para
    garantizar el logro de estos objetivos se requerirán diversos acuerdos,
    probablemente entre ellos una convención sobre soberanía alimentaria y
    agricultura sustentable, y una declaración sobre los derechos de los
    agricultores campesinos y familiares. Con su enfoque actual de
    liberalización del comercio a cualquier costo, ni la OMC ni ningún otro
    “tratado de libre comercio” son en última instancia el lugar adecuado
    para tales reglas, razón por la cual se debe fortalecer otros espacios
    alternativos para discutirlas.

Frenar la globalización orientada por las transnacionales y promover la justicia en el comercio

Las reglas de comercio de la OMC, así como las que emanan de muchos
otros acuerdos comerciales regionales vigentes o actualmente en
negociación, promueven el poder corporativo de las grandes empresas en
la economía mundial proporcionándoles nuevos derechos de protección a
las inversiones, de propiedad intelectual y otros. Al mismo tiempo,
esas reglas perpetúan las políticas neoliberales de privatización y
desregulación tornándolas irreversibles. Todo esto está disfrazado de
“libre comercio”. Este desequilibrio de poder sirve y promueve los
intereses económicos mezquinos de algunos pocos gigantes de la economía
mundial, a menudo con efectos devastadores para las economías locales y
nacionales, particularmente en los países en desarrollo.

Este poder empresarial corporativo se está fortaleciendo a través de
tratados y acuerdos regionales y bilaterales de comercio e inversiones,
cuyas reglas poderosas promueven derechos corporativos para las
empresas y constituyen una seria amenaza a la autoridad gubernamental
democrática nacional. De conformidad con algunos acuerdos, de hecho,
las empresas extranjeras pueden ahora demandar a los gobiernos
nacionales por “lucro cesante” si cualquier ley o reglamentación del
país reduce sus ganancias actuales o futuras. Los derechos ambientales,
laborales y sociales quedan todos subordinados al derecho de las
empresas a lucrar. Es imprescindible revertir esta tendencia.

Habiendo frustrado con éxito el Acuerdo Multilateral de Inversiones
(AMI) que hubiera consagrado tales derechos empresariales corporativos,
reclamamos que se le ponga fin a la artimaña empresarial de fomento a
la expansión rápida y aventurada de acuerdos regionales y bilaterales
de comercio e inversiones como estrategia para apuntalar a la OMC
desfalleciente. Asimismo exigimos el cese de cualesquier reglas de
comercio que garanticen el derecho de  las empresas a lucrar sometiendo
a las políticas regulatorias nacionales a demandas y reclamos de
indemnización pagaderos con fondos públicos.

Para empezar a movernos hacia un sistema justo de comercio,
exhortamos a los gobiernos a negociar un acuerdo vinculante que
garantice que las empresas rindan cuenta democráticamente de sus actos
y sus impactos sociales, económicos y ambientales, incluso del papel
que algunas juegan en apoyo a regímenes represivos y el comercio de
armas. Este acuerdo debe negociarse a través de la ONU  y otros
organismos especializados, con participación plena de la sociedad civil.

De otra parte, convocamos a las organizaciones y movimientos de la
sociedad civil a emprender un diálogo mundial de la sociedad civil
tendiente a desarrollar un sistema de comercio alternativo, justo y
sustentable en sustitución del modelo neoliberal –un sistema que
promueva genuinamente un desarrollo sustentable favorable a los pueblos
y fundado en sus derechos básicos, y que ponga en primer lugar a las

Estamos abocados a la construcción de un sistema de comercio
sometido al control democrático, ecológicamente sustentable y
socialmente justo. Por lo tanto, como primer paso, exigimos que
nuestros gobiernos implementen los cambios enumerados en este documento
con vistas a restringir y revertir el poder y la autoridad de la OMC y
reorientar el comercio para crear un sistema justo. Nos comprometemos a
movilizar a la población de nuestros países, en las distintas regiones
y en todo el mundo para luchar por estas demandas y combatir las
políticas injustas de la OMC y el sistema general de comercio

Las opciones que tenemos son tajantes: o aceptamos el orden mundial
imperante centrado en las empresas e hipotecamos el bienestar de las
generaciones venideras y el futuro mismo del planeta, o asumimos el
difícil desafío de encaminarnos hacia un sistema nuevo centrado en las
necesidades de los pueblos, las comunidades y el medioambiente.

Categories: Planet Not For Sale

Une déclaration d’unité du réseau NOTRE MONDE N’EST PAS À VENDRE

Our World Is Not For Sale - 29 April, 2009 - 19:42
Currently accepting signatories:  Accept signatories


Une déclaration d’unité du réseau



Notre monde n’est pas à vendre est un réseau mondial d'organismes, d'activistes et de mouvements sociaux qui s'opposent aux ententes commerciales et aux accords d'investissement qui favorisent les intérêts des sociétés les plus puissantes du monde au détriment des personnes et de l’environnement.
La vision que nous opposons à ce processus de mondialisation par les entreprises est celle d’une économie mondiale construite sur les principes de la justice économique, de la durabilité écologique et de la responsabilisation en démocratie, dans laquelle les intérêts des personnes sont plus
importants que ceux des sociétés. Il s’agit d’une économie articulée
autour des intérêts des vrais producteurs et des consommateurs, comme
les travailleurs, les paysans, les familles agricoles, les pêcheurs,
les petits et moyens producteurs; une économie pour les besoins des
personnes marginalisées par le système en place, comme les femmes et
les autochtones.

Nous croyons qu’un système juste ne doit pas affaiblir mais
protéger la diversité culturelle, biologique, économique et sociale;
qu’il doit privilégier le développement des économies et des activités
commerciales locales saines; qu’il doit assurer les droits
environnementaux, culturels, sociaux et du travail qui sont reconnus à
l’échelle mondiale; qu’il doit soutenir la souveraineté et
l’auto-détermination des peuples et protéger les processus
démocratiques nationaux et sous-nationaux de décision.

La démocratie n'est pas simplement une question de tenir des
élections. La démocratie signifie ne pas avoir à récolter le moins bon
d’une série de valeurs, de priorités et de politiques uniques imposées
par des organismes multilatéraux comme l’Organisation mondiale du
commerce (OMC). La démocratie signifie ne pas se faire imposer des
processus de décision qui ne sont pas transparents ni imputables, comme
les processus de règlement des différends de l'OMC. La démocratie
signifie que les personnes prennent le contrôle de forces qui ont une
incidence directe sur leur vie.

Le préambule de l’établissement de l’OMC en 1995 déclarait que
l'organisme avait pour objet d'augmenter la prospérité, d'accroître
l'emploi, de réduire la pauvreté, de diminuer l'inégalité et de
promouvoir le développement durable autour du monde en augmentant le
« libre-échange ». Dix ans plus tard, il est clair que l’OMC a échoué
et produit des résultats complètement opposés.

Le régime commercial de l’OMC a neutralisé des mesures qui
favoriseraient le développement, soulageraient la pauvreté et
aideraient à assurer la survie humaine et écologique, à l’échelle
locale et mondiale. Sous prétexte de « libre-échange », les règles de
l’OMC servent à forcer l’ouverture de nouveaux marchés et à les placer
sous le contrôle des sociétés transnationales.

En outre, les grands pouvoirs commerciaux ont utilisé l'OMC pour
promouvoir et consolider le contrôle transnational des activités
économiques et sociales par les sociétés dans d’autres secteurs que le
commerce, notamment dans le développement, l'investissement, la
compétition, les droits de propriété intellectuelle, la prestation des
services sociaux, la protection de l’environnement et les marchés

La libéralisation à grande échelle dans ces secteurs va forcer les
pays en développement à renoncer à un grand nombre des outils de
développement économique que les pays industrialisés ont utilisé pour
construire leurs économies et créer des emplois. De plus, les
dispositions existantes de l'OMC, comme celles qui sont en train d'être
négociées, auraient pour effet de « perpétuer » les « programmes
d'ajustement structurel » de la Banque mondiale et du Fonds monétaire

De plus, en favorisant les intérêts des grandes puissances
commerciales, les méthodes de gouvernance et de décision qui sont
utilisées à l’OMC sont notoires pour être fondées sur la menace, la
tromperie, la manipulation et le manque de transparence dans un
processus non démocratique et non inclusif.
Ce sont les conséquences sociales, politiques et environnementales
destructrices du modèle pro-entreprise et néo-libéral de mondialisation
qui ont suscité la résistance croissante d’une vaste gamme d’organismes
de la société civile et de mouvements sociaux du monde, y compris aux
sommets de l’OMC à Seattle, Doha, Cancun et Hong Kong.

« Notre monde n’est pas à vendre » fait partie de cette résistance mondiale.

Dix ans après la fondation de l’OMC, il nous est devenu clair que
les possibilités de voir l’OMC bouger dans le sens de réformes
positives sont minimales, sinon inexistantes. Le changement est
absolument nécessaire. Le système en place crée la situation suivante :

  • les moyens de subsistance sont détruits, les droits de la
    personne ne sont pas respectés, la santé publique est mise en danger,
    l'environnement est pillé et les systèmes démocratiques sont érodés;

  • les
    économies locales sont affaiblies et les travailleurs, les paysans, les
    familles agricoles, les pêcheurs, les consommateurs, les femmes et les
    autochtones sont particulièrement désavantagés et exploités;

  • la
    capacité du gouvernement de garantir l’accès aux nécessités de la vie,
    de promouvoir la santé, la sécurité et la souveraineté alimentaires et
    de protéger la diversité culturelle et biologique est affaiblie et
    parfois éradiquée.

Autour du monde, les résultats négatifs du système
économique mondial courant poussent les mouvements démocratiques – par
le vote et dans la rue – à exiger du changement. Les élus de nombreux
pays ont perdu foi envers le système courant de gouvernance économique
mondiale. De plus en plus d’économistes et de technocrates qui ont créé
et embrassé ce système commencent à le remettre en question parce qu’il
donne des résultats tout à fait opposés à ceux qui étaient promis. Tout
cela se produit dans le contexte de la croissance de l’inégalité entre
les nations et à l'intérieur d'entre elles et de la résurgence du
Il faut contrer les efforts de l’OMC qui cherche à
imposer la libéralisation du commerce mondial d’une façon qui nuit à la
justice économique, au mieux-être social, à l’égalité des sexes et à la
durabilité écologique. Il faut réduire son pouvoir et son autorité dans
de nombreux secteurs où ils ont été imposés, y compris l’agriculture,
les services et les droits de propriété intellectuelle. 

En même temps, nous devons concevoir de nouvelles
institutions pour faciliter le commerce, la production et la
distribution pour le bien commun si nous voulons éviter la possibilité
croissante de la catastrophe sociale et écologique.

Le régime commercial courant, qui inclut l’OMC, en
plus des accords régionaux et bilatéraux de commerce et
d’investissement, doit céder la place à un cadre commercial nouveau,
socialement juste et écologiquement durable pour le 21e siècle.


Depuis 1998, les membres du réseau OWINFS ont combiné
leurs forces pour partager des analyses, élaborer des stratégies et
coordonner des actions à l'échelle internationale afin de promouvoir le
développement de nouvelles économies, justes et durables.

Nous nous sommes engagés à élaborer un nouveau système
de commerce qui comporte l'obligation de rendre compte en démocratie et
qui préconise la justice économique, le mieux-être social, l’égalité
des sexes et la durabilité écologique, et qui offre des emplois décents
et les biens et les services dont tout le monde a besoin.

Nous appuyons le développement d’économies locales
dynamiques et le respect des droits des travailleurs, des paysans, des
migrants, des familles agricoles, des consommateurs, des femmes et des
autochtones.  Nous croyons que l’auto-détermination des peuples ne doit
pas être subordonnée aux engagement commerciaux internationaux. Cela
exige entre autres choses que les processus de décision et
d'application à tous les niveaux de gouvernance soient démocratiques,
transparents et inclusifs.

Nous reconnaissons qu’un système commercial
international socialement juste doit accorder la priorité aux droits et
au bien-être des travailleurs, des paysans, des migrants, des pêcheurs
et des familles agricoles qui produisent nos biens, nos services et nos

Nous demandons aux gouvernements et aux organismes
multilatéraux de ne plus attaquer les droits fondamentaux des
travailleurs, de cesser d’essayer de reprendre aux travailleurs les
gains qu'ils ont obtenus en luttant, de ne plus affaiblir la sécurité
d'emploi, de mettre un terme à la course vers les salaires les plus bas
et de renforcer les droits des travailleurs du monde entier.

