Planet Not For Sale

Letter to the U.S. Trade Representative on TTIP and procurement

Language:  English IATP author(s):  IATP File:  TTIP procurement letter.pdf Letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman on January 24, 2014 from 14 organizations including IATP expressing concerns over possible measures in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that could undermine our efforts to rebuild local food systems that are healthy, fair and sustainable.

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Defending Foreign Corporations' Privileges Is Hard, Especially When Looking At The Facts

Eyes on Trade - 11 November, 2014 - 16:47

Forbes just published this response from Lori Wallach and Ben Beachy (GTW director and research director) to a counterfactual Forbes opinion piece by John Brinkley in support of investor-state dispute settlement.  

Defending Foreign Corporations' Privileges Is Hard, Especially When Looking At The Facts

By Lori Wallach & Ben Beachy

 

Even those who support the controversial idea of a parallel legal system for foreign corporations, known as investor-state dispute settlement or ISDS, likely cringed at John Brinkley’s recent attempt to defend that system. (“Trade Dispute Settlement: Much Ado About Nothing,” October 16.)

In trying to justify trade agreement provisions that provide special rights and privileges to foreign firms to the disadvantage of their domestic competitors, Brinkley wrote 24 sentences with factual assertions. Seventeen of them were factually wrong.

To his credit, it is no easy task to defend a system that empowers foreign corporations to bypass domestic courts and laws to demand taxpayer compensation for domestic policies that apply equally to their local competitors, but that they claim frustrate special privileges granted to them as foreign investors. The cases are heard by extrajudicial tribunals not bound by precedent. Decisions are not subject to substantive appeal.

Brinkley’s mission was particularly difficult given how unpopular the ISDS system has become. Indeed, one reason that the CATO Institute has come out against ISDS is the realistic concern that its inclusion in the proposed trans-Pacific and transatlantic free trade pacts could derail those negotiations.

ISDS is risky to include in a transatlantic deal

In Europe, the incoming European Commission President and the Economic Minister of Germany have both indicated that they oppose including ISDS in the U.S.-EU deal. Whether one focuses on the threat to solvency or fair competition, it’s especially risky to include ISDS in a transatlantic deal. Doing so would newly empower more than 70,000 U.S. and EU subsidiaries of cross-registered firms to demand compensation based on special foreign investor privileges—an unprecedented increase in liability for both the United States and the EU.

Around the world, governments from Australia to South Africa have started to rebuke ISDS as studies have shown countries have failed to attract more FDI by enacting ISDS agreements, while governments—and their treasuries—have come under increasing ISDS attacks by foreign firms.

Only 50 cases were launched in the first three decades of ISDS pacts. But in each of the past three years more than 50 cases have been filed annually. The current stock of 568 ISDS cases includes demands for compensation over land use policies, tobacco controls, energy and financial regulations, pollution cleanup requirements, patent standards and other policies that apply equally to domestic firms, and that often have been approved by domestic high courts.

This trend and its threat to the rule of law have led esteemed jurists from free-trade-minded nations such as Singapore, New Zealand and Australia to join the U.S. National Conference of State Legislatures (which represents our states’ majority GOP-controlled legislatures) in opposing ISDS.

Reviewing the facts

In his quixotic effort to defend the ISDS system, Brinkley made a real mess of the facts. There’s not space to go through all 17 factual errors, but it’s important to correct his biggest blunders.

For instance, Brinkley argued, “What matters is not whether [the foreign corporations] can sue, but whether they can win.” He then proceeded to misstate the win record.

In fact, the United Nations figures on ISDS case outcomes, which Brinkley cited, show that foreign corporations have gained favorable rulings or settlements in 57 percent of the ISDS cases launched to date.

Foreign corporations have “won” against Canada’s ban on hazardous waste exports, the Czech Republic’s decision to not bail out a bank, a Mexican municipality’s decision to not allow the expansion of a contaminated toxic waste facility, and a Canadian requirement for any and all firms obtaining oil concessions to contribute to research and development in the affected province.

Foreign firms and the success of their ISDS cases

Foreign firms have also proven successful in using the threat of an ISDS case to extract favorable settlements, which often oblige governments to pay large sums to the foreign firms. A government paid $900 million to a firm in one recent ISDS settlement.

ISDS settlements have also led governments to alter policies challenged by foreign corporations. An ISDS case that a U.S. chemical company launched against Canada’s ban on a toxic gasoline additive – one currently also banned in the United States – resulted in Canada overturning the ban. In another ISDS settlement, the German city of Hamburg was obliged to roll back environmental requirements on a Swedish corporation’s coal-fired power plant.

Without explanation, Brinkley chose simply to ignore all of the ISDS cases that were settled in favor of the foreign firm, distorting his “scoreboard” of ISDS case outcomes. And he did not mention that even when governments “win,” they are still on the hook for high legal costs and tribunal fees associated with defending these cases – an average of $8 million per case.

Investor-state disputes vs. state-state disputes

Brinkley’s accounting became even more confused when he conflated investor-state disputes withstate-state disputes – and similarly made a mish-mash of our critique. Brinkley appears not to realize the difference between the ISDS system, in which any covered foreign corporation claiming to have an investment in a country can drag a government to an extrajudicial tribunal to challenge its policies, and trade agreement dispute settlement in which cases may only be brought by government signatories to pacts.

He stated, for example, that “the aggrieved foreign investor can turn to a dispute settlement body at the…WTO [World Trade Organization].” False. The WTO only allows governments – not foreign corporations – to bring cases against governments.

Brinkley then picked one state-state dispute that the United States lost at the WTO and wondered why the UN did not include it in its list of investor-state cases against the United States. He added the lost WTO state-state case to his tally of investor-statechallenges that the United States has faced to date, and summarized his hodgepodge U.S. win-loss record as, “we’ll say 13-1.”

Brinkley seems unaware that in fact the United States has lost 61 out of 67state-state cases brought against it at the WTO – a 91 percent loss rate.

As for investor-state cases brought against the United States, few such cases exist thanks to the reality that 52 of the 54 countries with which the United States has an ISDS-enforced pact are not major FDI exporters. Brinkley appears strangely unconcerned that the U.S. government plans to dramatically expand its investor-state liability under the U.S.-EU deal, which would open the door to foreign investor claims from 11 of the world’s 20 largest FDI exporters.

The Loewen fluke

Brinkley also cited an ISDS case that Loewen, a Canadian funeral home conglomerate, launched against the U.S. government over Mississippi’s jury trial system and the standard common-law requirement to post bond before pursuing an appeal. (Loewen had lost a state court case battle against a rival funeral home operator.)

Brinkley argued that because the tribunal dismissed Loewen’s ISDS claim, there is no cause for concern. But the tribunal actually supported a number of Loewen’s claims on the merits. It only dismissed the case without imposing a penalty on the U.S. government thanks to a remarkable fluke: Loewen’s lawyers reincorporated the firm as a U.S. company, thus destroying its ability to obtain compensation as a “foreign” investor.

Such luck should not be expected to continue, particularly if, under the U.S.-EU deal, foreign investor privileges are granted to thousands of European firms operating here.

Before we subject our national treasury, our domestic firms or our laws to an unprecedented expansion of ISDS liability, we should take a cold, hard look at the legacy to date of this extraordinary system. It would help to start with actual facts.

