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Archived Articles on The World Trade Organization


The World Trade Organization


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What's at Play at the WTO (December 12, 2005)

If the World Trade Organization negotiations are like a complex game of cards, then the wealthiest countries (the US, EU and their allies) are the dealers, says this International Relations Center article. The "dealers" in this "fixed game" intend to help out corporations, rather than promoting social welfare and development in the global South. Poor countries should not take part in a game where "so few win and so many lose."

The World Trade Organization and Sustainable Development: A Guide to the Debate (December 7, 2005)

Chatham House provides information on how trade liberalization relates to development in poor countries. The report addresses the "most frequently asked questions" on the WTO, such as the influence of transnational corporations, the WTO's ruling on environmental issues and possible benefits of agricultural liberalization for poor countries. Although the primary multilateral trade platform, the WTO has so far done little to promote trade policies that favor development in poor countries.

Blue, Amber, Green: The Three Boxes (December 2005)

The specialized terminology used by the World Trade Organization (WTO) often makes it difficult to follow detailed trade negotiations. This article explains the system of the "three boxes." Also Le Monde diplomatique points out the different interest and negotiation groups formed within the WTO talks since the beginning of the Doha round.

The WTO 6th Ministerial: People Power vs Corporate Power (November 2005)

Over the past ten years, the World Trade Organization's agreements "served to strengthen the monopolist power" of transnational corporations. The previous ministerial conferences ended in a deadlock and the Hong Kong meeting risks ending the same way. While the results of previous "failures" have represented a people's victory against the powerful business community, this article warns that, in Hong Kong, such an outcome would not represent a step forward. In fact, "corporations would still maintain their immense economic power […] over the world economy." (IBON)

Leaked Documents Reveal EU Plans to Force Open Developing Country Service Markets (October 28, 2005)

The UK Trade Secretary Alan Johnson stated publicly that poor countries must be free to decide "what, when and how" to open their markets. However, the World Development Movement found unreleased documents showing that the European Union plans to force liberalization by introducing mandatory targets for poor countries at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, "this is a classic example of how WTO works," says this article.

US Subsidies Offer "Smoke and Mirrors" (October 10, 2005)

According to Oxfam, the US "breakthrough offer" on agricultural subsidies would allow the US to "get away with doing next to nothing." The US proposed to cut its agricultural subsidies by only 2%, while continuing to urge poor countries to open their markets, particularly on services.

Fair Trade Rules! (October 2005)

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are fond of calling the Doha Round the "development round." However, as this paper from the International Fair Trade Movement points out, two fundamental factors are missing from its agenda: Nations' rights to food security and sovereignty. If the next WTO Ministerial Conference is to really address development, members should promote "fair trade rules" that provide land distribution, government regulation and protection of local markets.

Campaigners Call on WTO to Make Trade Negotiations Fair (August 31, 2005)

On September 1, 2005 former European Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy takes over as Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The World Development Movement proposes to the new Director a twelve point plan to ensure transparency, openness and multilateralism. These proposals seem surprising because they involve basic principles that should already have been in place. They are necessary, however, since the WTO still lacks the most fundamental rules of a democratic organization.

In the Name of Development: Whose Ambitions for the Doha Round? (August 19, 2005)

The Uruguay Round results have shown that opening markets in countries without a stable fiscal and political system worsens economic and social conditions. Nevertheless, the next Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December 2005, will involve negotiations over the liberalization of agricultural products, industrial products, raw materials and service providers. The author notes that rich countries do not favor trade rules that reflect the interest of the majority of WTO members and warns that, instead, "those who need the most actually stand to lose the most."(Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy)

Are the WTO Talks in Trouble? Don't Bet on It (August 16, 2005)

Poor countries and their supporters welcomed the failure of the World Trade Organization General Council Meeting in Geneva. This article warns, however, that the absence of results may set the stage for a "successful" later meeting in Hong Kong in December. Analyzing the Geneva negotiations, the author warns that poor countries may see their policy options drastically reduced. To avoid such an outcome, NGOs and other citizen groups must push for a fair trade system. (Transnational Institute)

Civil Society Groups Voice Concerns Over GATS Talks at WTO (July 19, 2005)

The negotiations on liberalization of services represent a fundamental issue in the Doha round of World Trade Organization talks. The EU and the US are pressuring poor countries to open their markets and ask for the establishment of "benchmarks" to measure their "progresses" towards privatization. More than 160 NGOs signed a letter to express their concern about this proposal which would "reduce the space of governments for public policy making." (Public Agenda)

Bound and Tied (July 2005)

Rich countries act on behalf of transnational corporations in the World Trade Organization talks on non-agricultural market access, argues this ActionAid International report. While paying lip service to development, rich nations are trying to force poor countries to open their markets. In the past, however, rapid industrial liberalization has "often had a devastating impact on development and poverty," leaving scores of people unemployed and worsening balance of payment difficulties.