Nous nous opposons aux accords de libéralisation du
commerce et aux négociations qui veulent priver les collectivités
autochtones et locales de l'accès aux ressources naturelles dont elles
ont besoin pour subsister, afin de mieux le procurer aux entreprises.

Il faut également faire respecter d’autres droits
fondamentaux, les promouvoir et les réaliser, en commençant par
l'auto-détermination des peuples autochtones et la prestation des
services sociaux de base comme l'éducation, la sécurité et la
souveraineté alimentaires, l'accès universel à l'eau propre pour les
êtres humains et la santé publique.

L’intégrité écologique doit aussi être l’un des
objectifs d’un système de commerce mondial transformé. Cela signifie
notamment qu’il faut réglementer le commerce et les investissements des
sociétés afin de renverser le réchauffement de la planète; il faut que
les accords environnementaux multilatéraux l’emportent sur les accords
commerciaux; les normes environnementales ne doivent pas être
affaiblies par les accords commerciaux; il faut respecter le droit des
personnes de rejeter les organismes génétiquement modifiés, préserver
les vieilles forêts et la diversité des collections de semence des
agriculteurs et promouvoir le bien-être des animaux.


Soutenir le droit des peuples de choisir : auto-détermination, démocratie et développement

Nous réaffirmons le droit fondamental des pays d’élaborer des
politiques économiques et industrielles qui favorisent le véritable
développement économique, créent des emplois décents, protègent les
moyens de subsistance et améliorent l'environnement.
Tous les
pays, et particulièrement les pays les plus pauvres, doivent avoir le
droit d’utiliser des politiques (comme des politiques sur le contenu
local) afin d’accroître la capacité de leurs propres secteurs de
production, particulièrement les petites et les moyennes entreprises.
pays doivent aussi préserver leur capacité (« espace politique »)
d’élaborer des stratégies de développement économique, social et
environnemental qui servent leurs plus vulnérables.
recherche de la « cohérence » entre les institutions internationales
est devenue une façon de rejeter cet espace politique :
Fonds monétaire international, la Banque mondiale et certains pays
donateurs individuels forcent les gouvernements à mettre en oeuvre des
politiques néo-libérales que l'OMC et les autres accords commerciaux et
sur l'investissement perpétuent.
Par conséquent :  

  • « Notre monde n’est pas à vendre » exige qu’on mette
    un terme aux pratiques secrètes et coercitives qui sont devenues la
    marque des négociations commerciales, particulièrement à l'OMC, où
    quelques gouvernements puissants, agissant souvent au nom de leurs
    élites corporatives, sont capables de contraindre les gouvernements
    plus faibles à réaliser leurs objectifs.

  • Il
    ne faut pas que le démantèlement des tarifs et certaines mesures
    commerciales mettent les économies locales, particulièrement celles des
    pays les plus pauvres, ou des secteurs économiques les plus pauvres, ou
    les deux, à la merci des sociétés transnationales; cela ne doit pas
    menacer le développement économique local, les lois et les normes du
    travail, la santé et la sécurité publique et des consommateurs, et

  • Il ne faut pas non plus
    que les négociations du « libre-échange » à l’OMC et ailleurs soient un
    cheval de Troie qui permet aux sociétés d’obtenir des règles en leur
    faveur sur l’investissement, la compétition, les marchés publics,
    l’accès aux marchés, la production agricole, la réglementation
    domestique des services et les droits de propriété intellectuelle. Il
    ne faut plus que la dynamique du pouvoir permette aux pays
    industrialisés riches d’imposer leur programme économique aux pays

  • Les recours à l’ajustement
    structurel et à la conditionnalité de la dette pour imposer la
    libéralisation du commerce dans les pays du tiers monde et ailleurs
    doivent cesser. Le Fonds monétaire international, la Banque mondiale et
    les banques régionales de développement doivent radier toutes les
    dettes des pays en développement/transition envers eux afin de
    permettre à ces pays de réaffecter ces fonds de façon à répondre aux
    besoins urgents de leurs citoyens.

Faire avancer la primauté des droits sociaux et de l’environnement

Nous croyons qu'il est essentiel pour la vie de protéger les
droits sociaux et de les faire avancer, de répondre aux besoins
fondamentaux et de protéger notre environnement.
Il est inacceptable que les règles de l’OMC et des autres accords « commerciaux » affaiblissent cela. Par conséquent :

  • Aucun accord commercial et d’investissement ne doit
    dominer ou affaiblir les accords internationaux qui favorisent la
    justice sociale, économique et environnementale, incluant sans
    toutefois s’y limiter :

    • l’Organisation internationale du Travail (OIT), la Déclaration relative
      aux principes et droits fondamentaux au travail (couvrant les quatre
      principales normes du travail);

    • la
      Convention sur la diversité biologique et son Protocole sur la
      biosécurité et les autres accords multilatéraux sur l’environnement;

    • la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits de l’homme et ses
      conventions connexes : le Pacte international relatif aux droits
      économiques, sociaux et culturels et le Pacte international relatif aux
      droits civils et politiques;

    • la Déclaration anticipée des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones;

    • la Convention sur l'élimination de toutes les formes de discrimination à l'égard des femmes; et

    • la Convention internationale sur la protection des droits de tous les
      travailleurs migrants et des membres de leurs familles.

    • Les gouvernements
      doivent conserver le droit souverain de déterminer comment réglementer
      les services de façon à répondre aux besoins de leur peuple, de leur
      économie et de leur société, en honorant leurs autres obligations
      internationales et constitutionnelles, y compris à l'égard des femmes,
      des autochtones, des jeunes, des vieux et des pauvres.

  • Le
    droit des gouvernements d’adopter le principe de précaution pour
    protéger la santé publique, l'environnement et l'agriculture des
    risques inconnus doit l'emporter sur toutes les ententes et les
    dispositions commerciales.

  • Il ne doit pas y
    avoir de réductions tarifaires qui nuisent à l’environnement ou au
    développement durable en augmentant le commerce inapproprié des
    ressources naturelles et des autres biens écologiques.

  • Il
    faut stopper l’affaiblissement des Nations Unies par les institutions
    pro-entreprises créées en application des Accords de Bretton Woods, par
    l’OMC et par les grandes puissances et il faut renforcer le système des
    accords et des organismes des Nations Unies.

Protection des services essentiels

Nous adhérons au principe fondamental que les accords
commerciaux ou  d’investissement ne doivent pas enfreindre la
souveraineté des gouvernements de garantir l’accès aux éléments
essentiels de la vie, de promouvoir la santé et le bien-être de leurs
peuples et de protéger l’environnement.
Par conséquent :

  • Les pays ne doivent pas être pressés d’accepter des
    règles commerciales qui diminuent cette capacité, que ce soit par
    l'entremise de l'Accord général sur le commerce des services (GATS) de
    l'OMC ou d'ententes régionales ou bilatérales.

  • Les
    secteurs ayant directement trait à ces éléments essentiels, y compris
    la santé, l’éducation, le secteur culturel/audio-visuel, l’aide
    sociale, les services énergétiques et d’eau doivent être explicitement
    exclus de tous les accords commerciaux et d’investisssement. 

  • Les
    règles concernant la réglementation domestique, les subsides et
    l'acquisition des services par le gouvernement affectent cette capacité
    de par leur nature et ne doivent pas être incluses dans les accords
    commerciaux et d'investissement.

Les pays affrontent des pressions énormes pour les forcer à
assujettir leurs services essentiels aux règles du GATS qui ont pour
effet de promouvoir la privatisation. De plus, quand les engagements
établis en vertu de ces règles sont adoptés par les pays qui ont été ou
qui sont en train d’être déréglementés et dont les services essentiels
sont privatisés par l’entremise des « exigences d'ajustement structurel
», les règles du GATS servent à perpétuer la privatisation. Le GATS
favorise ainsi l’ouverture des marchés locaux aux sociétés
transnationales et l’avancement du modèle économique néo-libéral.
Par conséquent :

  • Il faut retirer ces « exigences d’ajustements structurels
    » et non les perpétuer, et elles  ne doivent pas être une condition que
    les pays doivent respecter pour recevoir des subventions ou des prêts
    nouveaux, et les pays ne devraient pas être pressés d’assujettir leurs
    services essentiels aux règles du GATS.

Défense de la connaissance, de la culture et des formes de vie comme l'essence de la civilisation

Nous voyons la connaissance, la culture et l’éducation comme les
moteurs de la civilisation. Ces moteurs ne peuvent être réduits en
biens commercialisables ou en propriété privée.

Il n’existe pas de base d’inclusion de telles dispositions de
propriété intellectuelle dans un accord commercial. De plus, toutes les
nations ont la responsabilité et l’obligation de protéger la santé
publique et le bien-être de leur peuple. Les règles courantes en
matière de propriété intellectuelle dans les pactes commerciaux, comme
l’Accord de l’OMC sur les aspects des droits de propriété
intellectuelle qui touchent au commerce, empêchent les personnes
d’avoir accès aux médicaments essentiels, aux semences et aux
nécessités de la vie, tout en donnant lieu à l’appropriation privée des
formes de vie et de la connaissance traditionnelle et à la destruction
de la biodiversité. Elles empêchent également les pays pauvres
d’améliorer leurs niveaux de bien-être économique et social et de
défendre leur identité et leur patrimoine particuliers. Par conséquent,

  • Les gouvernements doivent conserver leur droit absolu de
    limiter la protection conférée par brevet afin de protéger l’intérêt
    public dans ces secteurs, particulièrement en rapport avec les
    médicaments, les semences et les formes de vie.

  • Tous
    les régimes nationaux et internationaux doivent interdire le brevetage
    des formes de vie, y compris les micro-organismes. 

  • Il
    faut défendre la diversité culturelle authentique contre l’effet
    d’homogénéisation des marchés mondiaux et des monopoles sur la
    connaissance, la technologie et les télécommunications.

Préserver et faire avancer la souveraineté et la sécurité alimentaires

Nous affirmons que le droit à la nourriture est un droit humain fondamental. L’Accord sur l’agriculture de l’OMC subordonne ce droit à la rentabilité des sociétés.
Le système alimentaire de l'OMC est construit sur une agriculture
industrialisée et capitalisée, axée sur l’exportation qui élargit la
concentration des sociétés le long de la chaîne alimentaire et
affaiblit les moyens de subsistance, les droits, la santé et les
conditions de vie et de travail des travailleurs agricoles et de
l’alimentation, affaiblissant ainsi encore plus la sécurité

De plus, elles négligent de reconnaître que l’agriculture est un
mode de vie et une base importante de la communauté et de la culture. 
Ainsi, leurs politiques et celles des autres accords commerciaux
favorisent une concentration plus grande et une augmentation des
pouvoirs des sociétés transnationales et causent l’expulsion de
millions de paysans et de familles agricoles de leurs terres et de leur
production, dans les pays du Nord et du Sud. Depuis l’introduction des
« programmes d’ajustement structurel » et l’établissement de l’OMC, un
grand nombre de paysans, de familles agricoles et de travailleurs
agricoles ont dû quitter leurs terres et ont connu la faim, il y a eu
beaucoup de suicides, à cause de la libéralisation des importations par
l'entremise des réductions tarifaires, de l'abolition des restrictions
quantitatives et de l'iniquité des politiques agricoles nationales. En
même temps, un grand nombre de subventions destinées aux
agro-entreprises, y compris l'agriculture industrielle d'exportation,
ont augmenté plutôt que de diminuer.

Si ces règles permettent des entreprises commerciales
d’agro-alimentaires de plus en plus puissantes pour faire baisser les
prix des produits de base payés au agriculteurs du monde entier, la
concentration de la distribution et du traitement des aliments en vertu
des règles du secteur de l'agriculture et des services de l'OMC a donné
lieu à l'augmentation du prix des aliments pour les consommateurs.  Par
conséquent :

  • Pour éviter qu’on ait encore plus faim, que d’autres
    personnes soient expulsées de leur milieu de vie et que d’autres encore
    en meurent, il faut prendre des mesures immédiatement pour limiter les
    politiques agricoles, commerciales et d’investissement qui encouragent
    la surproduction chronique et interdire le dumping des marchandises
    agricoles sur les marchés mondiaux à un prix inférieur au coût de
    production par les sociétés alimentaires mondiales et les autres qui
    participent au commerce agricole mondial. Il faut interdire les
    subventions directes et indirectes des exportations qui donnent lieu au
    dumping. Les pays doivent conserver et réaffirmer leurs droits
    souverains de protéger leurs marchés et leurs secteurs agricoles du
    dumping afin de mettre en œuvre des mesures qui peuvent supporter
    efficacement et activement la production durable des paysans et des
    familles agricoles.