Ms. Wallach and Mr. Beachy are the director and research director, respectively, of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Categories: Planet Not For Sale

Big Meat Swallows the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Language:  English IATP author(s):  Ben Lilliston File:  2014_11_05_TTPBigMeat_BL.pdf Introduction The big meat corporations issued an ultimatum to Japan this summer: either drop different tariffs on all agriculture products or you should be kicked out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).1 The threat, coming from the dairy, pork, wheat and rice industries based in the U.S., represented the seriousness of what’s at stake for global agribusiness—and particularly the big meat corporations—in potentially the largest free trade agreement ever negotiated. The TPP has been called "NAFTA on steroids" for good reason. It includes the NAFTA countries (U.S., Mexico and Canada), as well as nine other Pacific Rim countries (Japan, Vietnam, Australia, Brunei Darussalam,...

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Working Landscapes Certificates™ and nonGMOplus™

Subtitle:  Supporting and certifying more sustainable agricultural production Language:  English IATP author(s):  Jim Kleinschmit File:  2014 WLC and nonGMOplus final_June 2014_f.pdf The Working Landscapes Certificate™ (WLC) program was created by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) in 2006 to allow the emerging biomaterials sector to directly support farmers producing crops in a more sustainable manner. WLC criteria start with a non-GMO requirement, but also include consideration of water and soil quality, pollinator protection, greenhouse gas emissions, and other sustainability concerns. Over the last eight years, the WLC program has been refined and expanded, including the development of an...

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What the 2014 Election Results Mean for Trade Policy

Eyes on Trade - 5 November, 2014 - 20:34

Fast Track’s Chances Diminished by GOP Senate Sweep; Obama Flexibility on Japan Agriculture Market Access in TPP Reduced; Bipartisan Campaigning Against Status Quo Trade Policy Heightens Public Awareness

The GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate probably reduces the chances that President Barack Obama gets Fast Track at all before his presidency is over or that a deal is completed on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). There has been a major corporate PR campaign to push the opposite narrative. However, a close look at the interplay of the actual politics and policy on Fast Track and the TPP show that the GOP election sweep may, counterintuitively, actually not promote the corporate trade agenda.

Fast Track: The issue is not who is Senate Majority leader. The fight over trade authority is always won or lost in the U.S. House of Representatives. Recall that second-term Democratic President Bill Clinton lost a bid for Fast Track in 1998 in the GOP-controlled House with 171 Democrats and 71 GOP members voting “no.” (Clinton had Fast Track for only two of his eight years. Indeed, in the past two decades, the only president to obtain Fast Track was President George W. Bush, and winning that five-year grant required a two-year effort at the start of Bush’s first term and a lot of political capital, after which Fast Track passed by one vote in a GOP-controlled House in 2002.)

The reason that the GOP controlling the Senate could make Fast Track’s passage less likely is related to who will now be writing a trade authority bill. The old Fast Track trade authority mechanism faces a significant bloc of GOP House opposition and virtually no House Democratic support. Outgoing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) had undertaken an inclusive process to get input to write his own version of trade authority, which he dubbed Smart Track. That process and its outcome could have broken the bipartisan House opposition to the old Fast Track system.

But neither incoming Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) nor the likely GOP Ways and Means Committee leader supports major changes to the old Fast Track authority delegation process. Indeed, the Camp-Baucus-Hatch bill to establish trade authority was finally introduced in January 2014 only because GOP Finance and Ways and Means leaders opposed even modest changes to the actual authority delegation process from the 2002 bill. Changes to the actual terms delegating congressional authorities are also opposed by the business lobby. Nor do Hatch or the Ways and Means GOP leaders have the inclination or the relationships to widen the base of support for a bill.

But altering the way in which Congress’ authority is delegated, to provide Congress with a more fulsome role throughout the process and with more accountability over negotiators, is necessary to build bipartisan House support for a new delegation of trade authority. Updates to negotiating objectives or the level of transparency required cannot overcome the issues at the core of the House allergy to Fast Track.

A significant bloc of House GOP does not want to delegate more power to Obama, especially as the GOP has been attacking him as the “imperial president” who grabs legislative authority for his own. Tea party activists oppose Fast Track per se and anything that empowers Obama, which leaves GOP lawmakers who support Fast Track exposed to the dreaded tea party primary threat. To make political matter worse, House GOP lawmakers know that even if the GOP votes were available to pass Fast Track on a party line vote, almost no Democrats will vote to give their own president such authority, so any fallout from future trade pacts would be owned solely by the GOP.

As a policy matter, many GOP conservatives think the lump sum delegation of various authorities granted to Congress in the Constitution busts vital checks and balances. (It empowers a president to “diplomatically legislate” by negotiating binding non-trade terms to which U.S. law must be conformed; to sign and enter into a trade pact before Congress approves it; to write legislation not subject to committee mark-up and force a vote on it within 90 days of submission; and to pre-set the rules for floor consideration.)

That is why, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) indicated no floor time would be provided for Fast Track this year, the Camp-Baucus-Hatch Fast Track bill (introduced Jan. 9, 2014) was already dead on arrival in the House:

  • There were literally only a handful of House Democrats who supported the bill: eight out of 201 members. And three of those eight conditioned their “yes” votes on the bill also extending Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which Hatch viscerally opposes.  
  • The House GOP leadership could not count more than 100 members as “yes” votes on the Camp-Baucus-Hatch bill. They had a bloc of members with solid “no” votes – some of whom signed letters against Fast Track in 2013 – and a large bloc who could not commit to vote “yes.” That is why the House GOP leadership never marked up the Camp-Baucus-Hatch bill or moved it toward a floor vote. And that is why House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in May he needed to see 50 firm Democrat votes before he would move the bill.

Reid’s announcement in January certainly made it more certain that the Camp-Baucus-Hatch Fast Track bill would not be moving. But even without Reid’s opposition, Boehner could never find the 50 Democrats he needed to make up for the GOP members he could not count as “yes” votes on the Camp-Baucus-Hatch bill.

And, the House election results do not appear to fix Boehner’s math problem. To fully assess what the new House makeup means for Fast Track, the dust will have to settle on the results to see whether it is a wash, slightly harder for Fast Track to pass (e.g., if a number of Fast Track-opposing tea party GOP candidates replaced GOP members who were for Fast Track) or slightly easier (e.g., if a lot of “Wall Street” GOP candidates replaced no-on-Fast-Track Democrats.)

One more way in which GOP control of the Senate complicates the path for trade authority: Hatch also hates TAA while Wyden supported expanding it. Adding TAA to the old Fast Track process does not add new Democratic support, but not having TAA could result in literally no House Democratic support. For instance, the House’s leading Democratic Fast Track boosters, U.S. Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) – among the eight House Democrats who supported the Camp-Baucus-Hatch Fast Track bill – said absent a TAA extension, they would not support it.

Thus, not having Wyden as Senate Finance Committee chairman actually decreases the chances that Obama will ever get a delegation of trade authority. But that would not be such a shocker anyway. Since Congress woke up to what Fast Track really means with the Fast-Tracked passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) almost 20 years ago, Congress has allowed Fast Track to be in effect for only five of the 20 years.

TPP: The election results may also complicate Obama’s goal of signing a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal. As the TPP misses yet another do-or-die deadline – this time a November date announced by Obama in June that was related to the imminent Asia-Pacific Economic Partnership (APEC) meeting – to get a deal, any deal, the administration might be ready to step back from its position regarding Japan and agriculture market access in the TPP. Except, the demand that the TPP include the zeroing of all agricultural tariff comes mainly from the Republicans, as does the call to throw Japan out of the TPP talks unless Japan concedes to this demand.

