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Whose Trade Organization? Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy



WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION? BY PUBLIC CITIZEN'S GLOBAL TRADE WATCH, DOCUMENTS THE TROUBLING FIVE YEAR RECORD OF THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (October 1999)

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CLEAR, CONCISE DOCUMENTATION OF WHAT HAS BEEN CALLED THE "MOST POWERFUL INSTITUTION OF THE 20TH CENTURY"

WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION?
Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy

Preface by Ralph Nader
By Lori Wallach and Michelle Sforza, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

Imagine a Central American country being forced to choose between maintaining the UNICEF baby formula policy that has saved thousands of children's lives or facing an expensive defense in a Swiss trade tribunal and then possible trade sanctions for not protecting the trademark rights of a corporation whose label violates the UNICEF code.
Imagine a powerful corporation "renting" a WTO Member nation to pursue its special interests and kill a trade-based development policy behind closed doors in Geneva to the detriment of tens of  thousands of people's livelihoods and the rented country's own economic and security interests.
Imagine, ten years of environmental activism reversed with the sweep of a pen in Geneva, Switzerland, where a WTO panel has ruled that a law protecting endangered sea turtles poses an illegal barrier to trade and where several countries are now threatening new challenges against a country's enforcement of international environmental treaties this time the Kyoto Treaty on climate change.
Imagine, a clean air regulation designed to reduce gasoline emissions is weakened because the WTO claims it could inadvertently hurt foreign gas producers
Imagine, consumers forced by the WTO to choose between rescinding a popular food safety law or facing economic sanctions.
No need to imagine. These are but a handful of examples of the WTO's real-life impacts on food safety, environmental conservation and protection and economic development documented in WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION?
After a year of intensive research, Harvard-educated trade lawyer and Global Trade Watch Director Lori Wallach and Global Trade Watch Research Director and trade policy analyst Michelle Sforza document the WTO's actual impact on democratic governance, wages, jobs, economic growth, food security, access to healthcare, food safety, labor rights and environmental protection. WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION?, citizens, policymakers and public interest advocates can learn the following:
How the WTO is used to pressure poor countries to abandon their efforts to make desperately needed medications more affordable through generic drugs and other policies. See page 119

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How the WTO is being used to attack a European proposal to reduce electronics pollution. See page 30
How WTO rules may threaten U.S. school lunch and food stamp programs. See page 164
How WTO rules threaten millions with starvation by allowing agribusiness companies to patent seeds created over generations in villages around the world and then charge annual fees for the subsistence farmers who developed the seeds to have the right to plant them again.
How an individual with a monetary interest in a WTO case was appointed to judge the case. See page 201
How Daimler-Chrysler and Ford Motor Company are using WTO threats to undermine a Japanese clean air law adopted under the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. See page 31
Why beleaguered U.S. steelworkers may face a WTO challenge to loan guarantees for the ailing U.S. steel industry. See page 157
How WTO rules allow corporations to secure exclusive marketing rights over medicinal remedies that have been used by indigenous groups for centuries. See page 108
How the threat of WTO action was used to pressure Guatemala to drop its infant health law enacting the WHO/UNICEF Code on Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes. See page 115
How a major campaign contributor effectively rented the U.S. government to mount a successful WTO challenge to Europe's preferences for Caribbean bananas, even though the U.S. doesn't export a single banana. See page 141
WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION? translates the WTO's trade rules into understandable prose for the layperson, policymaker and academic alike. It is designed with the knowledge that WTO rules and rulings affect everyone -- not just importers and trade lawyers -- and therefore must be accessible to everyone, especially everyday citizens who want to resist WTO encroachment into the decisions that affect their day-to-day lives.

WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION?  is being released in advance of the WTO's November 29 to December 3, 1999, Ministerial Summit in Seattle, so that those who will live with the results taken at that historic meeting are informed about the potential consequences. The book makes the case -- bolstered by more than 1,200 citations from a vast range of sources -- for the review and repair of the WTO so that it can no longer threaten the public safeguards and corporate/governmental accountability standards for which citizens have fought so hard. While the Clinton administration is seeking expansion of the WTO's jurisdiction through a new "round" of negotiations, Public Citizen is united with civil society groups worldwide calling for the organization's sweeping powers to be reigned in, to put the tools of domestic policy decision-making back into the hands of citizens and their elected representatives.

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