  • Il faut prendre des mesures pour
    promouvoir et protéger la souveraineté alimentaire des peuples (le
    droit des peuples et des communautés de définir leurs propres
    politiques alimentaires et agricoles, et leur droit de produire leurs
    aliments de base d’une façon qui respecte la diversité culturelle et
    productive et supporte la production durable par les paysans et les
    familles agricoles) et la sécurité alimentaire pour les consommateurs
    et les producteurs.

  • Les mesures qui concernent
    seulement la production pour la consommation domestique et qui ne
    contribuent pas à l’augmentation des exportations sur les marchés
    internationaux devraient être exemptées des accords commerciaux
    internationaux. Le système commercial ne doit pas affaiblir les moyens
    de vie des paysans, des familles agricoles, des travailleurs agricoles,
    des pêcheurs artisans et des autochtones.

  • Nous
    croyons que le développement de la souveraineté alimentaire, de la
    sécurité alimentaire et de l’agriculture durable basée sur la
    production des paysans et des familles agricoles exige que les
    gouvernements reconnaissent les failles des principes du « libre-marché
    » qui étayent les avantages comparatifs perçus, le développement
    agricole d’exportation et les « politiques d’ajustement structurel »;
    nous croyons qu’il faut remplacer ces politiques par d’autres qui
    accordent la priorité à la production locale durable et de subsistance,
    incluant l’utilisation de mécanismes de contrôle des importations et de
    réglementation qui assurent des méthodes de production plus équitables
    et durables.

  • Il faudra diverses ententes pour
    atteindre ces objectifs. Elles pourraient inclure une convention sur la
    souveraineté alimentaire et l’agriculture durable et une déclaration
    des droits des paysans et des familles agricoles. Au bout du compte,
    l’OMC et les autres accords de « libre-échange », qui sont concentrés
    actuellement sur la libéralisation du commerce à tout prix, ne sont pas
    des endroits appropriés pour de telles règles; par conséquent, il faut
    renforcer les autres espaces pour discuter de ces règles.

Stopper la mondialisation des entreprises et promouvoir le commerce équitable

règles commerciales de l’OMC, et celles de nombreux autres accords
commerciaux régionaux existants et en train d'être négociés, favorisent
le pouvoir des sociétés dans l'économie mondiale en fournissant de
nouveaux droits en matière d'investissement, de propriété
intellectuelle et autres. En même temps, elles perpétuent les
politiques néo-libérales de privatisation et de déréglementation. Tout
cela est fait sous prétexte de « libre-échange ». Ce déséquilibre des
pouvoirs favorise l'intérêt économique personnel de quelques géants
économiques mondiaux, en provoquant souvent des effets dévastateurs sur
les économies locales, particulièrement dans les pays en développement.

Et le pouvoir des sociétés augmente encore par
l’entremise des accords régionaux et bilatéraux sur le commerce et
l’investissement. Leurs règles puissantes favorisent les droits des
sociétés et menacent sérieusement le pouvoir démocratique local.
Certains accords permettent maintenant en fait aux sociétés étrangères
de poursuivre les gouvernements nationaux pour « pertes de profits » si
une loi ou un règlement du pays réduit leur rentabilité présente ou
future. Les droits environnementaux, sociaux et du travail cèdent tous
le pas au droit des entreprises de faire du profit. Il faut renverser
cette tendance.

Après avoir fait dérailler l'Accord multilatéral sur
l'investissement, qui aurait enchâssé de tels droits pour les sociétés,
nous réclamons la fin de la stratégie des entreprises qui consiste à
promouvoir l’expansion rapide et imprudente des accords régionaux et
bilatéraux sur le commerce et l’investissement qui essaient de
renforcer le pouvoir vacillant de l’OMC. Nous réclamons aussi la fin
des règles commerciales qui garantissent le droit de l’investisseur
étranger à un profit en exposant les politiques domestiques de
réglementation aux contestations des investisseurs et aux demandes
d’indemnisation par les fonds publics.
Pour commencer à nous
rapprocher d’un système de commerce juste, nous demandons aux
gouvernements de négocier une entente exécutoire pour assurer que les
sociétés sont tenues de rendre compte en démocratie des incidences
sociales, économiques et environnementales de leur conduite, y compris
le rôle que certaines jouent en supportant les régimes politiques
répressifs et la commercialisation des armes. Cela devrait être
accompli par l’entremise des Nations Unies et des autres organismes
appropriés, avec la participation entière de la société civile.

Nous demandons de plus aux organismes et aux
mouvements de la société civile d'entreprendre un dialogue mondial de
la société civile sur l'élaboration d'un autre cadre commercial juste
et durable pour remplacer le modèle néo-libéral, un cadre qui favorise
vraiment le développement durable pour les peuples et qui est fondé sur
des droits qui font passer les communautés en premier.

Nous voulons un système commercial durable,
socialement juste et de responsabilisation en démocratie. Ainsi, nous
demandons à nos gouvernements de commencer par mettre en oeuvre les
changements énoncés dans le présent document afin de limiter et de
diminuer le pouvoir et l’autorité de l’OMC, de changer le commerce et
de créer un système juste. Nous nous engageons à mobiliser les
personnes de nos pays, de nos régions et du monde à lutter pour ces
demandes et à défier les politiques injustes de l'OMC et le grand
système commercial multilatéral.

Le choix est difficile : ou nous acceptons l’ordre
mondial courant centré sur les sociétés et nous abandonnons le
bien?être des prochaines générations et le futur de la planète
elle-même, ou nous relevons le défi difficile de la mise en place d’un
nouveau système centré sur les intérêts des personnes, des communautés
et de l'environnement. 

Categories: Planet Not For Sale

A Statement of Unity from the OUR WORLD IS NOT FOR SALE Network

Our World Is Not For Sale - 29 April, 2009 - 19:39
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A Statement of Unity from



“Our World Is Not for Sale” is a worldwide network of organizations;
activists and social movements committed to challenging trade and
investment agreements that advance the interests of the world’s most
powerful corporations at the expense of people and the environment.

Against this process of corporate-led globalization, we pose the
vision of a global economy that is built on principles of economic
justice, ecological sustainability, and democratic accountability, one
that asserts the interests of people over corporations. This is an
economy built around the interests of the real producers and consumers,
such as workers, peasants, family farmers, fishers, small and medium
sized producers, and around the needs of those marginalized by the
current system, such as women and indigenous people.

We believe that a just system must protect, not undermine, cultural,
biological, economic and social diversity; put the emphasis on the
development of healthy local economies and trade; secure
internationally recognized environmental, cultural, social and labour
rights; support the sovereignty and self-determination of peoples; and
protect national and sub-national democratic decision-making processes.

Democracy is not simply a matter of holding elections.  Democracy
means not being on the receiving end of a top-down, one-size-fits-all
set of values, priorities, and policies that are imposed through
multilateral bodies, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). 
Democracy means not being subjected to non-transparent and
non-accountable decision-making, such as the WTO’s dispute settlement
processes.  Democracy means people taking control over forces directly
impacting their lives.

When the WTO was established in 1995, its preamble stated that its
purpose was to bring about greater prosperity, increase employment,
reduce poverty, diminish inequality, and promote sustainable
development around the world through greater “free trade”. Ten years
later it is clear that the WTO has not delivered on these goals and has
had exactly the opposite results.

The WTO trade regime has counteracted measures that would promote
development, alleviate poverty, and help ensure human and ecological
survival, both locally and globally. Under the guise of “free trade”,
WTO rules are used to force open new markets and bring them under the
control of transnational corporations.

Furthermore, the big trading powers have used the WTO to advance and
consolidate transnational corporate control of economic and social
activities in areas beyond trade, including development, investment,
competition, intellectual property rights, the provision of social
services, environmental protection and government procurement.

Large-scale liberalization in these areas will force developing
countries to relinquish many of the economic development tools that
industrialized countries used to build their economies and create jobs.
Furthermore, existing provisions of the WTO, as well as ones currently
being negotiated, would effectively ‘lock in’ the “structural
adjustment programs” of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Moreover, in advancing the interests of the big trading powers, the
methods of governance and decision-making that are used in the WTO are
notorious for their reliance on threat, deception, manipulation and
lack of transparency in an undemocratic and non-inclusive process.

It is the destructive social, political, and environmental
consequences of the pro-corporate, neo-liberal model of globalization
that has elicited rising resistance from a broad range of civil society
organizations and social movements around the world, including at WTO
summits in Seattle, Doha, Cancun and Hong Kong.

Our World is not for Sale is part of this global resistance.

Ten years after the founding of the WTO, it has become clear to us
that the possibilities of the WTO moving in the direction of positive
reforms are minimal, if not absent.  Change is absolutely necessary. 
At the moment we have a system where:

  • livelihoods are being destroyed, human rights
    ignored, public health endangered,  the environment plundered and
    democratic systems eroded;

  • local economies
    are being undermined, with workers, peasants, family farmers, fishers,
    consumers, women and indigenous peoples being especially disadvantaged
    and exploited;

  • governments’ ability to
    guarantee access to the essentials of life, promote health, safety and
    food sovereignty, and protect cultural and biological diversity is
    being undermined and sometimes eliminated.

Around the world, the negative results of the current global
economic system are propelling democratic movements - acting via the
ballot box and in the streets - to demand change. Elected officials in
many countries have lost faith in the current system of global economic
governance.  Increasingly, a number of economists and technocrats who
created and espoused this system are beginning to question it, as its
results prove quite the opposite of those promised. All this is taking
place in the context of growing inequality both between and within
nations and a resurgence of militarism.

The efforts of the WTO to forcibly liberalize global trade in a
manner that harms economic justice, social well-being, gender equity
and ecological sustainability, must be resisted. Its power and
authority must be rolled back from many areas where it has been
imposed, including agriculture, services, and intellectual property

At the same time, we must devise new institutions to facilitate
trade, production and distribution for the common good if we are to
avoid the growing prospect of social and ecological catastrophe.

The current trade regime, which includes the WTO, as well as
regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements, must give way
to a new, socially just and ecologically sustainable trading framework
for the 21st Century.


Since 1998, members of the OWINFS network have combined to share
analysis, develop strategies and coordinate actions internationally in
order to promote the development of alternative, just and sustainable

We are committed to developing a new, democratically accountable
trading system that advances economic justice, social well-being,
gender equity and ecological sustainability, and that provides decent
jobs and necessary goods and services for all people.

We support the development of vibrant local economies and the rights
of workers, peasants, migrants, family farmers, consumers, women, and
indigenous people.  We believe that the self-determination of people
must not be subordinated to international commercial commitments. Among
other things, this requires that decision-making processes and
enforcement at all levels of governance are democratic, transparent and

We recognize that a socially just international trading system must
give priority to the rights and welfare of the workers, peasants,
migrants, fishers, and family farmers who produce our goods, services,
and food.

We call on governments and multilateral agencies to halt their
attacks on basic workers rights, the reversal of the gains of workers’
struggles, the undermining of job security and the race-to-the-bottom
in wages and to strengthen workers’ rights worldwide.

We oppose trade liberalisation agreements and negotiations that
encourage taking away access to natural resources from those indigenous
and local communities that depend on them for their livelihoods and
giving such access instead to corporations.

Other fundamental human rights must also be respected, promoted and
realized, starting with the self-determination of indigenous peoples
and the provision of basic social needs and services, including
education, food security and sovereignty, universal access to clean
water for human use and public health.

Likewise, ecological integrity must be a goal of a transformed
global trading system.  This means, among other things, that corporate
trade and investment must be regulated to reverse global warming;
multilateral environmental accords must have precedence over trade
agreements; environmental standards must not be pulled downward by
trade accords; and the right of people to reject genetically modified
organisms, to preserve old growth forests and farmers’ diverse seed
stocks, and promote  animal welfare, must be respected.


