Eyes on Trade
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch blog on globalization and trade
What's New – Global Trade Watch
Battle in Seattle - now available on DVD and Blu-Ray
Stuart Townsend's Battle in Seattle, a feature film about the collapse of the 1999 WTO Ministerial in Seattle, is now widely available to rent or purchase, in both DVD and high-definition Blu-Ray formats. If you didn't catch the film during its theatrical run last fall, here's your chance!
The WTO and Regulation of Financial Services: Implications for the Current Economic Crisis
Foreclosed homes. Lost jobs. Collapsing banks. The greatest government involvement in the economy in generations. While these headlines dominate the news, one of the root causes of this crisis has largely been ignored: over the last several decades, the U.S. government and corporations have pushed extreme financial deregulation worldwide using "trade" agreements and international agencies like the WTO.
Read GTW's complete fact sheet on the WTO's role in the financial crisis (PDF). You can also check out our policy primer (PDF) on the same topic.
For the latest updates on the WTO, please see the relevant section of our blog, Eyes on Trade.
Established in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a powerful global commerce agency, which transformed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) into an enforceable global commerce code. The WTO is one of the main mechanisms of corporate globalization. Under the WTO's system of corporate-managed trade, economic efficiency, reflected in short-run corporate profits, dominates other values. Decisions affecting the economy are to be confined to the private sector, while social and environmental costs are borne by the public.
In November 1999, the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Third Ministerial Meeting in Seattle collapsed in spectacular fashion, in the face of unprecedented protest from people and governments around the world. These are the events documented (via a fictionalized account) in the Battle in Seattle film mentioned above. In 2001, the so-called "Doha Round" of WTO expansion negotiations was launched, but these negotiations have been mired in controversy ever since, despite numerous attempts (and no shortage of strong-arm tactics) to complete talks. The latest such attempt will be a WTO Ministerial in Geneva this November and December.
The WTO and GATT Uruguay Round Agreements have functioned principally to pry open markets for the benefit of transnational corporations at the expense of national and local economies; workers, farmers, indigenous peoples, women and other social groups; health and safety; the environment; and animal welfare. In addition, the WTO system, rules and procedures are undemocratic, un-transparent and non-accountable and have operated to marginalize the majority of the world's people.