Both Parties Competed to Highlight Rejection of Unfair Trade in Competitive Races, Heightening Public Awareness and Further Complicating Obama’s Bid for Fast Track: Analysis of the most-watched races of the 2014 elections reveals bipartisan competition to align campaign positions with the American public’s opposition to current U.S. trade policies and the job offshoring they cause. A raft of ads spotlighting the damage caused by status quo trade policies has heightened constituents’ anger about damaging trade deals and the expectation that their newly elected representatives will reject the administration’s attempt to Fast Track more of the same deals.

Some of 2014’s most high-profile races featured both candidates competing to portray themselves as the greater opponent of unfair trade. Republican challengers sought to outdo the fair-trade voting records of Democratic incumbents by proclaiming their own rejection of existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), while the incumbents touted their votes against the FTAs and their opposition to Fast Track.

Incumbents who could not themselves claim a fair trade record still campaigned with the trade frame by attacking their opponents on offshoring, voicing opposition to tax policies that incentivize offshoring or citing instances of being “tough on China.” Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), with a 100 percent record of supporting unfair trade deals, was obliged to create and air an ad claiming he “fought against unfair foreign trade” after multiple ads attacked him for supporting damaging trade deals and costing American jobs.

Closely watched races in which both candidates vied to portray themselves as a stronger opponent of unfair trade included:

  • Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District – Nolan vs. Mills: In the closely fought race for Minnesota’s eighth district seat – one of the most competitive races in this election cycle – incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) turned around a likely GOP pick-up after vying with Republican Stewart Mills to declare greater opposition to status quo trade. This race spotlights the difficulty Obama’s quest for Fast Track authority will face in the next Congress, as conservative GOP members campaigned against the trade status quo and thus will be expected by their voters to stop more-of-the-same trade policies. In one ad, Mills tried to convert popular rejection of existing FTAs into rejection of incumbents, blaming “politicians like Rick” for “trade deals that reward outsourcers, while killing Minnesota jobs.” Nolan, who was not in office during the votes for any existing FTAs, touted his own opposition to unfair deals. Nolan’s campaign website stated that he “has fought against ‘fast-tracking’ the ongoing TPP trade negotiations, and will continue to stand up for fair trade.” Nolan was one of 151 House Democrats to sign a letter last year against Fast Tracking the TPP. Voters opted for Nolan, who trumped Mills.
  • U.S. Senate in Michigan – Peters vs. Land: In the competitive Michigan U.S. Senate race between U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Terri Lynn Land (R), both candidates competed to make known their opposition to unpopular trade deals. Competing against Peters’ 100 percent record of opposition to FTAs, Land sought to flaunt her own anti-FTA position, stating in an ad, “My plan will save Michigan jobs by ending unfair foreign trade deals and developing new agreements that open up markets for Michigan exports.” Michigan has lost more than 250,000 manufacturing jobs (about one out of every three) since NAFTA was enacted. Peters’ campaign website touted his own fair trade record, stating, “He has stood up for Michigan manufacturers and opposed any new trade deal that does not require our foreign trading partners play by the same rules as American companies.” In the end, Peters beat Land handily although the race had long been deemed a tossup.
  • U.S. Senate in Kentucky – McConnell vs. Grimes: Trade loomed large in this headline-grabbing race between McConnell and his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. The Senate Majority PAC launched an ad that showed video footage of McConnell expressing support for NAFTA, and stated, “Mitch McConnell’s been tragically wrong about foreign trade deals. They’ve cost America over half a million jobs.” Another Senate Majority PAC ad criticized McConnell for “pushing foreign trade deals that send Kentucky jobs to new homes far away.” As his numbers plummeted in the early fall, McConnell’s campaign ultimately was forced to respond by adopting the same frame used against him, claiming in an ad that McConnell “fought against unfair foreign trade,” despite having cast 20 out of 20 votes in favor of unfair trade since 1991. McConnell beat Grimes after running against his own voting record. 
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World Trade Organization Rules Against Popular U.S. Country-of-Origin Meat Labels on Which Consumers Rely

Eyes on Trade - 20 October, 2014 - 17:38

Compliance Panel Says U.S. Policy Still Violates WTO Despite Changes Made to Comply With 2012 WTO Order; U.S. Should Not Change COOL Policy

Today’s ruling by a World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance panel against U.S. country-of-origin meat labeling (COOL) policies sets up a no-win dynamic, and the Obama administration should appeal the ruling, Public Citizen said.

If the administration were to weaken COOL, U.S. consumers would lose access to critical information about where their meat comes from at a time when consumer interest in such information is at an all-time high and opposition would only grow to the administration’s beleaguered trade agenda. If the administration again were to seek to comply with the WTO by strengthening COOL, then Mexico and Canada – the two countries that challenged the policy – likely would continue their case, even though cattle imports from Canada have increased since the 2013 strengthening of the policy. 

The ruling further complicates the Obama administration’s stalled efforts to obtain Fast Track trade authority for two major agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. Both of these pacts would expose the United States to more such challenges against U.S. consumer, environmental and other policies.

“Many Americans will be shocked that the WTO can order our government to deny U.S. consumers the basic information about where their food comes from and that if the information policy is not gutted, we could face millions in sanctions every year,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Today’s ruling spotlights how these so called ‘trade’ deals are packed with non-trade provisions that threaten our most basic rights, such as even knowing the source and safety of what’s on our dinner plate.”

The WTO compliance panel decided that changes made in May 2013 to the original U.S. COOL policy in an effort to make it comply with a 2012 WTO ruling against the law are not acceptable and that the modified U.S. COOL policy still constitutes a “technical barrier to trade.” The panel decided that the strengthened COOL policy afforded less favorable treatment to cattle and hog imports from Canada and Mexico, despite a 52 percent increase in U.S. imports of cattle from Canada under the modified policy. The panel stated that the alleged difference in treatment did not “stem exclusively from legitimate regulatory distinctions.”

The United States has one chance to appeal this decision before the WTO issues a final, binding ruling. Under WTO rules, if the U.S. appeal fails, Canada and Mexico would be authorized to impose indefinite trade sanctions against the United States unless or until the U.S. government changes or eliminates the popular labeling policy.

Today’s ruling follows a string of recent WTO rulings against popular U.S. consumer and environmental policies. In May 2012, the WTO ruled against voluntary “dolphin-safe” tuna labels that, by allowing consumers to choose to buy tuna caught without dolphin-killing fishing practices, have helped to dramatically reduce dolphin deaths. In April 2012, the WTO ruled against a U.S. ban on clove-, candy- and chocolate-flavored cigarettes, enacted to curb youth smoking. In each of those cases, U.S. policy changes made to comply with the WTO’s decisions also have been challenged before WTO panels similar to the one that issued today’s ruling.

“The WTO again ruling against a popular U.S. consumer protection will just spur the growing public and congressional concerns about the big Pacific and European trade deals the administration is now pushing and the Fast Track authority to railroad through Congress more agreements that undermine basic consumer rights,” said Wallach.

Background

The COOL policy was created when Congress enacted mandatory country-of-origin labeling for meat – supported by 92 percent of the U.S. public in a recent poll – in the 2008 farm bill. This occurred after 50 years of U.S. government experimentation with voluntary labeling and efforts by U.S. consumer groups to institute a mandatory program.

In their successful challenge of COOL at the WTO, Canada and Mexico claimed that the program violated WTO limits on what sorts of product-related “technical regulations” signatory countries are permitted to enact. The initial WTO ruling was issued in November 2011. Canada and Mexico demanded that the United States drop its mandatory labels in favor of a return to a voluntary program or standards set by an international food standards body in which numerous international food companies play a central role. Neither option would offer U.S. consumers the same level of information as the current labels. The United States appealed.