Asserting People’s Right to Choose: Self-determination, Democracy and Development

We reassert the fundamentalright of countries to develop
economic and industrial policies that foster genuine economic
development, create decent jobs and protect livelihoods, and enhance
the environment. 
All countries, and especially poorer
countries, must have the right to use policy options (such as local
content policies) to increase the capacity of their own productive
sectors, particularly small and medium enterprises.  Countries
also preserve their ability (“policy space”) to shape economic social
and environmental development strategies that serve the most vulnerable
of their people.
 The drive for “coherence” among the
international institutions has become a means to deny that policy
space: the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and some individual
donor countries force governments to implement neo-liberal policies and
the WTO and other trade and investment agreements lock these policies

  • Our World Is Not For Sale demands an end to the
    secretive and coercive practices that have become the hallmark of trade
    negotiations, especially at the WTO, where a few powerful governments,
    often acting on behalf of their corporate elites, are able to coerce
    weaker governments to achieve their goals.

  • The
    dismantling of tariffs and other trade measures must not be allowed to
    put local economies, especially those of poorer countries and/or poor
    economic sectors, at the mercy of transnational corporations, and
    threaten local economic development, labour laws and standards, public
    and consumer health and safety, and the environment.

  • “Free
    trade” negotiations in the WTO and elsewhere cannot be allowed to
    continue operating as a Trojan Horse to secure pro-corporate rules on
    investment, competition, government procurement, market access,
    agricultural production, domestic regulation of services and
    intellectual property rights. Neither can the current power dynamics,
    in which the rich industrialised countries force their economic agenda
    on poorer countries, be allowed to continue.

  • The
    use of structural adjustment and debt conditionality to force trade
    liberalization in third world countries and elsewhere must end. The
    International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the regional
    development banks need to write off all the debts owed to them by
    developing/transition countries so those countries can reallocate
    these  funds to meet the urgent needs of their people.

Advancing the Primacy of Social Rights and the Environment

We believe that protecting and advancing social rights, meeting
basic needs, and protecting our environment are essential to life. It
is unacceptable that these can be undermined by WTO and other ‘trade’
agreement rules.

  • Any trade and investment agreements must not have
    primacy over, or undermine, international agreements which promote
    social, economic and environmental justice, including but not limited

    • the International Labor
      Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at
      Work (covering the four core labour standards);

    • the Convention on Biodiversity and its Biosafety Protocol, and other multilateral environmental agreements;

    • the
      United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and its associated
      conventions: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
      Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political

    • the  anticipated United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

    • the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); and

    • the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All  Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

  • Governments
    must retain the sovereign right to determine how to regulate services
    in ways that meet the needs of their people, economy and society, and
    that honour their other international and constitutional obligations,
    including to women, indigenous peoples, the young, the elderly and the

  • The right of governments to adopt
    the precautionary principle to protect public health, the environment,
    and agriculture from unknown risks must take precedence over any trade
    agreements and provisions.

  • Tariff
    reductions that harm the environment or sustainable development by
    increasing inappropriate trade in natural resources and other
    environmentally sensitive goods should not be undertaken.

  • The
    undermining of the United Nations by the pro-corporate Bretton Woods
    institutions, the WTO, and the big powers must be stopped, and the UN
    system of agreements and agencies must be strengthened

Protecting Essential Services

We endorse the fundamental principle that no trade or investment
agreement should infringe on the sovereignty of governments to
guarantee access to the essentials of life, to promote the health and
well being of their people, and to protect the environment,

  • Countries should not be pressured to accede to
    trade rules that diminish this ability, whether through the WTO’s
    General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) or through regional or
    bilateral agreements.

  • Sectors directly
    relating to such essentials, including health, education,
    cultural/audio-visual, social assistance, water and energy services,
    must be explicitly excluded from all trade and investment agreements.

  • Rules
    concerning Domestic Regulation, Subsidies and Government Procurement of
    services by their very nature impinge on this ability and should not be
    included in trade and investment agreements.

Countries are facing enormous pressure to subject their
essential services to GATS rules which have the effect of promoting
privatization. Further, when commitments made under these rules are
adopted by countries that have been or are being subjected to
deregulation and privatization of their essential services through
"structural adjustment" requirements, the GATS rules serve to lock in
privatization. In this way GATS promotes the opening up of local
markets to transnational corporations and the advancement of the
neo-liberal economic model.

  • These “structural adjustment” requirements must be
    rolled back, not locked in, and must not be a condition for countries
    receiving new loans or grants, nor should countries be pressured to
    subject their essential services to GATS rules.

Defending Knowledge, Culture and Life Forms as the Essence of Civilization 

We see knowledge, culture and education as the driving forces of
civilization.  These forces cannot be reduced to tradeable commodities
or private property.

There is no basis for inclusion of such intellectual property
claims in a trade agreement. Moreover, all nations have the
responsibility and obligation to protect the public health and
wellbeing of their people.  Current intellectual property rules in
trade pacts, such as the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), obstruct people’s access to
essential medicines, seeds and vital necessities, while leading to
private appropriation of life forms and traditional knowledge and the
destruction of biodiversity
.Furthermore, they keep poorer
countries from increasing their levels of social and economic welfare
and defending their unique identity and heritage.

  • Governments must retain their unfettered right to
    limit patent protection in order to protect the public interest in
    these areas, especially in relation to medicines, seeds and life forms.

  • The patenting of life forms, including microorganisms, must be prohibited in all national and international regimes.

  • Genuine
    cultural diversity must be defended against the homogenizing impact of
    global markets and monopolies over knowledge, technology and

Preserving and Advancing Food Sovereignty and Food Security

We affirm that the right to food is a basic human right.The WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) subordinates this right to corporate profitability.The
food system promoted by the WTO is built on industrialized and
capital-intensive, export-driven agriculture that is furthering
corporate concentration along the food chain and undermining the
livelihoods, rights, health and living and working conditions of
agricultural and food workers and thus further undermining food

Moreover, it fails torecognize that farming is
a way of life and an important basis of community and culture.  Thus,
its policies and those of other trade agreements foster further
concentration and increase of power of transnational corporations and
cause the expulsion of millions of peasants and family farmers from the
land and production, in Northern and Southern countries. Since the
introduction of “structural adjustment programs” and the establishment
of the
WTO, many peasants, family farmers, and agricultural
workers have been displaced from the land and experienced hunger, with
many driven into suicide, owing to import liberalization via tariff
reductions, the abolition of quantitative restrictions and inequitable
national agricultural policies.
At the same timemany subsidies going to agribusiness, including export-oriented industrial farming, have been increased rather than reduced.

While these rules allow increasingly powerful agribusiness
trading companies to push down the commodity prices paid to farmers
worldwide, the concentration of food distribution and processing under
the WTO’s agriculture and service sector rules has led to increased
food prices for consumers. 

  • To avoid further escalation in hunger,
    displacement and death, action must be taken immediately to curtail
    agricultural, trade and investment policies that encourage chronic
    overproduction and to ban the dumping of agricultural commodities onto
    world markets below the cost of production by global food corporations
    and others involved in global agricultural trade. Direct and indirect
    export subsidies that lead to dumping must be banned.  Countries should
    retain and reassert their sovereign rights to protect their
    agricultural markets and sectors from dumping in order to implement
    measures that can effectively and actively support peasant- and family
    farmer-based sustainable production.

  • Measures
    must be taken to promote and protect peoples´ food sovereignty (the
    right of peoples and communities to define their own food and
    agricultural policies, as well as the right to produce their basic
    foods in a manner that respects cultural and productive diversity and
    supports peasant- and family farmer-based sustainable production) and
    food safety and security (both for consumers and producers).

  • Measures
    that only concern production for domestic consumption and do not
    contribute to increased exports to international markets should be
    exempted from any international trade agreement.  The trading system
    must not undermine the livelihood of peasants, family farmers,
    agricultural workers, artisan fishers, and indigenous peoples.

  • We
    believe that the development of food sovereignty, food security and
    peasant- and family farmer-based sustainable agriculture requires
    governments to acknowledge the flaws in the “free market” principles
    that underpin perceived comparative advantage, export-led agricultural
    development and “structural adjustment” policies; and replace those
    policies with ones that prioritize and protect local, subsistence and
    sustainable production, including use of import controls and regulation
    that ensure more equitable sustainable production methods.

  • Various
    agreements will be required to ensure these objectives. These could
    include a convention on food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture,
    and a declaration on the rights of peasants and family farmers.
    Ultimately, the WTO and other "free trade” agreements, with their
    current focus on trade liberalization at all costs, are not appropriate
    places for such rules; therefore, alternative spaces to discuss these
    rules have to be strengthened.

Stopping Corporate Globalization and Promoting Trade Justice

The WTO’s trade rules, and those of many other regional trade
agreements now in existence and being negotiated, promote the power of
corporations in the global economy by providing new investor,
intellectual property and other rights. At the same time, they lock in
neo-liberal policies of privatization and deregulation. All  this is
done under the guise of “free trade“. This imbalance in power promotes
the economic self-interest of a few global economic giants, often with
devastating effects on local economies, particularly in developing

Such corporate power is being ratcheted up through regional and
bilateral trade and investment agreements. Their powerful rules promote
corporate rights and pose a serious threat to local democratic
authority. Under some accords, in fact, foreign corporations can now
sue national governments for "lost profits" if any law or regulation in
the country reduces their present or future profitability.
Environmental, labour, and social rights all become secondary to the
right to corporate profits.  This trend must be reversed.

Having successfully thwarted the Multilateral Agreement on
Investment, which would have enshrined such corporate rights, we call
for an end to the corporate strategy of promoting the rapid and
reckless expansion of regional and bilateral trade and investment
agreements that attempt to reinforce the faltering WTO. We also call
for an end to trade rules that guarantee a foreign investor's right to
profit by exposing domestic regulatory policies to investor challenges
and demands for compensation from public funds.

To begin moving toward a just trading system, we call on governments
to negotiate a legally binding agreement to ensure that corporations
are held democratically accountable for their conduct with regard to
their social, economic and environmental impacts, including the role
that some play in supporting repressive political regimes and marketing
of weapons. This should be done through the UN and other appropriate
bodies,with full participation of civil society.

Further we call on civil society organizations and movements to
initiate a global civil society dialogue on developing an alternative,
just and sustainable trading framework to replace the neo-liberal
model, one that genuinely promotes pro-people and rights-based
sustainable development and that puts communities first.

We are committed to an ecologically sustainable, socially just and
democratically accountable trade system. Thus, as a first step, we
demand that our governments implement the changes listed in this
document in order to constrain and roll back the power and authority of
the WTO, and to turn trade around and create a just system.  We commit
ourselves to mobilize people within our home countries, regionally, and
globally to fight for these demands and to defy the unjust policies of
the WTO and the broader multilateral trading system.

The choice before us is stark: either we accept the current
corporate-centered global order and forfeit the welfare of succeeding
generations and the future of the planet itself, or we take up the
difficult challenge of moving toward a new system that puts at its
heart the interests of people, communities, and the environment.

