It's time to turn trade around. 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. We believe it is essential to use this moment as an opportunity to change course and develop an alternative, humane, democratically accountable and sustainable system of commerce that benefits all. This process entails rolling back the power and authority of the WTO.
The GATT Uruguay Round Agreements and the establishment of the WTO were proclaimed as a means of enhancing the creation of global wealth and prosperity and promoting the well-being of all people in all member states. In reality, however, The WTO has contributed to the concentration of wealth in the hands of the rich few; increasing poverty for the majority of the world's peoples, especially in third world countries; and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.
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.
All this has taken place in the context of increasing global instability, the collapse of national economies, growing inequity both between and within nations and increasing environmental and social degradation, as a result of the acceleration of the process of corporate globalization.
The governments which dominate the WTO, especially the United States, the European Union, Japan and Canada, and the transnational corporations which have benefitted from the WTO system have refused to recognize and address these problems. They are still intent on further liberalization, including through the expansion of the WTO, promoting free trade as a goal in itself. In reality, however, free trade is anything but 'free'.
The time has come to acknowledge the crises of the international trading system and its main administering institution, the WTO. We need to replace this old, unfair and oppressive trade system with a new, socially just and sustainable trading framework for the 21st Century.
We need to protect cultural, biological, economic and social diversity; introduce progressive policies to prioritise local economies and trade; secure internationally recognized economic, cultural, social and labor rights; and reclaim the sovereignty of peoples and national and sub-national democratic decision-making processes. In order to do this, we need new rules based on the principles of democratic control of resources, ecological sustainability, equity, cooperation and precaution.
In light of the above, we make the following demands of our governments:
No WTO Expansion
We reiterate our opposition to continued attempts to launch a new round or expand the WTO by bringing in new issues such as investment, competition, government procurement, biotechnology and accelerated tariff liberalization.
WTO Hands Off: Protect Basic Social Rights and Needs
It is inappropriate and unacceptable for social rights and basic needs to be constrained by WTO rules. Thus WTO Agreements must not apply to issues critical to human or planetary welfare, such as food and water, basic social services, health and safety, and animal protection. Inappropriate encroachment by trade rules in such areas has already resulted in campaigns on genetically modified organisms, old growth forests, domestically prohibited goods and predatory tobacco marketing.
Gut GATS: Protect Basic Social Services
In particular, areas such as health, education, energy and other basic human services must not be subject to international free trade rules. In the WTO General Agreement on Services (GATS), the principle of "progressive liberalization" and the implications of foreign investment in service sectors has already led to severe problems.
Take TRIPS Out: Restore National Patent Protection Systems
We demand the removal of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) from the WTO. There is no basis for inclusion of intellectual property claims in a trade agreement. Additionally, the TRIPS agreement promotes monopoly by transnational corporations; prevents access to essential medicines and other goods; leads to private appropriation of knowledge and life forms; undermines biodiversity; and keeps poorer countries from increasing their levels of social and economic welfare and developing their technological capacity.
No Patents on Life
The patenting of life forms must be prohibited in all national and international regimes.
Food is a Basic Human Right
Measures taken to promote and protect food security and sovereignty, subsistence farming, humane farming practices and sustainable agriculture must be exempt from international free trade rules. There must be a prohibition on export subsidies and other forms of dumping of agricultural products, especially on third world countries. The trading system must not undermine the livelihood of peasants, small farmers, artisan fishers and indigenous peoples.
No Investment Liberalization
The WTO Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) Agreement must be eliminated. All countries and especially third world countries must have the right to use policy options (such as local content policy) to increase the capacity of their own productive sectors, especially small and medium enterprises. Obviously, the TRIMS review must not be used to extend the investment issue in WTO.
Fair Trade: Special and Differential Treatment
Special and differential rights for third world countries must be recognized, expanded, and operationalized in the world trading system. This is to take into account the weak position of third world countries in the international trading system. Without the enforcement of special and differential rights, there can be no possibility of third world countries benefitting from world trade.
Prioritize Agreements on Social Rights and the Environment
Actions taken to implement multilateral agreements dealing with the environment, health, development, human rights, safety, indigenous peoples' rights, food security, women's rights, workers' rights and animal welfare cannot be challenged at or undermined by the WTO.