The WTO Appellate Body sided with Mexico and Canada in a June 2012 ruling against COOL. The U.S. government responded to the final WTO ruling by altering the policy in a way that fixed the problems identified by the WTO tribunal. However, instead of watering down the popular program as Mexico and Canada sought, the U.S. Department of Agriculture responded with a rule change in May 2013 that strengthened the labeling regime. The new policy provided more country-of-origin information to consumers, which satisfied the issues raised in the WTO’s ruling. However, Mexico and Canada then challenged the new U.S. policy. With today’s ruling, the WTO has announced its support for the Mexican and Canadian contention that the U.S. law is still not consistent with the WTO rules.

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A Trade Storm Is Brewing

Eyes on Trade - 17 October, 2014 - 18:08

At the beginning of the year, we warned you about the upcoming trade tsunami. Well hold on to your hats everyone, because another “trade” storm is heading our way.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators are meeting in Australia this month and are aiming to finish the massive 12-country “trade” agreement.

Despite mounting evidence that the TPP should not be completed — including the leak of another part of the top-secret text earlier this week — President Barack Obama wants the TPP done by November 11. That is when he will be meeting with other TPP-country heads of state in China at the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference.

With the TPP’s threats to food safety, Internet freedom, affordable medicine prices, financial regulations, anti-fracking policies, and more, it’s hard to overstate the damage this deal would have on our everyday lives.

But the TPP isn’t the only threat we currently face. We are also up against the TPP’s equally ugly step-sisters: TAFTA and TISA. And Obama wants to revive the undemocratic, Nixon-era Fast Track trade authority that would railroad all three pacts through Congress.

The Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) is not yet as far along as the TPP, but TAFTA negotiations recently took place in Washington, D.C., and more are set for a few weeks from now in Brussels. The largest U.S. and EU corporations have been pushing for TAFTA since the 1990s. Their goal is to use the agreement to weaken the strongest food safety and GMO labeling rules, consumer privacy protections, hazardous chemicals restrictions and more on either side of the Atlantic. They call this “harmonizing” regulations across the Atlantic. But really it would mean imposing a lowest common denominator of consumer and environmental safeguards.

The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) is a proposed deal among the United States and more than 20 other countries that would limit countries’ regulation of the service sector. At stake is a roll back of the improved financial regulations created after the global financial crisis; limits on energy, transportation other policies needed to combat the climate crisis; and privatization of public services — from water utilities and government healthcare programs to aspects of public education.

TPP, TAFTA and TISA represent the next generation of corporate-driven “trade” deals. Ramming these dangerous deals through Congress is also Obama’s impetus to push for Fast Track. Fast Track gives Congress’ constitutional authority over trade to the president, allowing him to sign a trade deal before Congress votes on it and then railroad the deal through Congress in 90 days with limited debate and no amendments. Obama opposed Fast Track as a candidate. But now he is seeking to revive this dangerous procedural gimmick.

Because of your great work, we’ve managed to fend off Fast Track so far. This time last year, the U.S. House of Representatives released a flurry of letters showing opposition to Fast Track from most Democrats, and a wide swath of Republicans. This is something the other side was not expecting, and they were shocked. We won that round, but Obama and the corporate lobby are getting ready for the final push.

Because Fast Track is so unpopular in the House, Speaker John Boehner has a devious plan to force the bill through Congress in the “lame duck” session after the November elections. We need to make sure our “ducks” are in a row before that.

Some members of Congress are working on a replacement for Fast Track. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) says he will create what he calls “Smart Track.” It is not yet clear if this will be the real Fast Track replacement we so desperately need, or just another Fast Track in disguise.

Sen. Wyden will want to be ready to introduce his Smart Track bill right as the new Congress starts in January 2015. This means we have only a couple of months left to make sure his replacement guarantees Congress a steering wheel and an emergency brake for runaway “trade” deals.

With all these deadlines drawing near, it’s clear that a knock-down, drag-out fight is imminent. But we will be ready. The TPP missed deadlines for completion in 2011, 2012, and 2013 — if we keep up the pressure, we can add 2014 to that list as well. That’s why there will be a TPP/TAFTA/TISA international week of action Nov 8-14 — more details coming soon!

Categories: Planet Not For Sale

The TPP Would Enroll More Online Spies

Eyes on Trade - 16 October, 2014 - 14:35

By Alberto Cerda, founding member of the Chilean organization Derechos Digitales (Digital Rights)

This article was published this morning (in Spanish) on the Derechos Digitales website here: https://www.derechosdigitales.org/7990/el-tpp-recluta-mas-espionaje-electronico/.


As if we don’t have enough spying on Internet users, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes draft rules that would increase significantly the role of online service providers in keeping an eye on their users, under the pretext of combatting copyright piracy. Even if you are not an infringer, your Internet service provider (ISP) will be watching you, just in case.

The TPP is a so-called trade agreement being negotiated by the U.S. and eleven countries around the Pacific Rim. The TPP would establish binding rules for domestic policies in several fields, from agricultural goods and services to investment and public procurement. The agreement also includes new rules for enforcing intellectual property on the Internet, modeled to some extent on current U.S. law, but in an unbalanced way that fails to incorporate crucial safeguards or allow for policy evolution in the digital environment.

Draft rules under negotiation would impose on Internet service providers a legal obligation to fight against online copyright infringement. This obligation is embodied in several provisions, which would require, for example, ISPs to communicate to their users any supposed infringement committed through their accounts, take down from the Internet information that supposedly infringes on copyright, and collect information that allows identification of users that supposedly have infringed the law.[1]

For most non-American users, these rules are new and raise a number of significant concerns about their potential abuse and misuse by the government, corporations and the big content industry.

For American users, these rules may look similar to the heavily criticized Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). But the difference is that these rules may go beyond current U.S. law – and as part of a trade agreement they would be much more difficult to overturn, because of being enforceable under international trade law – if U.S. citizens opposed the new rules, Congress wouldn’t be able to repeal them without exposing the country to possible trade sanctions.

Under current U.S. law, companies that provide Internet services are required to participate in enforcing copyright law or risk being held liable for their users’ infringement. This means that companies like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon are required to help enforce the copyrights of the recording and motion picture industries, for example, against their own users who are purported to have infringed upon a copyright. The TPP would take this a step further by enrolling new groups to spy on us by collecting online data about their users.

First, the TPP includes provisions that would extend spying obligations not only to entities that provide Internet services, but to “any person,” thus, not only Internet-related companies would be required to enforce the law, but “any person,” whether human or otherwise.[2] Rights holders would likely interpret this obligation as applying to the manager of a free-wifi zone at Starbucks or your favorite neighborhood cafe, to public libraries and schools, as well as to that neighbor of yours who shares her wifi by keeping it accessible and open.

Second, TPP provisions do not seem to limit this spying to the Internet. Instead they refer to online providers,[3] which may extend the scope of the law to other digital networks, such as intranets and private networks. What does this mean? It means that not only ISPs would be spying on you by collecting user data to protect Hollywood’s copyrights, but also other providers of online services, like the private network you use at your workplace, at your university, or even at your kid’s school, even if those networks do not provide actual access to or from the Internet.

Although the TPP states that Internet service providers would not be required by law to “monitor” users, it encourages this practice.[4] Therefore, the TPP would leave open the door for private agreements between copyright holders (such as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America) and Internet companies for enforcing the law against Internet users (for example, see the Center for Copyright Information).[5] This raises concerns about powerful content industry players working together to promote abusive practices to enforce their interests against supposed infringers, since, in order to prevent any liability, online service providers may collaborate with rights holders to enforce copyrights beyond what is required by the law.[6]

In sum, the TPP would impose new obligations for spying on Internet users under the guise of enforcing copyright. This should raise concerns not only among countries that currently lack such regulations, but also among U.S. citizens, because the TPP would expand the online spy network at home.