Categories: Planet Not For Sale

My intro to wto page

Our World Is Not For Sale - 23 April, 2009 - 20:50

this is my page. adadadafsdfsd


Original Publication Date:  23 April, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale


Our World Is Not For Sale - 21 April, 2009 - 19:58

made by koumbit

Categories: Planet Not For Sale


Our World Is Not For Sale - 12 March, 2009 - 05:30

Déclaration de la 11ème Réunion annuelle d’examen et de stratégie du Réseau africain sur le commerce, Accra (Ghana), du 25 au 28 août 2008
Le Réseau africain sur le commerce, le plus vaste et le plus ancien réseau africain regroupant des organisations sociales, syndicales, féminines, confessionnelles, développementales, environnementales, paysannes, des droits humains et autres, abordant le rôle et les effets des échanges internationaux et des accords commerciaux vis-à-vis des besoins et des aspirations de l’Afrique aux niveaux local, national, régional et continental, a tenu sa 11ème Réunion annuelle d’Evaluation et de stratégie à Accra (Ghana), du 25 au 28 août.
Nous avons, pendant de longues années, collaboré activement avec les forces de la société civile dans le but de nous engager avec les gouvernements africains et avec ceux d’autres pays en voie de développement opposés au programme de libéralisation des échanges et des investissements lancé par les pays puissants. Une telle coopération et coordination a permis aux gouvernements des pays africains et d’autres pays en voie de développement de créer des alliances efficaces au sein de l’OMC dans le but de promouvoir leurs besoins et exigences en matière de développement, de dénoncer les stratégies égocentriques et les hypocrisies des Etats-Unis et de l’UE, et de bloquer leurs ambitions agressives.  A cet égard, nous saluons le refus ferme par ces gouvernements de la teneur et de l’orientation anti-développementales du Cycle de Doha de l’OMC.
Les membres du Réseau africain sur le commerce se sont également engagés avec les gouvernements africains et les forces de la société civile pour se pencher sur les accords malicieusement appelés « Accords de partenariat économique » entre l’UE et les pays ACP (Afrique, Caraïbes et Pacifique).  Nous voyons manifestement que ces APE  ne se soucient pas du développement africain, mais sont plutôt fondamentalement conçus pour promouvoir les objectifs géo-économiques de la stratégie  de « l’Europe globale » préconisée à Bruxelles dans l’intérêt des entreprises et des capitaux européens.
Nous sommes par conséquent déterminés à empêcher totalement la signature des APE. Cependant, en dépit de notre engagement avec les gouvernements africains, en dépit des critiques et de l’opposition à ces APE par de nombreux gouvernements africains, tant dans le cadre public que privé, l’UE a réussi à faire pression sur dix-huit gouvernements africains et à les amener à parapher des APEI et à accepter d’autres négociations sur ces « APE intérimaires ». Ces APEI sont pour la plupart des engagements entre l’UE et des pays africains individuels, tandis que cinq pays mènent actuellement des négociations dans le cadre de l’une des entités régionales africaines reconnues, à savoir la Communauté de l’Afrique de l’Est. Les processus de négociation des APE ont été à l’origine des divisions au sein d’autres entités régionales africaines, mettant en péril leur cohésion et leur avenir même.
Cependant, un grand nombre de gouvernements africains n’ont pas participé à ces APEI.  Nous leur rendons hommage pour la résistance qu’ils y ont opposée et les exhortons à rester ferme sur leur position. Nous nous engageons à collaborer avec eux et à engager activement tous les autres gouvernements africains autour des termes et idées ci-après.
1.  Les APEI étaient tout simplement une mesure défensive d’urgence prise à la fin de 2007 sous l’effet de la pression excessive et la menace de l’UE  de bloquer l’entrée  sur le marché européen des exportations en provenance des pays ACP (Afrique, Caraïbes et Pacifique. Beaucoup de PMA, même ceux qui n’en avaient pas besoin, ont été contraints à y participer.
2.  L’on ne peut accepter que ces “APE intérimaires”, lancés uniquement en tant que déclarations d’intention, dans des conditions d’une extrême pression, aient un caractère contraignant. Ils peuvent être contestés et bloqués totalement sur la base de plusieurs instruments juridiques, notamment la Convention de Vienne sur les traités internationaux.
3.  L’on ne peut considérer les dispositions des APEI comme étant immuables. En effet, la simple suppression de certaines questions controversées, surtout la clause de la Nation la plus favorisée (NPF) et la “clause de statu quo”, qui empêchent l’utilisation flexible - par les gouvernements africains - des droits à l’exportation et autres mesures de soutien à leurs producteurs, ne changera pas la nature fondamentale anti-développementale et très déséquilibrée des « réciprocités » des réductions tarifaires exigées par l’UE.
4.   Les insertions prétendument dites “favorables au développement” dans les APE, proposées par certains gouvernements africains et ONG et par d’autres en Europe,  notamment les modifications apportées aux règles d’origine et l’élimination des obstacles techniques au commerce dans l’UE, peuvent au minimum faciliter le commerce, mais d’autre part elles serviront fondamentalement à renforcer la forte orientation et dépendance des exportateurs africains vis-à-vis du marché européen ainsi que le «rôle de fournisseurs» traditionnel de produits primaires et matières premières par les économies africaines à l’UE.
5.   De même, la disposition proposée portant sur l’augmentation de l’aide par l’UE est théoriquement supposée améliorer les “capacités de l’offre” de l’Afrique et lui permettre de tirer parti de l’augmentation anticipée de l’accès au marché européen.  Cependant, en réalité, le développement et la diversification des capacités productives africaines requièrent une large gamme de programmes et politiques, comme l’application stratégique des instruments tarifaires et autres, mais qui seront sérieusement entravés par les dispositions des APE proposés.
6.  De plus, l’exclusion de certains « produits sensibles »  et les propositions faites par certains gouvernements africains et ONG, de prolonger légèrement les « échéanciers » en vue de l’introduction progressive de la libéralisation tarifaire, sont fondamentalement erronées car les besoins changeants des produits actuels et futurs et des secteurs de production dans leurs pays ne peuvent pas être définitivement déterminés à l’avance, et les politiques à ce sujet ne doivent pas être fixées à l’avance comme des engagements a priori dans un traité international.
7.   Enfin, la menace la plus sérieuse de toutes découle de la volonté de l’UE - et certains gouvernements africains semblent s’en accommoder - de développer les APEI en accords “complets et globaux”,  qui intégreraient les exigences européennes de “nouvelle génération” pour l’ouverture des services et des appels d’offres publics (marchés publics) africains aux entreprises de l’UE et fixeraient les termes et les droits des investisseurs et des opérateurs financiers européens, ainsi que d’autres termes servant les intérêts de l’UE en Afrique.   
Nous exhortons les gouvernements africains à
Ø  se réunir dans leurs communautés économiques régionales et mettre à contribution l’unité africaine au sens large, au sein et à travers l’Union africaine, afin de créer une résistance beaucoup plus forte et déterminée face à l’UE ;
Ø  suivre résolument leurs propres déclarations que les accords avec l’UE ne  peuvent aucunement primer ou  contrecarrer leurs engagements vis-à-vis de leurs propres objectifs et programmes de coopération et d’intégration régionale ;
Ø  résister fermement aux manœuvres de l’UE dans les négociations actuelles ou futures visant à les attirer dans des APE complets.
Nous notons et soulignons également qu’il serait trop imprudent et inapproprié pour les gouvernements africains de participer à des accords d’une portée considérable, de longue durée, immuables, hautement douteux et controversés, avec l’UE ou avec toute autre puissance et force internationale,   en particulier dans le contexte de l’actuelle conjoncture mondiale instable et changeante, qui comporte :
·      la crise énergétique et alimentaire internationale qui affecte gravement  les Africains ;
·      la diminution de la légitimité du FMI, de la BM et de l’OMC ;
·      l’érosion et le discrédit du paradigme néolibéral ;
·      les changements au niveau de l’équilibre des forces dans le monde et de la portée des forces, en particulier dans le Sud auquel l’Afrique peut s’allier.
Nous nous engageons à collaborer avec les gouvernements africains dans l’objectif de réaliser des relations plus équitables avec l’Europe, propres à protéger notre souveraineté et l’autonomie de nos options de développement. 
Nous nous engageons à collaborer et soutenir le mouvement d’associations de citoyens en Afrique contre les ambitions égocentriques européennes dans les APE, et de renforcer l’exigence que nos gouvernements restent fermement sur leurs positions et fassent cause commune dans les intérêts de nos peuples, de nos pays, de nos régions et de notre continent dans son ensemble.
Nous demandons aux organisations de la société civile et autres associations de citoyens en Europe et dans d’autres parties du monde, qui sont aussi opposées aux accords de libre-échange européens de renforcer leur solidarité active avec notre campagne contre les APE. 

Original Publication Date:  1 March, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

Standing firm and acting together against EPAs!

Our World Is Not For Sale - 12 March, 2009 - 05:27

Declaration of 11Annual Review and Strategy Meeting of Africa Trade Network, Accra Ghana
The Africa Trade Network,  which is the broadest, longest -standing network of African social, labour, women’s, faith-based, developmental, environmental, farmers, human rights and other organisations, dealing with the role and effects of international trade and trade agreements in relation to Africa’s needs and aspirations at local, national regional and continental levels, had its 11 Annual Review and Strategy meeting in Accra, Ghana, from 25 to 28 August.
We have, for many years, worked actively with civil society forces to engage with African and other developing country governments resisting the trade and investment liberalisation agenda of the more powerful governments. Such cooperation and coordination has contributed to the ability of African and other developing country governments to create effective alliances in the WTO to promote their development needs and demands, to expose the self-serving strategies and hypocrisies of the US and the EU, and to block their aggressive agendas.  In this regard, we welcome the continued rejection by these governments of the anti-developmental content and orientation of the WTO’s Doha round.
Members of ATN have also been actively engaged with African governments and civil society forces on the proposed EU’s misleadingly  entitled “Economic Partnership Agreements”  with African ( and Caribbean and Pacific) countries.  We see clearly that these EPAs are not fundamentally concerned about African development but are designed to further the geo-economic aims of the ‘Global Europe’ strategy being pushed from Brussels in the interest of European corporations and capital.
We are therefore determined to Stop EPAs altogether. But, despite our active engagement with African governments, and the criticism and active opposition against these EPAs by many African governments -- both publicly and in private — the EU has managed to pressurise eighteen African governments into initialing IEPAs and commiting to further negotiations on ‘Interim EPAs’.  Most of these IEPAs are one-to-one engagements between the EU and individual African governments, while five countries are negotisating within one of the established African regions, namely the East African Community. Other African regions have, in the EPA negotiating processes,  been divided and their coherence and very future imperiled.
At the same time, a larger number of African governments have not entered into these IEPAs.  We commend all such resistant governments and urge them to the remain steadfast. We commit ourselves  to work with them and to actively engage with all the other African governments on the following terms and understandings:
1.  The IEPAs were merely an emergency defensive measure taken at the end of 2007 under the undue pressure of the EU’s threat to disrupt exports from African (and other and Pacific) countries into the European market (with many LDC, who did not need to, even pressured to join).
2.  These ‘interim EPAs’, initiated only as statements of intent under conditions of extreme pressures, cannot be accepted as being legally binding and can be challenged and blocked altogether on the basis of a number of legal instruments, such as the Vienna Convention on International Treaties.
3.   The IEPA terms cannot be regarded as being set in stone. However, the mere removal of some of the most contentious issues – above all, the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause and the “standstill clause” prohibiting the flexible use by African governments of export duties and other support measures to their producers - will not alter the fundamentally anti-developmental import of the highly imbalanced nature of the tariff reduction ‘reciprocities’ demanded by the EU.
4.   The so-called more “development friendly” insertions into IEPAs proposed by some African governments and NGOs, and others in Europe – such as modified rules of origin, and the removal of technical barriers to trade (TBTs) in the EU – may to some degree facilitate but will also serve, more fundamentally, to reinforce the heavy trade orientation and dependence of Africa exporters on the EU market, and the traditional “supply role” of (primary commodities and raw materials by) African economies to the EU.
5.   Similarly, the proposed provision of increased aid by the EU is supposedly to improve Africa’s “supply capacities” to  be able to take advantage of the anticipated increased market access into the EU.  However, in reality, the development and diversification of African productive capacities require a wide range of programs and policies, such as the strategic application of tariff and other instruments, that will be severely constrained within the proposed EPA terms
6.  In parallel, the exclusion of some “sensitive products”  and the proposals by some African governments and NGOs for slightly “longer time-frames” for the phasing- in of tariff liberalisation are also fundamentally misconceived because the changing needs of current and future products and production sectors within their countries cannot be definitively  determined in advance, and policies  in these regards must not be fixed in advance and as  a priori commitments  in an international treaty
7.   In addition to the above, the most serious threat of all arises from the drive by the EU, and the seeming accommodations by some African governments, to extend the IEPAs into “full and comprehensive” EPAs,  incorporating the EUs “new generation” demands for the opening up of African services and public tenders (so-called government procurement) to EU companies, and fixing the terms and rights of European investors and financial operators, together with other terms serving EU interests in Africa.   
We urge African governments
Ø  to re-unite in their respective regional communities, and to use broader African unity within and through the African Union to create a much stronger and determined resistance to the EU;
Ø  to act decisively on their own declarations that no agreements with the EU can take precedence over, or counter, their commitments to their own regional cooperation and integration aims and programs;
Ø  to firmly resist EU maneuvers in their current or future  negotiations to draw them into full EPAs.
We also note and stress that it is most unwise and inappropriate for African governments to be entering into a  far-reaching, long-term, fixed and highly questionable and contentions agreements with the EU, or any of the other powers and international forces,   especially in the context of the current unstable and changing global conjuncture. This includes
·      international energy and food crises affecting African most seriously;
·      declining legitimacy of the IMF and WB and the WTO;
·      erosion and discrediting of the neoliberal paradigm
·      shifts in the global balance of power and the range of forces, especailly in the South with which Africa can ally itself.
We commit ourselves to work with African governments in the quest to achieve more equitable relations with Europe that protect our sovereignty and autonomous development options. 
We pledge to work with and support the movement of citizen’s groups in Africa against Europe’s self-serving EPA agenda, and to strengthen the demand on our governments to stand firmly together in the interests of our peoples and our countries, regions and the whole continent
We call on civil society organizations and other citizens groups in Europe and other parts of the world who are also resisting European free trade agreements to strengthen their active solidarity with our campaign to stop the EPAs. 