People must have the right to self-determination and the right to know and decide on international commercial commitments. Among other things, this requires that decision-making processes in negotiations and enforcement at international commercial bodies be democratic, transparent and inclusive. The WTO operates in a secretive, exclusionary manner that shuts out most third world country Members and the public. It is dominated by a few powerful governments acting on behalf of their corporate elites.
Dispute the System
The WTO dispute settlement system is unacceptable. It enforces an illegitimate system of unfair rules and operates with undemocratic procedures. It also usurps the rulemaking and legislative role of sovereign nations and local governments.
A socially just international trade system will also require change outside the WTO. Given the attacks by multinational corporations and governments 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, workers rights must be strengthened worldwide.
Also, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the regional development banks must write off 100% of the debts owed to them by poor countries. The use of structural adjustment conditionality to force trade liberalization in third world countries and elsewhere must be stopped. Governments must negotiate, through the UN system and with full democratic participation, a binding agreement to ensure that corporate conduct is socially and environmentally responsible and democratically accountable.
Conclusions and Consequences
We are committed to a 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 roll back the power and authority of the WTO and turn trade around.
We commit ourselves to mobilize people within our countries to fight for these demands and to defy the unjust policies of the WTO. We will also support other people and countries who do so with international solidarity campaigns.
We pledge to carry the Spirit of Seattle around the world.
l AEFJN (Africa - Europe Faith and Justice Network) l Africa Trade Network l COASAD l EcoNews Africa l ECOTERRA International l Jubilee 2000, Afrika l MWENGO l Medical Mission Sisters, Sector Africa l Third World Network - Africa Secretariat l
l Liga Angolana para a Abolicao da Divida Externa (Jubilee 2000 Angola Coalition) l
l Asia Indigenous Women's Network (AIWN) l
l ACT Greens l AID/WATCH l APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad l Australian Education Union l Australian Greens l Australian Manufacturing Workers Union l Australian Rail Tram & Bus Industry Union National Office l Biohazard Action Alliance l CART Group for Global Ethics l Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace l Community Aid Abroad l Community Information Association l Conservation Council of the South East and Canberra l Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Australia l ECOTERRA l Economic Reform Australia (ERA) l Environment Centre Of WA Inc. l Environment Liberation Front l Essendon Community Aid Abroad l Friends of the Earth l Gene-Ethics Network Northern Rivers l Humane Society International l Information for Action l The International Society for Human Rights Australia l The Mercy Foundation l Network of Women in Further Education l OXFAM Australia l People s Movement l Reworking Tomorrow l Richmond Valley LETS l SEARCH Foundation, Sydney l STOPMAI l StopMAI Campaign Coalition, Western Australia l South Australian Genetic Food Information Network (SAGFIN) l Students Association of University of South Australia l Victorian Council for Civil Liberties l wtowatch ACT l WTO Watch l
l Center for Encounters and Active Non-Violence, Bad Ischl l ECOTERRA l GLOBAL 2000/Friends of the Earth Austria l Informationsgruppe Lateinamerika (IGLA) l PLAGE l Salzburg Forum against MAI and WTO l
l Friends of the Earth l Institute of Integrated Rural Development l OILWATCH l UBINIG l Unnayan Shammanya
l Anti-Imperialist League l ATTAC-Brussels l Centre National de Coopération au Développement l Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires l Comité pour l'Annulation de la Dette du Tiers Monde (Committee for the Cancellation of the Third World Debt) l Fair Trade Centre l Fern, Brussels l Jong Agalev (Flemish Young Greens) l Magasins du monde-Oxfam l Medical Aid for the Third World l NCOS - National Centre for Development Cooperation l Oxfam Solidarity l Oxfam-Wereldwinkels l Werkgroep Wildgroei (Action Group Working Against Economic "Wild" Growth) l