 

[1] TPP, Intellectual Property [Rights] Chapter, Addendum III, number  4.

[2] TPP, Intellectual Property [Rights] Chapter, Addendum III, footnote 237.

[3] TPP, Intellectual Property [Rights] Chapter, Addendum III, footnote 237.

[4] TPP, Intellectual Property [Rights] Chapter, Addendum III, number 5.

[5] http://www.copyrightinformation.org/about-cci/

[6] TPP, Intellectual Property [Rights] Chapter, Addendum III, number 1.

Categories: Planet Not For Sale

Growing Controversy over Investor-State Corporate Privileges in U.S.-EU Deal

Eyes on Trade - 10 October, 2014 - 22:48

Opposition to the once arcane “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) system has ballooned. ISDS empowers foreign corporations to bypass domestic courts, challenge governments’ public interest policies before extrajudicial tribunals and demand compensation.

Widespread resistance to ISDS has pushed the Obama administration to become increasingly defensive about its plan to expand the regime through a proposed Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) with the European Union (EU). The administration recently published a justification for its push for ISDS. We will address the claims made in that document on this blog over the coming weeks (for a full rebuttal to these claims, click here for our new report).  

The administration’s attempt to quell the controversy surrounding the proposed expansion of ISDS via TAFTA was recently complicated when German government officials made clear that even EU member states do not want the deal to include a parallel legal system for corporations to privately enforce sweeping investor rights. TAFTA must be approved by the 28 EU member states, including Germany.

One day before the Obama administration published its ISDS defense document, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel warned the European Commission that Germany may oppose TAFTA if ISDS is included in the pact. On March 26, 2014 Gabriel wrote to EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, “From the perspective of the [German] federal government, the United States and Germany already have sufficient legal protection in the national courts,” and Germany “has already made clear its position that specific dispute settlement provisions are not necessary in the EU-U.S. trade deal.” 

Gabriel’s remarks echo the official anti-ISDS position of the Socialists and Democrats Group, the second largest bloc in the European Parliament, which also must approve TAFTA. The bloc explicitly opposes the inclusion of ISDS in TAFTA out of concern that it would empower foreign firms to undermine health and environmental policies.

Facing mounting governmental and popular rejection of ISDS, the European Commission has sought to make clear that it is the Obama administration that is demanding its inclusion in TAFTA. One week after Gabriel first indicated Germany’s opposition to ISDS in TAFTA, De Gucht clarified that the EU had actually already formally proposed to U.S. negotiators that ISDS be excluded, but that the U.S. government continued to insist on its inclusion: “If the United States agreed to simply drop it [ISDS]…so be it…But they don’t. I’ve already submitted it [the idea] to them, and they don’t.” 

The new President-elect of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has already suggested that he opposes ISDS in TAFTA, stating in the TAFTA section of his official policy agenda, “Nor will I accept that the jurisdiction of courts in the EU Member States is limited by special regimes for investor disputes.” The Obama administration, however, has shown no change in its insistence that ISDS be included in the deal.

The Obama administration has also become increasingly isolated at home in pushing for ISDS, as libertarian and Tea Party groups have expressed ISDS opposition alongside the labor, environmental, consumer, health and other organizations that represent the President’s base. In March the libertarian CATO Institute, for example, published an article entitled “A Compromise to Advance the Trade Agenda: Purge Negotiations of Investor-State Dispute Settlement.” 

U.S. state and local governing bodies have also made clear that they see investor-state provisions as a threat to their autonomy and basic tenets of federalism. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan association representing U.S. state legislatures, many of which are GOP-controlled,  has repeatedly approved a formal position plainly stating that NCSL will oppose any pact that contains ISDS.

Another major complication for the administration’s defense of ISDS is the crescendo of increasingly audacious investor-state cases and rulings seen in recent years. As one policy area after another has come under attack in ISDS cases, opposition to the regime has steadily grown.

Take, for example, the investor-state cases that U.S. tobacco giant Philip Morris International has launched against Uruguay’s tobacco regulations and Australia’s cigarette plain packaging law to curb smoking. The measures have been praised by the World Health Organization as leading public health initiatives. They apply equally to domestic and foreign firms and products. Australia’s highest court ruled against Philip Morris in the firm’s domestic lawsuit against the policies. But using ISDS, Philip Morris is demanding compensation from the two governments, claiming that the public health measures expropriate the corporation’s investments in violation of investor rights established in Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs).

In another highly contentious case, Vattenfall, a Swedish energy firm that operates nuclear plants in Germany, has levied an investor-state claim for at least $1 billion against Germany for its decision to phase out nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. This comes after Vattenfall successfully used another investor-state case to push Germany to roll back environmental requirements for a coal-fired power plant owned by the corporation. 

Such extrajudicial attacks on nondiscriminatory public interest policies have made clear to the public and legislators that the standard defense of ISDS – that it is a commonsense means for foreign investors to obtain fair treatment if they are discriminated against – does not comport with the reality of the regime, fueling broader ISDS opposition.

Stay tuned for more on the growing controversy surrounding the proposed expansion of the investor-state system via TAFTA, and the Obama administration's weak defenses of the regime. 

Categories: Planet Not For Sale

DECLARACIÓN sobre NAMA

Our World Is Not For Sale - 29 April, 2009 - 20:09
Currently accepting signatories:  Accept signatories AttachmentSize OWINFS_NAMA_final_es.zip7.76 KB

DECLARACIÓN sobre NAMA
Red Nuestro Mundo No Está en Venta (OWINFS)

¡No permitamos que la OMC destruya las industrias de los países en desarrollo y subaste nuestros recursos naturales!

Mucha gente sabe que la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC)
abre los mercados de los servicios y la agricultura con efectos
negativos para los agricultores, los servicios públicos y el
medioambiente en todo el mundo. Pero la OMC ahora quiere poner a la
venta el resto del planeta, a través de un nuevo acuerdo sobre Acceso a
los Mercados para los Productos No Agrícolas (conocido como NAMA por su
sigla en inglés) que se está negociando actualmente como parte de la
‘Ronda Doha’ de negociaciones comerciales, y mediante el cual los
gobiernos pretenden liberalizar todos los sectores restantes de la vida económica de nuestras sociedades.

El acuerdo NAMA contiene propuestas que restringirían severamente
la capacidad de los gobiernos para ejecutar políticas nacionales de
interés público y por el bien común, incluso políticas diseñadas para
apoyar a los productores de los países del Sur generalmente más débiles
y de menor porte. También podría obligar a los países que aplican los
aranceles más altos (es decir, la mayoría de los países en desarrollo)
a realizar los recortes más profundos y los mayores compromisos, aun
cuando eso podría debilitar a industrias y sectores económicos clave en
esos países. Si a esto se le suma el hecho que la OMC efectivamente
‘encierra’ sin salida a los países mediante estos acuerdos de libre
comercio, queda muy claro que el NAMA representa una amenaza muy grande
para los países que ya están bregando por desarrollar sus economías y
sortear la carga injusta e insostenible de la deuda externa.