Original Publication Date:  1 March, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

Letter to Martin Ríman

Our World Is Not For Sale - 12 March, 2009 - 05:24

The Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B) would like to welcome you in the EU Presidency. We hope
that we will be able to build a constructive dialogue around the EU trade policy – in the direction of
a trade policy that puts people and the environment first.
The S2B Network is a coalition of European civil society organisations that challenges the
democratic deficit in the EU decision making process on trade issues and promotes a sustainable,
social and democratic accountable trade system. The S2B membership is diverse and located
throughout Europe; it includes development, environment, human rights, women and farmers
organisations, trade unions, various social movements as well as research institutes and has built
strong partnerships with networks of social actors in the South.
Since 1999, S2B has been working to democratise the EU’s trade agenda through revealing the
dominant influence the corporate sector has on the EU’s trade agenda and its negative impacts in
Europe and the Global South, especially on small-scale farmers, women, rural populations and small
and medium enterprises.
S2B members are deeply concerned about the EU Trade strategy as described in the EC
communication Global Europe: Competing in the World. With its emphasis on meeting the EU
business interests at the cost of socio-economic rights, sustainable development and gender
equality objectives and the fight against inequality at local as well as at global level, the Global
Europe strategy threatens many of the world’s poorer communities.
Our concerns have been reinforced in the context of the multiple crisis (food, financial, energy,
economic, climate). These crisis is to a large degree systemic and is deeply related to the
liberalisation and deregulation policies of the last decades.
The financial crisis follows the systematic deregulation of the financial markets, which allowed
massive speculation; and this financial liberalisation is reinforced through the EU’s Free Trade
Agreements (such as the CARIFORUM EPA) and the EU’s offensive position at the WTO in the area
of financial services negotiations.
The financial crisis, however, results not only from financial deregulation, but also from too fast and
universal trade liberalization.
Progressive global trade liberalization has over past three decades led some important countries to
adopt aggressive export-oriented models backed by undervalued currency.
Accumulation of foreign reserves and huge capital surpluses helped these countries both to succeed
in highly competitive global markets and to preserve their domestic financial stability.
But without adequate international exchange rate and capital flows management, these capital
surpluses have caused huge global imbalances, including the global financial and economic crisis of
The global food price crisis, too, has one of its roots in the destruction of small-scale farming in the
South as a consequence of excessive market opening, export orientation and the abolition of
agricultural support. Cheap global capital without proper regulation also greatly facilitated
speculative investments in commodities causing high and volatile oil and food prices for many poor
people around the world.
The climate crisis, finally, will surely not be solved by more excessive transportation of goods, more
unsustainable and debt-based consumption and reduced policy space, which would be the
consequence of more stringent “free trade” rules as called for by the EU leaders.
In the context of these unfolding crises we are extremely concerned about the commitment of the
EU to continue with “business-as-usual” in EU trade policies. We believe that concluding the WTO’s
Doha Round and the bilateral and regional FTAs, in the way they are conceived of now, is the wrong
approach. While resorting to large-scale protectionisms would certainly deepen the current
economic crisis today, further liberalization across the board might bring more of costlier financial,
fuel and food crises in the future
S2B believes a radically different approach, espousing selective liberalization and right to protect, is
needed to ensure that EU trade and investment agreements do not have a negative impact on the
prospects of developing countries, on efforts to save the climate or on the European social model.
Only smart trade policies that work for the poorest of the world will also ensure a stable, just,
sustainable and prosperous world for all. It is time for a new and updated economic system which
reduces inequality, ensures a healthy environment and works to create well-being for all. . Such a
system should include:
· A major recovery plan that puts people and the environment at its heart and in particular
enables countries to better feed, educate and protect their people, invest in low-carbon
development and sustainable decent jobs, and build up their economic resilience and
· Effective regulation of the global financial system, including tax, debt and trade rules
· A set of new and reformed democratic institutions to govern this economic system on global,
regional, national and local level
The upcoming negotiating rounds of the Free Trade Agreements between the EU and its
counterparts (South Korea, India, ASEAN, Andean Community and Central America) must take
these orientations into consideration. This is also the case for the EPAs. Although some interim EPAs
have already been initialled or signed, the door should be kept open for real alternatives and the EU
should refrain from putting pressure on the ACP countries to take binding commitments in services,
intellectual property right or Singapore issues. Instead it should take the commitment to respond
unconditionally and in a flexible way to demands by ACP countries to revise the contentious issues
included in the interim agreements and it should revisit the EU- CARIFORUM EPA in the light of the
current crises.
We also appeal on your leadership to make sure that the EU’s Raw Materials Strategy (which is
currently under consideration by the Council) does not stand in the way of the socio-economic
rights of the people of the South, sustainable management of natural resources, preservation of
fragile ecosystems, resource sovereignty in developing countries and increased resource efficiency
in Europe.
Finally, the EU will play a key role in the next G20 meeting foreseen in London, which aims at
setting up new rules and solid governance structures for the global financial system.
In this framework, useful steps for the Czech Presidency should include the initiative to put the
elimination/defuse of tax havens on the agenda of the upcoming ECOFIN meeting, through a)
extending the European Savings Directive to companies and trusts and b) requiring that the
international accounting standards include Country-to-Country reporting of multinational companies
to reveal profits, losses and taxes paid in each country of their operation.
The Czech Presidency should also take a courageous approach and propose a review of the impact
of financial deregulation commitments made by the EU and EU Member States in the WTO/GATS
and in bilateral and bi-regional free trade agreements and investment treaties. As an immediate
step, the Czech Presidency should put on the Council’s agenda measures to reverse obsolete
restrictions on capital controls in trade and investment agreements and to encourage capital
controls as an effective tool to address financial market volatility.
As S2B, we would actively support your engagement in favour of a European trade and investment
strategy that puts people's needs and environment at its heart.
We are at your disposal to exchange further views on the alternatives we propose and look forward
to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
The Seattle to Brussels Network

Original Publication Date:  1 March, 2009 AttachmentSize S2B LetterFinal160209.pdf72.37 KB
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

OWINFS Financial Services Brief 3: The Financial Crisis Does Not Justify a WTO Deal

Our World Is Not For Sale - 5 March, 2009 - 19:47

Many political leaders have been calling for the conclusion of the ‘Doha Round’ negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as a solution to the financial crisis, in order to provide a boost to the world economy and a signal of confidence to multilateralism. They argue that WTO rules prevent “protectionist measures”, closing of borders, and beggar-thy-neighbour policies, which led to the economic depression in the 1930s and the consequent wars.
Arguing that a Doha deal would prevent the kind of trade barriers that led to the Great Depression of the 1930’s is ill-conceived:
? No countries are currently closing their borders to imports more than allowed under the WTO. Some countries have put up barriers to ‘exports’ of food in order to prevent hunger.
? The Doha Round draft negotiation text reveals a protectionism for the rich and multinationals - who lobbied for aggressive market access in their interests- and will result in an inequitable and unsustainable ‘rules-based system’.
? The existing inequality between the international trade actors and the bail out packages that strengthen the competitiveness of the industrialised countries, means that further liberalisation does not provide the claimed benefits of open trade, as argued in the comparison with the 1930s.
? The argument that “one’s protection is another one’s lost opportunity” could be turned around by saying “each market opening is one’s lost opportunity”. The real question is whose opportunity!?
New WTO rules would mean deregulation at the domestic level in the agricultural, industrial and services sectors, preventing countries from taking required measures to combat the financial and economic crises, as well as the food and environmental crises. This likely outcome contradicts the argument that the conclusion of the Doha Round will ‘strengthen regulation’. For instance, the services talks in financial services during the Doha Round will further deregulate the financial sector and further spread risky financial products, which caused the financial crisis in the first place, while new needed supervision and regulation is not yet in place (see other OWINFS briefings: “End WTO Deregulation of Finance” and “FTAs Contribute to Financial and Other Crises”).
Finalising the Doha Round, as currently negotiated, would be a disastrous way to deal with the economic, social and environmental problems facing the world today:
? Now is the wrong time for developing countries to negotiate away flexibilities and policy space which prevents them from regulation and intervention. Certainly at a time that developed countries are massively using state intervention, subsidies and other Keynesian measures to deal with the crisis, developing countries often have only trade barriers to protect themselves.
? No negotiation flexibilities and extra market access concessions are to be expected from Western countries given the financial and economic crises they are facing. Rather, rich countries are pushing for large concessions from developing countries to open up markets for rich country exports as compensation for their economic problems. This contradicts the Doha Round principle that developing countries have to make less concessions, and negates Western countries’ responsibility for causing the financial crisis.
? Application of Keynesianism at home while requiring the rest of the world to follow Adam Smith would have very long lasting imbalances among countries. More fragile economies and companies – now also lacking access to credit due to the financial crisis– will not be able to compete under new free trade regimes. They will lose out, as we are already seeing, while jobs and income lost due unfair competition will not be easily be replaced.
The new state interventions in (Western) countries and the combined financial, economic, climate, food, environmental and equity crises call for a systemic restructuring of trade agreements, in addition to restructuring of current international negotiations on new financial regulation and supervision.
The financial crisis has exposed how the model of free markets, deregulation and ever increasing competition has been very risky and ill conceived. Societies were left unprotected against this crisis-prone model but have to pay the high price. Financial regulators’ belief that markets can be left to sort themselves out, and that free markets and uncontrolled innovation should not be interfered with, has been proven to cause a huge financial crisis.
The extreme recklessness of these policies is now widely recognized in the financial sector. However there is still too little political and public questioning of free markets in trade and the credibility of many of the institutions such as the WTO, which serve to enforce these free market policies. The WTO was launched during the height of popularity of the “neo-liberal” economic model, aimed at reducing public oversight and regulation of the economy, while re-regulating to enforce rights for especially big corporations. The WTO and free trade agreements (FTAs) legalised a radical deregulation and liberalisation agenda which had been pushed by the rich countries, the IMF and the World Bank.
At a time that many (developed) countries are increasingly using other, more Keynesian, models it would be wrong for the WTO to continue stopping national and international intervention in markets The financial crisis has not only exposed the negative consequences of deregulating and liberalising financial markets, but also exposed the problematic model of export orientation, import dependence, unlimited competition and free trade and investment as embodied in the WTO and FTAs:
? Competition unleashed by liberalising and deregulating the financial sector resulted in un-efficient ever-more-profit strategies focused on high returns on capital rather than financing the economy. Extreme speculative products were instruments of this competition which contributed to the financial and food crisis, and volatile commodity and oil prices.
? Market opening of the financial sector under GATS and FTAs has shown the many risks of foreign banks: failing to serve poor people and the domestic industry, financing unsustainable companies or projects, and withdrawing capital and limiting credit in times of crisis.
? Competition encouraged by liberalisation policies as well as free trade and investment agreements has resulted in huge and successful lobbying by the financial industries, exporters and traders for less regulation in all countries. 
? The lack of international mechanisms to stabilise exchange rates might be more damaging than trade barriers to developing countries, e.g. through more expensive imports and less income from exports.
? Export oriented economies suffer huge job losses when demand abroad is contracting and the financial crisis leads to less available credit for production and trade;
? Foreign direct investment is currently declining or leaving countries that have economic and export polices relying on foreign investment and open capital markets.
? Remittances by migrant workers are being reduced as many have lost their jobs.
? Unemployment is estimated to rise massively worldwide.
? The working poor and those living on less than a dollar a day are estimated to be increasing by 40 million and those on 2 dollars a day by 100 million.
? Current patterns of unconditioned (export) production, trade and consumption are damaging the environment, encouraging climate change and having negative social consequences in the agricultural, industrial and services sectors.
The current dysfunction of the financial sector and economies means that current free trade agreements and negotiations will not provide the claimed benefits but rather reinforce the convergence of crises. These WTO and FTAs negotiations need to be stopped ! Alternative trade agreements are needed that help prevent the systemic economic, social and environmental problems of current free trade, free investment, free markets and free capital policies.
For more information see: or