l Hold Action on Lethal Traditions l
l Armonía l Centro de Justica Global
l ECOTERRA l IDEC- Brazilian Institute for Consumer Defense
l Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation l National Movement Ecoglasnost, FoE Bulgaria l
l STRATEGIC HUMANITARIAN SERVICES (SHUMAS) l
Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation l Canadian Action Party l Canadian Council for International Co-operation l Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) l Canadian Federation of Students l Canadian Religious Conference l Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) l Canadian Union of Public Employees l Check Your Head: the Global Youth Education Network l Concordia Student Union l Council of Canadians l Democracy Watch l ECOTERRA l Filipino Canadian Youth Association in Canada-Toronto l Filipino Gay and Lesbian Association l Filipino Workers' Support Group, Montreal l Friends of the Escarpment (FOE) l Friends of the Lubicon l The Gleaner l Gleaning for a Better World l INTER PARES l Labour Environmental Alliance Society l Maya Pedal l Migrant Women's Collective l Miningwatch, Canada l Native News Network of Canada (NNNC) l New Democratic Phillippine Network for Justice and Peace l Party of Canada Federal Caucus l PAMAI (People Against the MAI) l The Parkdale Organizing Group l The Phillippine Solidarity Group of Toronto l Polaris Institute l Progressive Filipinos Overseas United for National Democracy l The Real Alternatives Information Network (RAIN) l Rainforest Raging Grannies l Reach for Unbleached! Foundation l Rural Dignity of Canada l Social Justice Committee, Church of the Holy Trinity l Tamil Resource Center l Women's International League for Peace & Freedom Women's International League for Peace & Freedom BC Branch (WILPF-BC) l
l Programa Chile Sustentable l Fundacion Sociedades Sustentables l
l Asociacion ANAI l Corporacion Region, Colombia l Instituto Latinoamericano de Servicios Legales Alternativos, ILSA
l COECOCEIBA-FoE Costa Rica l Urbanizacion Empleados de Llobet
l Friends of the Earth l
l Car Busters l Hnuti DUHA/Friends of the Earth CZ l
l DKB l DKP-ml l Enhedslisten/Red Green Alliance l International Boernesolidaritet l Internationalt Forum l Jord- og Betonarbejdernes fagforening -Kbh l KPiD l Mellemamerijka Komitéen l NOAH- Friends of the Earth, Denmark l Oekotrans l PMF (National Federation of Trade Unions for Nursery and Kindergarten Assistants) l Operation Dagsvaerk l Rebel l Roed Ungdom l Roof Workers Union of Copenhagen l Samarbejdskomiteen for Fred og Sikkerhed (Joint Committee for Peace and Security) lSOS WTO l Spidsroden l Sydafrika Kontakt l Tinku-Danmark l Trade Union for Insulation Workers of Copenhagen l Trade Union for Painters of Copenhagen
l Accion Ecologica l
l CIDEP l
l Eesti Roheline Liikumine / FoE Estonia l
l Institute for Sustainable Development l
l A-SEED l Bayan International-Europe l CPE - Coordination Paysanne Europeean (European Farmers Coordination) l Ecoropa Federation of Young European Greens l Friends of the Earth Europe l Kairos Europa l NEWS! the Network of European World Shops l
l Alternativ till EU - Finland (Alternatives to the EU-Finland) l Association of Unemployed "Pohjalaistyöttömät" l Coalition for Environment and Development l The Communist Party of Finland l Democratic Education Alliance l Ecological Daily Life Association l Friends of the Giraff l EU-Critical Youth l Finnish Asiatic Society l Finnish NGO Campaign on WTO Friends of the Earth Finland l Friends of the Earth Hämeenlinna l Finnish Association of World Shops l GMO-Campaign Verso l Informationcenter Alternative to the EU l National Cooperation Association of Unemployed (TVY) l Nature Alliance of West Finland l New Wind Association l PAND, Artists for Peace Socialist Association l Peacepipe Association l Sewingcircle Association l Women for Peace l Women s Alternative to EU l Worldshop Giraff l