Nosotros, las organizaciones abajo firmantes, estamos unidos en
oposición a este nuevo intento de abrir mercados para beneficio de las
empresas transnacionales y a costa de la pequeña y mediana industria y
productores, las economías y culturas locales y el medioambiente. Hay
que frenar las propuestas de NAMA y llevar a cabo estudios exhaustivos
sobre los potenciales efectos sociales, ambientales, sobre el empleo y
en materia de desarrollo y equidad de género.

Por eso exhortamos a los gobiernos a:

  • Detener las negociaciones sobre el NAMA y acordar al
    realización de una revisión exhaustiva e independiente acerca de los
    efectos potenciales del NAMA para el desarrollo económico, la
    diversificación productiva industrial de los países en desarrollo, el
    medioambiente y el bienestar social (incluidos empleo, salud y equidad
    de género);
  • Reconocer y garantizar el espacio político
    necesario y las flexibilidades con que deben contar los gobiernos,
    preservando su derecho a emplear herramientas políticas, incluso
    medidas comerciales cuyo fin sea generar economías justas y
    sustentables, proteger y promover el empleo, el bienestar social, la
    salud y el medioambiente al tiempo que se garantiza la participación de
    la ciudadanía;
  • Fomentar la conservación y el manejo
    sustentable de los recursos naturales incluso mediante la decisión de
    frenar la liberalización del comercio de bienes tales como los bosques,
    los peces, el petróleo, el gas, los metales y los minerales.  

Efectos del NAMA en la industria y el desempleo de los países en desarrollo

  • El recorte general y acelerado de los aranceles de
    importación y otras medidas propuestas en el marco del acuerdo sobre el
    NAMA amenazan con impedir la industrialización de los países en
    desarrollo, a los cuales no se les permitiría proteger a sus
    vulnerables industrias locales contra la competencia de  grandes
    empresas extranjeras transnacionales que pueden producir masivamente
    grandes cantidades de productos baratos (siendo que los países hoy
    industrializados emplearon frugalmente medidas de comercio cuando sus
    propias industrias nacionales necesitaban ese tipo de apoyo para
    desarrollarse).
  • El cierre  de industrias y pequeños
    talleres locales como consecuencia de la presión que suponen las
    importaciones a precios más bajos llevaría a incrementar el desempleo.
    La liberalización del comercio impuesta por el FMI-Banco Mundial 
    mediante sus programas de ajuste estructural ya tuvo efectos
    desastrosos para el empleo en África, Asia y algunos países de América
    Latina.
  • Combinada con la des-industrialización, la
    liberalización de los recursos naturales prevista por el NAMA (que
    incluiría la pesca, la minería y los bosques y la silvicultura) también
    podría empujar a los países a una mayor dependencia de la exportación
    de materias primas que generan relativamente pocas ganancias, en lugar
    de contribuir a la diversificación de sus economías.  Cualquier aumento
    del volumen de captura en la pesca sería especialmente dañino, ya que
    conduciría a índices crecientes de desempleo, pobreza y desnutrición
    para los miles de millones de personas que dependen de los recursos
    marinos para su alimentación y sustento.
  • Los países en
    desarrollo también se verían privados de los ingresos que hoy perciben
    por concepto de aranceles comerciales (impuestos aduaneros). Esto es de
    importancia capital, ya que muchos de esos gobiernos dependen en buena
    medida de esos ingresos para costear servicios sociales esenciales.
  • El acuerdo sobre el NAMA empujaría asimismo a los países en desarrollo
    a una situación en la que tendrían que importar más, al mismo tiempo
    que exportarían menos a consecuencia de la des-industrialización,
    generándoles así crecientes déficit comercial y un deterioro sostenido
    de su balanza externa de pagos.

Explotación creciente de recursos naturales

Las negociaciones sobre el NAMA representan una seria amenaza
general al medioambiente, y la mayoría de los países ignoran los
efectos ambientales y sociales adversos que supondría potencialmente la
liberalización del comercio en materias primas. Todos los
recursos naturales están incluidos en las negociaciones del NAMA –y
algunos sectores como la pesca y la minería de oro, de diamantes y
aluminio incluso están propuestos para su liberalización completa.

  • La liberalización creciente de las materias primas podría
    conllevar mayor explotación y comercio de recursos naturales escasos, y
    privar a los gobiernos de su capacidad para emplear medidas comerciales
    a fin de administrar sus reservas de manera sustentable y por el bien
    común.
  • El acuerdo sobre el NAMA podría restringir el uso
    de aranceles u otras herramientas comerciales en manos de los gobiernos
    para preservar los medios de sustento de millones de pescadores
    artesanales en todo el mundo y garantizar que los pueblos de los países
    en desarrollo puedan seguir contando con la pesca como fuente
    importante de proteínas.
  • Los gobiernos tendrían menos
    espacio para utilizar medidas comerciales con el fin de proteger
    poblaciones de peces en peligro de extinción. Al mismo tiempo, la
    liberalización del comercio podría fortalecer aún más a las industrias
    de procesamiento de pescado y acuicultura, sin tener en cuenta los
    impactos sobre los derechos humanos y la contaminación de los ambientes
    costeros.

Leyes nacionales y espacio para la formulación de políticas en riesgo

Muchos gobiernos están usando el acuerdo sobre el NAMA y otras
negociaciones en el seno de la OMC para atacar legítimas normas no
comerciales de protección del medioambiente, el bienestar social y la
salud en todas partes. Ellos sostienen que estas llamadas “barreras al
comercio” obstruyen de algún modo las exportaciones de las empresas
transnacionales. Hay leyes sobre alimentos y medicinas, pesca, madera y
petróleo, eficiencia energética, pruebas químicas, reciclaje y normas
de calidad de las industrias electrónica y automotriz que han sido
colocadas en la lista como parte de las negociaciones de NAMA,
aparentemente por orden directa de las empresas que seguramente se
beneficiarán con su eliminación. Este ataque concertado a las
reglamentaciones hace caso omiso de la necesidad de utilizar normas
legales para proteger y promover la salud y bienestar de la ciudadanía,
conservar los recursos naturales y frenar el cambio climático.

Conclusiones 

Las negociaciones sobre el NAMA se están llevando a un ritmo tan
veloz que impide la participación efectiva de los gobiernos con menos
recursos y personal, y más aún que estos realicen los estudios
necesarios sobre el impacto potencial de un nuevo acuerdo de NAMA en
sus economías, los trabajadores y el medioambiente. Aun cuando los
Países Menos Adelantados disponen de algunas exoneraciones limitadas en
la actual ronda de negociaciones, ellas no son suficientes para
garantizar su desarrollo futuro.

En realidad, lo que se pretende imponer ahora es exactamente
contrapuesto al acuerdo para el “desarrollo” que  le vendieron a los
países en desarrollo en la Conferencia Ministerial de la OMC en Doha en
2001. En esa reunión, a los países en desarrollo se les prometió que no
tendrían que ceder tanto como los países más ricos. Pero en las
negociaciones actuales sobre el NAMA se les está exigiendo realizar
mayores “ajustes” y adaptaciones que a los países altamente
industrializados, y tomar riesgos mucho mayores respecto de su
producción actual y sus perspectivas futuras de desarrollo. Los
ministros de comercio de los países del África, el Caribe y el Pacífico
(ACP) ya han expresado claramente que les “preocupa que las
propuestas contenidas en el texto de Derbez y su anexo sobre [los
textos de negociación de] el NAMA … profundizarán aún más la crisis de
la des-industrialización y acentuarán el desempleo y la crisis de la
pobreza en nuestros países
”. Sin embargo, a pesar de estas
declaraciones de evidente preocupación, sus puntos de vista han sido
descaradamente ignorados por los países industrializados y los
responsables de forzar el avance de estas propuestas extremas. No se
puede permitir que esta situación continúe.  Por eso exhortamos a los
gobiernos a:

