On Jan. 25, a group of World Trade Organization (WTO) countries including the United States, the European Union, Australia, and Canada, launched a new set of negotiations to eliminate tariffs on a set of supposedly environmentally beneficial products. In this article Ilna Solomon of Siera Club argues that the initiative may actually harm the environment.
After many failed Ministerial meetings and nearly twelve years of negotiations, the Doha Round of WTO expansion is at a crossroads. Developed countries have pushed aside agreements to negotiate on key developing country issues intended to correct the imbalances within the existing WTO, which formed the basis of the development mandate of Doha.
Even worse, developed countries appear to be re-packaging the same liberalization and market access demands of their corporate interests to create a “new trade narrative” towards gaining agreements at the upcoming 9th Ministerial in Bali.
In this statement with specific demands Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network asserts that in addition to a long-term transformation of the global trade and economic architecture, immediate changes must be made to WTO in order to provide countries more policy space to pursue a positive agenda for development and job-creation, food security, sustainable development, access to affordable healthcare and medicines, and global financial stability.
In a letter to members of World Trade Organization (WTO) on 22 January 2014, OWINFS network opposed convening mini-ministerial on the subject of WTO in the World Economic Forum (WEF) held on 22-27 January at Davos, Switzerland. The letter stated that, it is completely inappropriate to discuss WTO issues, as WEF is forum where almost exclusively Trade Ministers of the richest and most powerful countries and representatives of the most powerful corporate interests participate.
Overall “Bali Package” is a Setback for Development; Post-Bali Agenda Must Urgently Focus on Permanently Removing WTO Obstacles to Food Security, Urges Global Civil Society "Our World Is Not for Sale" network in this press release soon after the 9th WTO Ministerial in Bali, Indonesia.
Welcoming bold and principled statements on food security and in upholding the G-33 proposal by Mr. Anand Sharma, Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry at the WTO 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, civil society groups called on the minister to stand firm on defending India’s Food Security!
Today, a group of civil society from the global Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network and allies, present in Bali for the 9th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), raised their voices using the human amplification tactic of “Mic Check!”
Global civil society, call upon Gita Wirjawan, Indonesian Trade Minister to pay urgent attention to the matter of food security across developing countries and urge you to pursue, as the leader of the the G-33, a permanent solution to the proposal on food security tabled by this group.
On December 2, 2013 Our World is Not for Sale Network urged WTO members to respect Non-Negotiating Ministerial in Bali and called upon them to approve the LDC package and urgently Remove WTO obstacles to Food Security post-Bali.
In this letter to Ambassador Mike Froman, United State Trade Representative (USTR) and Ambassador Michael Punke
Deputy USTR and Permanent Representative to the WTO, Civil society groups from US express dismay over over US opposition to G33 proposal and urged the US government to support the G33’s proposal to allow for greater public spending to ensure more stable food supplies and prices in developing countries
In this letter to Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, Director General, WTO, 162 organizations expressed concerns regarding intellectual property commitments being forced on Yemen as part of its WTO accession package that will be presented for formal adoption, to the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, 3-6 December 2013.
In this article Mr Chakravarthi Raghavan, who has been following GATT/WTO for the past decade, highlights problems in the undemocratic WTO process and resistance from developing countries. He argues that, "it is not for developing countries to act and enable the US and EU to gain confidence in the WTO system as an instrument to deliver for them, but it is time for the US, EU and secretariats of international organisations to act to regain confidence in them of the developing world and their people."
On November 26, 2013 WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo announced that governments have failed to reach agreement on a “Bali package” in advance of the upcoming Ministerial, set for December 3-6, 2013. The global civil society Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS) network, which has long opposed the talks on Trade Facilitation (see June letter) celebrated this outcome, while urging governments to focus their time in Bali onmaking permanent changes to WTO rules to allow developing countries to pursue Food Security.
Over 280 civil society organizations representing a broad range of civil society groups and global union federations representing hundreds of millions of workers across the world urged Roberto Azevedo, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and WTO member states, to take the issue of food security in developing countries as a matter of serious and immediate concern not to render the G-33 proposal on public food stockholding a travesty by asking developing countries to agree to the current text on the peace clause.
A group of eminent trade experts from developing countries has advised developing countries to be very cautious and not be rushed into an agreement on trade facilitation (TF) by the Bali WTO Ministerial Conference, given the current internal imbalance in the proposed agreement as well as the serious implementation challenges it poses.
A group of eminent trade experts from developing countries has highlighted the importance of public stockholding for food security, and the need to correct some of the imbalances in the present rules on agricultural subsidies in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The views of these eminent experts are reflected in a report titled "The WTO's Bali Ministerial and Food Security for Developing Countries: Need for Equity and Justice in the Rules on Agricultural Subsidies", drawn from discussions at two expert group meetings organised by the Geneva-based South Centre.
The Bali package must be tied up once and for all in the next few days, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Mr Roberto Azevedo, told an informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) on Tuesday.
In this critical blog Deborah James, Director, International Programs at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, writes on some of the key messages from the Global civil society, trade unions and people's movements on What's Going on at the WTO? Opportunities and Risks Before the 9th Ministerial Meeting.
A draft text of the 'Peace Clause' agreed to at the WTO by a select group of countries on Saturday 16 November ad referendum - subject to approval by capitals - seems likely to assure no Peace to developing countries on food security, and more specifically to the ability of developing country governments to procure food from their producers for public stock-holding and distribution to the poor.