l Amis de la Terre - France (Friends of the Earth - France) l ATTAC l Association Transnationale l Association VISION l Chiche! l Confédération Paysanne l Crash Disques l Droits Devant!! l Ecoropa l ECOTERRA l Fédération Artisans du Monde l Fondation France Libertés l Institut pour la Relocalisation de L'économie l L'Ocelle l Le cri l Mouvement National de Lutte pour l'Environnement (MNLE) l Observatoire de la Mondialisation l
l Aktionszentrum 3.Welt l Angelas e.V. (Arbeiten zu Nachhaltigkeit, Geschlechter-, Entwicklungs-, Land- und Agrarsoziologie) l BLUE 21 e.V. (Berliner Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Umwelt und Entwicklung - Berlin Working Group on Environment and Development l Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland, BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) l Christen fur Gerechte Wirtschaftsordnung (CGW) e.V. l CM-International l ECOTERRA e.V. l Frauen fur den Frieden l Gen-ethisches Netzwerk (GeN) l Institut für Theorie und Praxis der Subsistenz (ITPS) l Institute of Interdisciplinary Study and Research (IFSF) l International Human Rights Association l Missionare und Missionarinnen auf Zeit Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) e.V. l Netzwerk gegen Konzernherrschaft und Neoliberale Politik (Network against Corporate Rule and Neoliberal Policy) l Pax Christi Basisgruppe Koblenz l Perspektive unabhängige Kommunikation (puk) l Share l Weltladen-Dachverband e.V. (German World Shop Association) l Working Group Critical Veterinary Medicine l
l Friends of the Earth l
l Association of Social & Ecological Intervention (Friends of the Earth Greece) l MAGAZINE "ARDIN" l
l Maya Pedal l
l Attac Nederland l Both ENDS l Corporate Europe Observatory l Towards a Different Europe l Transnational Institute
l Asia Pacific Mission for Migrant Filipinos (APMMF) l United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-HK) l
l Friends of the Earth, Hungary l ELTE Nature Conservation Club (ETK)
l Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies l Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group l Development Tracks RTC l ENDEV Society for Environment and Development l "EQUATIONS" Equitable Tourism Options l Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology l TAMILNADU UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION(TUNA) l Women's Centre, Bombay l WOMEN'S WELFARE CENTER l
l Anti-Nukes Society l INFID (International NGO Forum on Indonesia Development) l LATIN, Lembaga Alam Tropika Indonesia/The Indonesian Tropical Institute l The National Consortium on Forest and Nature in Indonesia (KONPHALINDO) l National Network Forum of Indonesia l PAN Indonesia l Serikat Petani Sumatera Utara/SPSU (North Sumatra Peasant Union) l Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (Indonesian Forum for the Environment-Friends of the Earth Indonesia) l Wallace Forest Ecological Protection (WFEP) l
l Friends of the Earth International l Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN) l Global Sisterhood Network l The Grail l HELIO International l International Union of Students l Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) l World Rainforest Movement l Xaverian Missionaries, Catholic International Missionary Institute
l Earthwatch, Friends of the Earth l Justice Office - Mill Hill Missionaries l Mercy International Justice Network l
l AIFO l Associazione Ad Gentes l Associazione Botteghe del Mondo l Beati i costruttori di pace l Campagna Chiama L'Africa l Campagna Dire mai al MAI/Stop Millennium Round l Campagna Globalizza-azione dei popoli l Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale l Centro Nuovo Modello di Sviluppo l Cocoricò l Comitato Scientifico Antivivisezionista l CTM Altromercato l Fondo Imperatrice Nuda contro la sperimentazione animale l La Leva di Archimede l Lelio Basso l International Foundation for the Rights and Liberation of People l Mani Tese l NIGRIZIA l Pax Christi l Proutist International l Stop Millennium Round Campaign l Rete di Lilliput (Lilliput network) l WWF-Italia l