Original Publication Date:  1 February, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

OWINFS Financial Services Brief 2: FTAs Contribute to Financial and Other Crises

Our World Is Not For Sale - 5 March, 2009 - 19:35

While the financial crisis and its consequences are spreading around the world and even the most erstwhile ‘free market’ governments are discussing how to re-regulate the financial sector, bilateral and regional ‘free trade’ agreements continue extreme deregulation of the financial industry. The terms of these agreements prohibit countries from reforming their financial sector so as to remedy the financial, economic, environmental, food and social crises now growing, and from ensuring that finance is directed towards the transformation to sustainable societies.
Deregulation and liberalisation of financial services is part of the many bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) that are currently being negotiated or have been implemented over the last years. For instance, the EU-Caribbean Economic Partnership agreement (EPA) exemplifies the model that the EU seeks to impose during all current FTA and EPA negotiations. Some FTAs include a ‘review clause’ which is a commitment to (further) deregulate and liberalise (financial) services through new negotiations at a certain point in time, without public or parliamentary scrutiny.  
Expansion of financial conglomerates
Under the rules of the services agreement (General Agreement on Trade in Services or “GATS”) in the World Trade Organization (WTO), developing countries can choose whether or not to liberalise or deregulate financial services.  But a GATS rule determines that an FTA that covers services must include substantial liberalisation and deregulation commitments although developing countries can liberalise somewhat less than developed countries. EU and US negotiators – in close coordination with their financial service industries - have been very keen to secure new deregulated access for their once profitable financial industry (Citigroup profits in 2004 were US$ 17bn). Some existing FTAs have almost 10 pages of commitments and rules on financial services. These rules require that developing countries must admit the presence of all kinds of foreign banks, insurance companies and other financial operators and their services …regardless of whether regulation and supervision, or consumer protection, is established or not.
Deregulation of foreign banks
While requiring that countries admit more foreign banks and other financials services, the FTAs simultaneously impose the same restrictions on how governments may regulate financial services and their providers as seen in GATS, unless exemptions were made at the time of negotiation:
? allowing 100% foreign ownership of financial operators and the financial sector;
? no restrictions on the size and number of financial operators, nor on the volume of their financial transactions;
? foreign financial operators have to be treated at least as favourable as domestic financial operators.As a result, many measures that are necessary to prevent a financial crisis violate these rules. One such preventive measure is to limit the size of a bank and the volume of its financial transactions, so that it cannot become “too big to fail” – and thus does not need to be bailed out with taxpayer money.
FTA rules also disregard that foreign financial operators behave differently. Foreign banks tend to target the more profitable, rich clients and provide less credit to farmers and small producers, especially in times of a financial crisis. This undermines food production and economic development.
FTAs do not allow host governments to pre-screen foreign financial service investors – for instance to exclude foreign banks that mainly finance socially and environmentally destructive projects or companies, and to only admit those banks that serve their societies.
FTAs deregulate more than GATS
FTAs contain more rules that deregulate financial services than GATS. For instance, countries are required to permit any new foreign financial service within their territory in those financial sectors they liberalised under NAFTA or an FTA with the EU (Chile, Mexico, Caribbean countries). This means that very risky financial products such as speculative derivative trading can be introduced– a practise  which contributed significantly to  the financial crisis. Although agreements often contain some exceptions for ‘prudential’ regulation, it is left to trade tribunals to decide what policies are protected. FTAs therefore can make it very difficult for countries to ban speculation in food prices through banning trade in food derivatives that contribute to the food crisis.
Moreover, the EU seeks to impose through its FTAs, the implementation of many non-binding international norms for financial regulators in developing countries. Yet, these norms completely failed to prevent the financial crisis, and most developing countries have had no say in their design. 
FTAs stop capital controls
During a financial crisis, or in order to prevent it, it is important that countries are able to control capital inflows and outflows, which mainly move through banks. Yet, the FTA model employed by both the EU and the US requires countries to remove restrictions on capital movement and facilitate cross-border capital flows. In the EU-Caribbean EPA, no restrictions on capital transfers between residents of the signatory countries are permitted, not even on large capital account transfers related to investments. Only in “exceptional circumstances“ are  countries allowed to stop destabilising capital transfers. Also, any prudential measures taken to stop capital or trade flows that are financially destabilising are restricted by many conditions, which undermines many domestic policies to protect economies and societies.
The dangerous mix of FTAs and BITs
What is often forgotten is that foreign financial investors that enter a country under an FTA, can use already existing bilateral investment agreements (BITs) to sue host governments that introduce new social or environmental regulations. For instance, Argentina has been sued by more then 30 companies for its measures taken during its financial crisis (2000-2001). Foreign investors have already used a BIT to sue South Africa for its policies to reverse the legacy of apartheid and increase black ownership in the mining sector, which could also happen in the financial sector.
FTAs forgotten during financial reforms
None of the current official discussions about reforms of the financial sector take into account how FTAs and the WTO’s GATS further liberalise and deregulate the financial sector. Nor do these reform discussions focus on establishing rules to shift finance to productive rather than speculative ends or to halt investment in companies and projects that are socially and environmentally disruptive. In order to stop the financial sector’s contribution to the world’s food, climate/environmental and social crises, the extreme deregulation and market opening by FTAs and GATS must be reversed.
• All negotiations in financial services in GATS and FTAs have to be stopped.
• Countries should be permitted to reverse their existing GATS and FTA liberalisation commitments of financial services (a roll back).
• Countries are permitted to take all necessary measures to prevent financial, social and environmental crises without retaliation threats based on GATS and FTA rules.
• Financial services and capital liberalisation are to be taken out of the WTO and all FTAs.
• Financial services need to be regulated to urgently support the shaping of sustainable societies – including by serving the poorest communities first.    
For more information, contact

Original Publication Date:  1 February, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

OWINFS Financial Services Brief 1: End WTO Deregulation of Finance

Our World Is Not For Sale - 5 March, 2009 - 19:26

Since the current financial crisis started, none of the governments, experts or media who have called for new regulations for the financial industry have taken into account rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which actually impose extreme financial service deregulation on many WTO member countries. Worse, the heads of the G-20 country governments who met on 15 November 2008 to discuss how to reform the financial system, called for finalising the WTO’s current ‘Doha Round’ of negotiations to liberalise trade.
Yet, liberalisation and deregulation of financial services is part of the ongoing negotiations to expand the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).  Already, GATS rules impose many restrictions on governmental regulation in the financial service sector, as explained below. “Free trade” agreements include similar and additional problems, as explained in a separate flyer: “Free Trade Agreements Contribute to Financial and Other Crises“.
 Banning risky financial products is forbidden by GATS
Many WTO member countries already agreed to permit all foreign banks or insurance companies originating from any other WTO member country to establish themselves and offer their financial services and products in accordance with rules of the GATS agreement. Although nothing is being traded over borders, this ‘commitment’ to allow foreign presence is part of this WTO agreement on ‘trade in services’ ! Some developing countries such as Argentina, Ghana and South Africa, have also agreed to permit foreign financial operators offering very risky financial service products although such trading in derivatives is widely recognised as a major cause of the financial crisis. Derivative trading in food has resulted in huge speculation on future food prices and has contributed to the food crisis. Some countries even have subjected financial services that have an important social impact, such as health insurance or pension fund management, to GATS restrictions on regulation. Those countries seeking to ban any risky product or risky financial operator may well find themselves in conflict with GATS rules.
If countries want to withdraw sensitive service sectors from GATS’ restricting measures, GATS requires that countries compensate the loss of future business opportunities to other WTO countries requesting compensation. Thus, India could tackle speculation in food prices by banning trade in speculative food derivatives while South Africa or Argentina can hardly do so because, under GATS, they have committed to keep their governments out of the business of regulating derivative trading.GATS undermines new regulations
In addition to the GATS rules itself, most developed countries have committed to a yet-more-extreme set of financial service sector deregulation. This GATS “Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services” forbids further regulation and requires that foreign investors must be permitted to offer any new financial service. As a consequence, proposals raised in the US to re-regulate or ban risky financial products that sparked the financial crisis, such as stopping sub-prime loans or screening risky financial products, would go against those rules. This would also be the case for potential proposals in the EU to regulate Hedge Funds, which have systematically contributed to financial crises. Although another GATS Annex on financial services allows government to implement ‘prudential measures’, that clause is limited in that it also requires that such measures should not undermine the GATS market openings. These provisions prohibit governments to implement regulations, or even bans, which are necessary to prevent or deal with a financial crisis. Also, countries cannot decide to go back to only state banks e.g. for basic banking services.
GATS rules that deregulate
‘Liberalisation’ under GATS rules means that WTO country governments are restricted in selecting which financial operators they want in their territory and how they may regulate foreign financial operators and products. Unless explicit exemptions were taken at the time of negotiation, WTO member governments cannot limit the size or the volume of the transactions of the foreign financial industry nor can they limit the percentage of foreign ownership. So, foreign banks can take over the whole banking sector and become too big to fail. In addition, most capital movements linked to foreign financial services cannot be restricted, e.g. by measures to avoid sudden withdrawals to avoid a crisis.
Controversial activities by foreign banks
GATS rules require foreign banks to be treated as national banks even though foreign banks behave differently in many ways. For instance, in times of a financial crisis, foreign banks often transfer capital abroad or are bailed out at home, and offer even less financial services to poorer communities, as was recently the case in Mexico. In India, as in many other countries, foreign banks have little interest in serving the poor or providing credit to small industrial or agricultural producers. In case the WTO further liberalises (processed) agricultural and non-agricultural products (NAMA) this lack of credit further undermines the ability of domestic producers to compete with imported products, mostly produced or traded by multinationals (One-third of international trade is now between multinationals and another one-third of trade is between affiliates of multinationals).
Foreign banks pick the rich clients, offer them risky financial products, and transfer the profits abroad, which has to be done without restrictions according to a GATS rule. But when a financial crisis makes an affiliate unprofitable, some foreign banks just close down and leave the country. The argument that foreign banks are more efficient … might thus only benefit a few.
Liberalisation without regulation
GATS negotiations aim at opening financial services markets without considering if sufficient regulation and supervision exists and then restricts regulation. Further, foreign banks are mainly supervised by the home supervisor at the expense of the interests of the host country. Moreover, there is no one supervisor who has all information about worldwide transactions of a financial conglomerate which operates in banking, insurance and/or securities’ trading activities.
As part of the GATS negotiations, the EU has requested that many developing countries take away particular prudential regulations which had been put in place after the Asian financial crisis or which are now seen as solutions to the financial crisis. Such secret negotiations must be avoided. 
GATS forgotten contribution to the crisis
Liberalisation of financial services under GATS and the GATS extreme deregulatory agenda means that banks can expand worldwide, become too big to fail, and then require bailouts by public funds. Unless countries regain policy space to regulate such institutions, the bail out problem remains!
GATS encouraged fierce competition among the financial industry for ever more profit. In the name of competitiveness, huge lobbying efforts were undertaken to convince home and host governments to deregulate, not in the least for speculative products that have contributed to the crisis. The argument that regulation were costly barriers is now lost on taxpayers having to pay the bill of deregulation ! 
• All negotiations in financial services in the GATS and free trade agreements (FTAs) have to be stopped.
• Countries should be permitted to reverse GATS liberalisation of financial services without having to pay for compensation.
• Countries should be permitted to take all measures needed to prevent financial, social and environmental crises, without threats based on GATS and FTA rules.
• Financial services and capital liberalisation and deregulation should be taken out of the WTO and all trade agreements.
• Financial services need to be regulated to urgently support the shaping of sustainable societies, – particularly  to serve poor people first.   
For more information: contact

Original Publication Date:  1 February, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