  • Detener las negociaciones sobre el NAMA y acordar al
    realización de una revisión exhaustiva e independiente acerca de los
    efectos potenciales del NAMA para el desarrollo económico, la
    diversificación productiva industrial de los países en desarrollo, el
    medioambiente y el bienestar social (incluidos empleo, salud y equidad
    de género);
  • Reconocer y garantizar el espacio político
    necesario y las flexibilidades con que deben contar los gobiernos,
    preservando su derecho a emplear herramientas políticas, incluso
    medidas comerciales cuyo fin sea generar economías justas y
    sustentables, proteger y promover el empleo, el bienestar social, la
    salud y el medioambiente al tiempo que se garantiza la participación de
    la ciudadanía;
  • Fomentar la conservación y el manejo
    sustentable de los recursos naturales incluso mediante la decisión de
    frenar la liberalización del comercio de bienes tales como los bosques,
    los peces, el petróleo, el gas, los metales y los minerales.
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

DECLARACIÓN sobre NAMA

Our World Is Not For Sale - 29 April, 2009 - 20:06
Currently accepting signatories:  Accept signatories

DECLARACIÓN sobre NAMA
Red Nuestro Mundo No Está en Venta (OWINFS)

¡No permitamos que la OMC destruya las industrias de los países en desarrollo y subaste nuestros recursos naturales!

Mucha gente sabe que la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC)
abre los mercados de los servicios y la agricultura con efectos
negativos para los agricultores, los servicios públicos y el
medioambiente en todo el mundo. Pero la OMC ahora quiere poner a la
venta el resto del planeta, a través de un nuevo acuerdo sobre Acceso a
los Mercados para los Productos No Agrícolas (conocido como NAMA por su
sigla en inglés) que se está negociando actualmente como parte de la
‘Ronda Doha’ de negociaciones comerciales, y mediante el cual los
gobiernos pretenden liberalizar todos los sectores restantes de la vida económica de nuestras sociedades.

El acuerdo NAMA contiene propuestas que restringirían severamente
la capacidad de los gobiernos para ejecutar políticas nacionales de
interés público y por el bien común, incluso políticas diseñadas para
apoyar a los productores de los países del Sur generalmente más débiles
y de menor porte. También podría obligar a los países que aplican los
aranceles más altos (es decir, la mayoría de los países en desarrollo)
a realizar los recortes más profundos y los mayores compromisos, aun
cuando eso podría debilitar a industrias y sectores económicos clave en
esos países. Si a esto se le suma el hecho que la OMC efectivamente
‘encierra’ sin salida a los países mediante estos acuerdos de libre
comercio, queda muy claro que el NAMA representa una amenaza muy grande
para los países que ya están bregando por desarrollar sus economías y
sortear la carga injusta e insostenible de la deuda externa.

Nosotros, las organizaciones abajo firmantes, estamos unidos en
oposición a este nuevo intento de abrir mercados para beneficio de las
empresas transnacionales y a costa de la pequeña y mediana industria y
productores, las economías y culturas locales y el medioambiente. Hay
que frenar las propuestas de NAMA y llevar a cabo estudios exhaustivos
sobre los potenciales efectos sociales, ambientales, sobre el empleo y
en materia de desarrollo y equidad de género.

Por eso exhortamos a los gobiernos a:

  • Detener las negociaciones sobre el NAMA y acordar al
    realización de una revisión exhaustiva e independiente acerca de los
    efectos potenciales del NAMA para el desarrollo económico, la
    diversificación productiva industrial de los países en desarrollo, el
    medioambiente y el bienestar social (incluidos empleo, salud y equidad
    de género);
  • Reconocer y garantizar el espacio político
    necesario y las flexibilidades con que deben contar los gobiernos,
    preservando su derecho a emplear herramientas políticas, incluso
    medidas comerciales cuyo fin sea generar economías justas y
    sustentables, proteger y promover el empleo, el bienestar social, la
    salud y el medioambiente al tiempo que se garantiza la participación de
    la ciudadanía;
  • Fomentar la conservación y el manejo
    sustentable de los recursos naturales incluso mediante la decisión de
    frenar la liberalización del comercio de bienes tales como los bosques,
    los peces, el petróleo, el gas, los metales y los minerales.  

Efectos del NAMA en la industria y el desempleo de los países en desarrollo

  • El recorte general y acelerado de los aranceles de
    importación y otras medidas propuestas en el marco del acuerdo sobre el
    NAMA amenazan con impedir la industrialización de los países en
    desarrollo, a los cuales no se les permitiría proteger a sus
    vulnerables industrias locales contra la competencia de  grandes
    empresas extranjeras transnacionales que pueden producir masivamente
    grandes cantidades de productos baratos (siendo que los países hoy
    industrializados emplearon frugalmente medidas de comercio cuando sus
    propias industrias nacionales necesitaban ese tipo de apoyo para
    desarrollarse).
  • El cierre  de industrias y pequeños
    talleres locales como consecuencia de la presión que suponen las
    importaciones a precios más bajos llevaría a incrementar el desempleo.
    La liberalización del comercio impuesta por el FMI-Banco Mundial 
    mediante sus programas de ajuste estructural ya tuvo efectos
    desastrosos para el empleo en África, Asia y algunos países de América
    Latina.
  • Combinada con la des-industrialización, la
    liberalización de los recursos naturales prevista por el NAMA (que
    incluiría la pesca, la minería y los bosques y la silvicultura) también
    podría empujar a los países a una mayor dependencia de la exportación
    de materias primas que generan relativamente pocas ganancias, en lugar
    de contribuir a la diversificación de sus economías.  Cualquier aumento
    del volumen de captura en la pesca sería especialmente dañino, ya que
    conduciría a índices crecientes de desempleo, pobreza y desnutrición
    para los miles de millones de personas que dependen de los recursos
    marinos para su alimentación y sustento.
  • Los países en
    desarrollo también se verían privados de los ingresos que hoy perciben
    por concepto de aranceles comerciales (impuestos aduaneros). Esto es de
    importancia capital, ya que muchos de esos gobiernos dependen en buena
    medida de esos ingresos para costear servicios sociales esenciales.
  • El acuerdo sobre el NAMA empujaría asimismo a los países en desarrollo
    a una situación en la que tendrían que importar más, al mismo tiempo
    que exportarían menos a consecuencia de la des-industrialización,
    generándoles así crecientes déficit comercial y un deterioro sostenido
    de su balanza externa de pagos.

Explotación creciente de recursos naturales

Las negociaciones sobre el NAMA representan una seria amenaza
general al medioambiente, y la mayoría de los países ignoran los
efectos ambientales y sociales adversos que supondría potencialmente la
liberalización del comercio en materias primas. Todos los
recursos naturales están incluidos en las negociaciones del NAMA –y
algunos sectores como la pesca y la minería de oro, de diamantes y
aluminio incluso están propuestos para su liberalización completa.

  • La liberalización creciente de las materias primas podría
    conllevar mayor explotación y comercio de recursos naturales escasos, y
    privar a los gobiernos de su capacidad para emplear medidas comerciales
    a fin de administrar sus reservas de manera sustentable y por el bien
    común.
  • El acuerdo sobre el NAMA podría restringir el uso
    de aranceles u otras herramientas comerciales en manos de los gobiernos
    para preservar los medios de sustento de millones de pescadores
    artesanales en todo el mundo y garantizar que los pueblos de los países
    en desarrollo puedan seguir contando con la pesca como fuente
    importante de proteínas.
  • Los gobiernos tendrían menos
    espacio para utilizar medidas comerciales con el fin de proteger
    poblaciones de peces en peligro de extinción. Al mismo tiempo, la
    liberalización del comercio podría fortalecer aún más a las industrias
    de procesamiento de pescado y acuicultura, sin tener en cuenta los
    impactos sobre los derechos humanos y la contaminación de los ambientes
    costeros.