l APEC Monitor NGO Network(AM-net) l A SEED JAPAN (Action for Solidarity, Equality, Environment and Development) l Consumers Union of Japan l Friends of the Earth l Get Back the Nature! Kansai Citizen Union l Global Village l Hands of Peace l HUTAN Group l International Solidarity of Saku Area Citizens (ISSAC) l Jambo International Center l Japan Tropical Forest Action Network l Nagoya Freedom School l Network for Safe and Secure Food and Environment l People s Forum 2001 l Rainforest Resources Center of Nagoya l Rural Poors l Solid Action on Globalization and Environment (SAGE) l
l Women's Organization to Combat Illiteracy
l African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) l Consumers' Information Network l ECOTERRA l Kenya Action Network l Kenya Human Rights Commissions l
l Korean People's Action Against Investment Treaties and the WTO (KoPA) l Korean Women Workers Association United (KWWAU) l Katipunan ng mga Samahan ng Pilipinong Migranteng Manggagawa sa Korea (KASAMMAKO)/Unity of Filipino Migrants In Korea
l Humanitarian Group for Social Development ( HGSD) l Arab NGO Network for Development
l Action Solidarite Tiers Monde The Greens l
l Consumers' Association of Penang (PAC) l Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia) l Third World Network l
l Comite de Coordination des Actions des ONG l
l ECO, The Malta Ecological Foundation l Moviment ghall-Ambjent, Friends of the Earth l
l Asociación de Dana, A.C. l DECA Equipo Pueblo l La Limpieza de la Bahía de Banderas de Pto. Vallarta, A.C. l Red de Accion sobre Plaguicidas y Alternativas en Mexico (RAPAM) l Red Mexicana de Accion frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC) l
l Bikalpa: Community for Development Studies l Jajarkot Permaculture Programme l Nepal Kingdom Foundation l Nepal Indigenous Peoples Development and Information Service Centre (NIPDISC) l Rural Reconstruction NEPAL l SEWA NEPAL l
l Alternatieve Konsumenten Bond (Alternative Consumers Association) l Centrum voor Internationale Samenwerking Groningen (COS) l Corporate Europe Observatory l Medical Aid for the Third World l Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) l Stichting Nicaragua Komitee Nederland (NKN) l Towards a Different Europe l Transnational Institute l Werkgroep Globalisering Delft-Den Haag l XminY Solidariteitsfonds
l FAIR NZ l Friends of the Earth l Phillippine Resource Center, New Zealand l Te Kawau Maro (tkm) l
l Environmental Rights Action/Friends of The Earth l
l AKP l GATT-WTO Campaign l Norges Naturvernforbund / Friends of the Earth l PRESS (Norwegian Save the Children's Youth Organisation) l
l Creed Alliance l Development VISIONS l Punjab Lok Sujag l ROOTS for Equity l
l CEDEP l Cooperativa Agraria Cafetaleta "La Florida" l Indigenous Peoples' Biodiversity Network (IPBN) l Kechua-Aymara Association for Sustainable Livelihoods (ANDES) l
l Bayan-Phillippines (New Patriotic Alliance) l Concerned Artists of the Phillippines l ECOTERRA South-East Asia l Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) l Ibon Foundation l Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) l PEASANT RIGHTS GROUP l Southeast Asia Regional Institute for Community Education (SEARICE) l TEBTEBBA Foundation, Inc. (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education) l
l CIDAC - Centro de Informação e Documentação Amílcar Cabral l
l MAMA TERRA / For Mother Earth-Romania Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space l Romanian Young Nature Friends - Tinerii Prieteni ai Naturii l
Saudi Arabia lKapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS) l Lakas Manggagawa sa Silangang Probinsya (LMSP) l Symbol of Unity for Social Integration (SUSI) l Lakas Manggagawa sa Dammam l Lakas Manggagawa sa Jubail l Lakas Manggagawa sa Qatif l
l Edinburgh Friends of the Earth l
l ADESEN l Interface Trading-ATO l CONGAD (Conseil des ONG d'Appui au Développement)
l Center for Environmental Public Advocacy/Friends of the Earth - Slovakia l
l ECOTERRA l
l eThekwini Ecoparty l Green Party of South Africa l
l Aedenat Sevilla Ecologistas en Acción l ATTAC Catalonia l Ecologistas en Acción l Ecologistas en Acción de La Rioja l Ecologistas en Acción Huesca l Ekologistak Martxan-Bizkaia l COLLA ECOLOGISTA L'ALBER l Tagoror Ecologista Alternativo l
l ECOTERRA l
l Green Party of Sweden - Miljöpartiet de Gröna l Forum for System Debate l Framtiden i Våra Händer l Miljöforbundet Jordens Vanner / Friends of the Earth Sweden l Swedish Greens in the European Parliament l Swedish Young Greens (Grön Ungdom) l