Obama Administration Delays Trade Negotiations For Now

Our World Is Not For Sale - 5 March, 2009 - 18:53

The Obama administrations message on trade negotiations inherited from its predecessor is emerging and it clearly says: we'll get back to you when we have the necessary cabinet officials in place, such as a U.S. Trade Representative, and have had time to review our trade policy.
So far, the administration has sought a delay in negotiating sessions for two new trade agreements that were scheduled to take place next month, and has opted to refrain from pushing a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with China during Secretary of State Hillary Clintons trip to Asia.
Delayed from March is the first comprehensive round of trade negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which initially would mean a free trade agreement between the U.S. and New Zealand as well as a U.S.-Brunei FTA. The TPP meeting was scheduled for the week of March 30, and will be the subject of a March 4 interagency hearing chaired by USTR.
The key issue to watch is what position agriculture groups will take on the new agreement, which may hold some promises in the long-term if the TPP were expanded to include Japan, but provides few U.S. export benefits in the near-term.
The U.S. also successfully requested a delay in the March negotiations of a controversial intellectual property rights agreement known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
Similarly, Clinton did not press during her visit to China the need for a bilateral investment treaty, though sources emphasize that is a temporary delay.
This pause on trade could last a while longer since it now looks that the Senate Finance Committee hearing for USTR nominee Ron Kirk could slip to the week of March 9 after signals late last week that it could may happen in the first week of March. Finance Committee staff met with Kirk last Thursday (Feb. 19) and discussed Kirk's questionnaire and other submitted documents, according to a committee aide.
When the nomination hearing takes place, it will be interesting to see if Kirk offers more than the typical nominee responses on how the administration will proceed on the controversial pending U.S.-Colombia FTA and what additional steps Colombia has to take to address Democratic objections on labor violence in that country.
One congressional aide said this week he expected Finance Committee members to press Kirk on these specific issues, which Democrats so far have avoided answering detail.
There is also a policy void at the Commerce Dept., because there is no formal nomination for a Commerce Secretary. Former Washington Governor Gary Locke is clearly being vetted for that spot and many seem to hope the third-time nomination will be the charm.
The U.S. postponements of negotiations may well be temporary and driven by the fact there that there is simply no one home at USTR or Commerce to make necessary decisions and vet them with the White House, where key officials are preoccupied with the economic crisis.
But we will not know whether and how the Obama administration wants to deal with this inherited trade agenda until it has undergone an internal trade policy review, which could take roughly two months after Kirks confirmation.
Trade critics in Congress such as Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) are clearly hoping this pause by the Obama administration is more than temporary. These members of Congress are poised to call on President Obama to work with them on a new model for trade and investment negotiations before proceeding to any new negotiations.
In a draft letter, these members are pressing the administration to call off BIT talks with China and TPP talks with Chile, Singapore, Brunei and New Zealand because they reflect the bad policies of the past.
The TPP seems to have little exposure so far in Congress judging by the fact that fewer than 20 members signed a draft letter to Obama urging U.S. participation in the March TPP session. One trade skeptic speculated that it is likely the letter, which was championed by Reps. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) and Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX), will not even be sent in light of that scant response.
The perennially lagging Doha round of trade negotiations will likely come into the spotlight on April 2 when G20 leaders gather in London to tackle the global financial crisis. Obama is likely to face pressure to agree to a political pledge on recommitting to the successful conclusion of the Doha round from U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and others.
The outcome could be bold policy pronouncements on the need to complete the Doha round quickly and to avoid trade-restricting measures in the face of the global economic crisis. But it is unlikely that these statements will translate into Geneva efforts aimed at reviving the stalled negotiations until USTR and the White House decide how they want to proceed on the talks.
Such a review on Doha could lead to a change in the agenda as well as the negotiating approach. The talks are currently deadlocked over negotiating modalities for non-agricultural market access and agriculture.
Leading U.S. lobbying groups in services, industrial goods and agriculture are poised to send a letter to Obama this week reiterating their belief that what is on the negotiating table in Geneva now is simply not good enough. But key trading partners have taken the position that the Doha round is stuck unless the U.S. digs into its pocket for more concessions.
The U.S. delay is not the only political problem the Doha round faces: India will have elections in April, Japan faces elections this year and the European Union is poised to name a new commission in the fall.

Source:  Today In Trade Original Publication Date:  25 February, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

Jobs, Not Shopping

Our World Is Not For Sale - 5 March, 2009 - 18:47

Three sacred cows have dominated the market fundamentalist religion of the last 25 years: balanced budgets, private ownership and free trade. Two have recently been sacrificed to reality. Balanced budgets went first, as countries dived into deficit spending without debate to fend off the recession. Belief in private ownership is faltering too, as country after country nationalises its banks.
Faith in free trade, however, is holding out, just about. The major economies are slowly but surely raising protectionist barriers through subsidies and local procurement programmes, yet free-market economists warn us that any moves to protectionism will trigger a trade war, and destroy the world trading system, as happened in the 1930s.
This is a misreading of history. The depression-era shift to protectionism was much less dramatic than is often claimed. The conventional story says that the world trading system collapsed because the US introduced the Smoot-Hawley tariffs in 1930. But this was not a radical shift in policy. America had been the most protectionist country in the world for the previous century, while Smoot-Hawley (pictured, below right) only raised average industrial tariffs from about 37 per cent to about 48 per cent, well within the historical range of US tariffs until then. Tariffs in other countries did rise after 1930, but only moderately, and economic historians have shown that trade shrinkage after the depression had more to do with shrinking demand and the drying-up of trade credits.
Of course, an all-out trade war would not help the world economy recover. Thankfully, at least in the short run, there is no danger of such a thing happening. Unlike in the 1930s, we have the World Trade Organisation, the EU and many regional trade agreements to limit the protections that countries can deploy. Countries will cheat within the boundaries of these agreements, but they can do only so much.
Moreover, the “1930s: never again” story assumes that protectionism is always bad. But this is not true either. Unlike in finance, where things can be speedily re-arranged, the real economy takes time to adjust. Producers must build new factories, and invest in new technologies. Workers must acquire new skills and find new jobs. When big adjustments are needed, temporary protectionism helps to create the breathing space for companies and workers to reinvent themselves.
There are other good reasons to consider limited measures to protect domestic economies. Textbook trade theory says that making countries more and more specialised is an unquestionable good. But this isn’t always true. Britain, for instance, probably over-specialised in finance over the last few decades, while neglecting manufacturing. The international division of labour should be balanced against the need for a broadly based economy, capable of protecting countries and their people against shocks to a particular industry. Voters in advanced countries, meanwhile, might well be willing to swap a little more job stability for slightly more expensive goods in their shops.
Such mild protectionism can be explicitly time limited. Indeed, evidence after the 1970s oil shocks shows that countries like Japan and Sweden that had specific and time-bound protectionism bounced back more quickly than others, like the US, where measures were hidden but more pervasive. The danger today is that we will pretend to believe in free trade, while practising protectionism by other names—just recall Peter Mandelson’s £2.5bn auto industry rescue: “not a bailout,” he said, but a “greening” initiative.
To avoid destroying the legitimacy of the global trading system we urgently need an international agreement, at least an informal one, that sets out some broad rules for this transparent and time-bound protectionism for adjustment purposes.
Emphasising the need to create a more transparent mechanism for the use of “adjustment protectionism” is not to suggest that everything else is fine with the current system. There is another kind of protection which needs to be allowed—one that allows developing countries relief from outside competition while they acquire new technologies and train their workers in new skills.
Such protection, known as “infant industry protection,” was practised by virtually all of today’s rich countries—starting with 18th-century Britain, through 19th-century US, Germany and Sweden, to 20th-century Japan, Korea, Taiwan—as I show in my books, Kicking Away the Ladder and Bad Samaritans.
Despite their own history, over the past quarter century rich countries have done their best to make it increasingly difficult for developing countries to use infant industry protection measures. They have pressed for trade liberalisation as a condition for the aid they give, and for the loans from the international financial organisations that they control. They have pushed for greater restrictions on tariffs, subsidies, regulations on foreign investment and other measures that developing countries need in order to promote their infant industries. This practice has to stop—and, ideally, be reversed.
The reality is that free trade has never worked very well, especially for developing countries, but it is going to malfunction even more in the coming years. Rather than trying to nurse this ailing sacred cow back to health, we should slaughter it —and concentrate our energy on designing a new system of international trade that pragmatically mixes free trade and protectionism. 

Source:  Ha-Joon Chang Original Publication Date:  1 March, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

WTO report by UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Our World Is Not For Sale - 5 March, 2009 - 18:40

The present report seeks to explore the relationship between the agreements concludedunder the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), particularly the Agreement onAgriculture, and the obligation of the Members of the WTO to respect the human right toadequate food. It is based on the mission of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to theWTO.
In the report, the Special Rapporteur argues that, if trade is to work for developmentand to contribute to the realization of the right to adequate food, it needs to recognize thespecificity of agricultural products, rather than to treat them as any other commodities, and toallow more flexibilities to developing countries, particularly in order to shield theiragricultural producers from the competition from industrialized countries’ farmers. The mainimpacts of the current multilateral trade regime on the right to food include (a) increaseddependency on international trade which may lead to loss of export revenues when the pricesof export commodities go down, threats to local producers when low-priced imports arrive onthe domestic markets, against which these producers are unable to compete, and balance ofpayments problems for the net food-importing countries when the prices of food commoditiesgo up; (b) potential abuses of market power in increasingly concentrated global food supplychains and further dualization of the domestic farming sector ; and (c) potential impacts onthe environment and on human health and nutrition, impacts that are usually ignored ininternational trade discussions, despite their close relationship to the right to adequate food.
The report proposes ways to reconcile trade with the right to food, addressing thefailure of global governance mechanisms to tackle the lack of coordination between humanrights obligations and trade commitments – a failure which mechanisms ensuring a bettercoordination at the domestic level may not be able to compensate for. The report invitesStates to assess the impacts of trade agreements on the right to food and ensure they do notaccept undertakings under the WTO framework which would be incompatible with theirright-to-food obligations.

Source:  UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food: Olivier De Schutter Original Publication Date:  4 February, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

EU raises stakes for US in biodiesel battle

Our World Is Not For Sale - 5 March, 2009 - 18:29

By Joshua Chaffin in Brussels and Alan Beattie in Washington
The European Union is gearing up to slap duties on imported US biodiesel inthe latest sign of rising trade tensions as world economies slump intorecession.
The so-called “anti-dumping” and “countervailing” duties, levied againstimports deemed to be priced unfairly low and receiving government subsidy,will be proposed by the European Commission at a meeting early next month.
The Commission’s preliminary findings suggest that the subsidies are pushingdown prices by between 89-99 US cents per gallon and that US companies areunderpricing by 10-82 cents a gallon, according to people involved in thecase. Biodiesel is currently about $2 per gallon. Duties to offset thesemargins would initially be imposed for a four-month period before theCommission made a final ruling on whether the subsidies contravened WTOrules.
The Commission launched in investigation in June after a complaint waslodged by the European Biodiesel Board, a trade group. It declined tocomment on the matter on Friday, beyond saying that its deadline to render ajudgment was March 13.
But the US National Biodiesel Board, which is trying to get the USadministration to launch a case against the EU at the WTO, said the onlyEuropean biodiesel companies suffering were those that had made bad businessdecisions.
“The European biodiesel industry is not being hurt by US competition,” saidManning Feraci, the board’s vice-president for federal affairs. “There areEuropean companies doing quite well, and the data on record in front of theCommission bear that out. We hope the true facts will be reflected in thefinal determination in this case.”
The complaint centres on a US law that grants domestic producers a $1 pergallon tax credit. European producers claim that results in a $250 per tonnecost advantage for US biodiesel – an advantage that was further increasedlast year by the weak dollar.
They have also complained about the so-called “splash-and-dash” trade –producers from Malaysia and elsewhere claiming the credit by adding aminimal amount of US biodiesel on the way to Europe.
US biodiesel exports to Europe have surged to more than 1m tonnes over thepast year, up from just 50,000 tonnes in 2006. They account for about €600m($770m) of the €5bn European market.
The US biodiesel industry says that small European producers far from portsare suffering because of high costs and inefficiencies, while some largercompanies are thriving.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

Source:  Financial Times Original Publication Date:  21 February, 2009
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

1 January, 1970 - 00:00