Leyes nacionales y espacio para la formulación de políticas en riesgo

Muchos gobiernos están usando el acuerdo sobre el NAMA y otras
negociaciones en el seno de la OMC para atacar legítimas normas no
comerciales de protección del medioambiente, el bienestar social y la
salud en todas partes. Ellos sostienen que estas llamadas “barreras al
comercio” obstruyen de algún modo las exportaciones de las empresas
transnacionales. Hay leyes sobre alimentos y medicinas, pesca, madera y
petróleo, eficiencia energética, pruebas químicas, reciclaje y normas
de calidad de las industrias electrónica y automotriz que han sido
colocadas en la lista como parte de las negociaciones de NAMA,
aparentemente por orden directa de las empresas que seguramente se
beneficiarán con su eliminación. Este ataque concertado a las
reglamentaciones hace caso omiso de la necesidad de utilizar normas
legales para proteger y promover la salud y bienestar de la ciudadanía,
conservar los recursos naturales y frenar el cambio climático.

Conclusiones 

Las negociaciones sobre el NAMA se están llevando a un ritmo tan
veloz que impide la participación efectiva de los gobiernos con menos
recursos y personal, y más aún que estos realicen los estudios
necesarios sobre el impacto potencial de un nuevo acuerdo de NAMA en
sus economías, los trabajadores y el medioambiente. Aun cuando los
Países Menos Adelantados disponen de algunas exoneraciones limitadas en
la actual ronda de negociaciones, ellas no son suficientes para
garantizar su desarrollo futuro.

En realidad, lo que se pretende imponer ahora es exactamente
contrapuesto al acuerdo para el “desarrollo” que  le vendieron a los
países en desarrollo en la Conferencia Ministerial de la OMC en Doha en
2001. En esa reunión, a los países en desarrollo se les prometió que no
tendrían que ceder tanto como los países más ricos. Pero en las
negociaciones actuales sobre el NAMA se les está exigiendo realizar
mayores “ajustes” y adaptaciones que a los países altamente
industrializados, y tomar riesgos mucho mayores respecto de su
producción actual y sus perspectivas futuras de desarrollo. Los
ministros de comercio de los países del África, el Caribe y el Pacífico
(ACP) ya han expresado claramente que les “preocupa que las
propuestas contenidas en el texto de Derbez y su anexo sobre [los
textos de negociación de] el NAMA … profundizarán aún más la crisis de
la des-industrialización y acentuarán el desempleo y la crisis de la
pobreza en nuestros países
”. Sin embargo, a pesar de estas
declaraciones de evidente preocupación, sus puntos de vista han sido
descaradamente ignorados por los países industrializados y los
responsables de forzar el avance de estas propuestas extremas. No se
puede permitir que esta situación continúe.  Por eso exhortamos a los
gobiernos a:

  • Detener las negociaciones sobre el NAMA y acordar al
    realización de una revisión exhaustiva e independiente acerca de los
    efectos potenciales del NAMA para el desarrollo económico, la
    diversificación productiva industrial de los países en desarrollo, el
    medioambiente y el bienestar social (incluidos empleo, salud y equidad
    de género);
  • Reconocer y garantizar el espacio político
    necesario y las flexibilidades con que deben contar los gobiernos,
    preservando su derecho a emplear herramientas políticas, incluso
    medidas comerciales cuyo fin sea generar economías justas y
    sustentables, proteger y promover el empleo, el bienestar social, la
    salud y el medioambiente al tiempo que se garantiza la participación de
    la ciudadanía;
  • Fomentar la conservación y el manejo
    sustentable de los recursos naturales incluso mediante la decisión de
    frenar la liberalización del comercio de bienes tales como los bosques,
    los peces, el petróleo, el gas, los metales y los minerales.
Categories: Planet Not For Sale

OWINFS NAMA Statement

Our World Is Not For Sale - 29 April, 2009 - 20:03
Currently accepting signatories:  Accept signatories AttachmentSize OWINFS_NAMA_final_en.zip6.96 KB

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
    minerals.

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
    services.   
  • 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.

Conclusion

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
    minerals.
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
Currently accepting signatories:  Accept signatories

FERMIAMO LA GLOBALIZZAZIONE DELLE MULTINAZIONALI

UN ALTRO MONDO E’ POSSIBILE!

Un documento di Unità della

OUR WORLD IS NOT FOR SALE Network

Rete Il Nostro Mondo Non E’ In Vendita

La nostra Visione, i Principi ed il Programma

INTRODUZIONE: LA NOSTRA SFIDA

“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
dell’ambiente.

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
multinazionali.

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
pubblici.

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
intellettuale.

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.

I NOSTRI OBIETTIVI

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
imprese.

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
pubblica.

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.

LE NOSTRE RICHIESTE

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
    obiettivi.

  • 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
    l’ambiente.

  • 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
    commerciale.

  • 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
    rafforzato.

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
dell’ambiente.
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
multilaterale.

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

FRENEMOS LA GLOBALIZACIÓN DE LAS TRANSNACIONALES:

OTRO MUNDO ES POSIBLE

Declaración de unidad política de la Red

‘NUESTRO MUNDO NO ESTÁ EN VENTA’

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
subnacional.

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
    explotados;
  • 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
    biológica.

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
    pobres.
  • 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
    inversiones.

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
    campesina.

  • 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
comunidades.

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
multilateral.

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

STOPPONS LA MONDIALISATION DES ENTREPRISES :
UN AUTRE MONDE EST POSSIBLE!

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

 

INTRODUCTION : NOTRE DÉFI

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
publics.

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
international.

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
militarisme.
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.

NOS BUTS

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
aliments.

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.

LES IDÉAUX QUE NOUS DÉFENDONS

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.
Les
pays doivent aussi préserver leur capacité (« espace politique »)
d’élaborer des stratégies de développement économique, social et
environnemental qui servent leurs plus vulnérables.
La
recherche de la « cohérence » entre les institutions internationales
est devenue une façon de rejeter cet espace politique :
le
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
    l'environnement.

  • 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
    pauvres.

  • 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
alimentaire.

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

Les
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
Currently accepting signatories:  Accept signatories

STOP CORPORATE GLOBALIZATION:

ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE!

 

A Statement of Unity from

the OUR WORLD IS NOT FOR SALE Network:

INTRODUCTION: OUR CHALLENGE

“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
rights.

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.

OUR GOALS

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
economies.

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
inclusive.

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.

WHAT WE STAND FOR

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
must
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
in.
Therefore:

  • 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.
Therefore:

  • 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
    to:

    • 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
      Rights;

    • 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
    poor.

  • 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,
Therefore:

  • 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.
Therefore:

  • 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.
Therefore,

  • 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
    telecommunications.

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
security.

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. 
Therefore:

  • 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
countries.

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

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

Koumbit

Our World Is Not For Sale - 21 April, 2009 - 19:58
Link:  http://koumbit.org

made by koumbit

Categories: Planet Not For Sale

RESTER FERME ET FAIRE CAUSE COMMUNE CONTRE LES APE !

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

RESTER FERME ET FAIRE CAUSE COMMUNE CONTRE LES APE !
 
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