Doha Declaration Adopted: Accord to Revitalize S-S Cooperation (June 16, 2005)

In preparation for the Group of Eight summit in Scotland, countries from the Group of 77 met to adopt their Doha Declaration and the Doha Plan of Action. The Group of 132 poor countries called for increased South-South cooperation and trade, more focus on sustainable development, and a more open and fair global trading system. (Bernama)

Trade Group to Start Talks to Admit Iran (May 27, 2005)

The United States has dropped a long-standing veto, allowing Iran to begin membership negotiations with the World Trade Organization (WTO). The US change of heart comes as an apparent reward for Iran's agreement to halt its nuclear program. The US holds significant clout over WTO decisions, and although politics is not supposed to play a role in issues relating to WTO membership, membership negotiations with Iran are clearly conditional on the status of its nuclear program. (New York Times)

EU's Lamy Set to Head WTO (May 13, 2005)

With all other candidates having withdrawn from the race, former European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy is set to become the next World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General. While the EU hailed Lamy's victory, calling him "uniquely qualified to lead the WTO," many poor countries regard his previous support for agricultural subsidies and EU protectionism with suspicion. (Inter Press Service)

UN Warns WTO Farm Talks Could Worsen Food Crisis (May 9, 2005)

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has voiced concern over the rules on food aid that are currently under discussion in the World Trade Organization (WTO) agricultural negotiations. The European Union and several other food-exporting countries argue that the United States uses food aid to get rid of its agricultural surplus - a result of its trade-distorting subsidies - and call for an agreement that food aid should only be delivered in cash. "The simple truth is that food aid commitments and deliveries are nose-diving, while the WTO is discussing their discipline. Please remember that simple fact and that the world's hungry children are paying the price," WFP said. (Reuters)

Doha Talks Hauled Back from Crisis (May 5, 2005)

Ministers from 30 World Trade Organization (WTO) member nations have approved the European Union proposal on how to calculate tariffs for farm products that remain a point of contention in the ongoing global trade talks. The agreement paves way for finalizing the Doha Round trade negotiations that collapsed in September 2003 when rich states refused to give in to poor countries' demands on opening borders to farm trade and cutting agricultural subsidies. (Inter Press Service)

France's Lamy Stays on Track to Win WTO Race (April 29, 2005)

The EU's nominee Pascal Lamy has strengthened his position in the race to head the World Trade Organization (WTO) after Mauritian Foreign Minister Jaya Krischna Cuttaree, who had strong backing from many poor countries, had to withdraw from the competition, Reuters reports. Cuttaree's loss creates the potential for a North-South showdown, as the race is now down to only two candidates, Lamy and Uruguay's Carlos Perez del Castillo. An open confrontation between rich and poor countries could further delay the WTO trade talks that are currently at a crucial point.

An End to EU Sugar Dumping? (April 28, 2005)

After losing the case on sugar subsidies before the World Trade Organization (WTO), the European Union should now proceed to reform its sugar policy in a way that benefits the world's poorest countries, contends this Oxfam International briefing note. However, current European Commission proposals for sugar reform fall far short of complying with WTO rules. Oxfam calls on the EU to immediately eliminate all export subsidies for sugar, cut its own production quotas, and increase sugar imports from poor countries.

Lamy Ahead in WTO Race, Brazil Knocked Out (April 15, 2005)

After the first round of consultations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) member panel decided to eliminate the least-supported candidate, Brazil's Luí­z Felipe Seixas Correa, from the race to head the WTO. Of the three remaining contenders, the EU's Pascal Lamy gathered most support in the meeting. The panel did not announce exact numbers on how many members had supported each candidate, a move that drew criticism from some participants in the meeting. (Reuters)

Shadow of Wolfowitz Hangs over WTO amid US-EU Bargain Fears (April 4, 2005)

Poor countries fear that the European Union agreed to back Paul Wolfowitz for World Bank President in exchange for US support for the EU candidate to head the World Trade Organization (WTO). The alleged deal would mean continuing the undemocratic practice in which the United States nominates the head of the World Bank while the Europeans get to choose who leads the WTO. Overlooking poor countries' candidates for the WTO top post could further strain North-South relations at a time when the organization is just recovering from setbacks in global trade talks. (Agence France-Presse)

Will the Doha Round Play a Role in Ending Global Poverty? (April 2005)

With the adoption of the "July Package" in August 2004, development issues largely disappeared from view in the World Trade Organization (WTO) global trade talks, argues this Au Courant article. By emphasizing only the issue of subsidies instead of a larger set of structural problems, the Package failed to sufficiently address agricultural dumping, which is one of the biggest bones of contention in the negotiations.

Kicking Down the Door (April 2005)

Rich countries "repackage" their agricultural subsidies so that they appear legitimate under World Trade Organization (WTO) trade rules and then use the same rules to force poor countries to open their markets to dumping, says this Oxfam International report. According to Oxfam, the new WTO Agreement on Agriculture should allow poor countries to put development goals first and to protect themselves by imposing tariffs against dumping of agricultural products.

Making the WTO More Supportive of Development (March 2005)

This article argues that the World Trade Organization (WTO) should stick to its core responsibility to facilitate international trade, and leave the study of trade's effect on development to specialized development organizations. The WTO could eventually adapt its rulings to the decisions of these organizations to better ensure that trade promotes development. But rich countries' dominance over WTO decisions and their unwillingness to open their agricultural markets make a development-oriented WTO unlikely in the near future. (Finance & Development)

End Farm Export Subsidies in 5 Years, G-20 Says (March 19, 2005)

The G20 group of poor countries urges rich nations to scrap all export subsidies "as fast as possible" and no later than within five years. Poor countries have repeatedly accused the European Union and the United States of using subsidies to dump farm produce on world markets and erecting high tariff barriers to keep out cheaper exports. Aid groups believe the uniform message from G20 countries could have a lot of leverage in the run-up to the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005. (Reuters)

Brazil Triumphs over US in WTO Subsidies Dispute (March 3, 2005)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has declared US cotton subsidies illegal in its final ruling on the issue. The case was the first formal challenge to rich nations' massive agricultural subsidies that have long impeded competitiveness of poor countries' exports. Many trade experts believe the decision also raises questions about other US and EU subsidy programs and may open a "Pandora's box" of WTO challenges against them. (Inter Press Service)

Food Aid or Hidden Dumping? (March 2005)

Providing food to people in need seems like a noble cause, but the current forms of food aid hurt farmers in poor countries by depressing agricultural commodity prices, displacing trade and capturing markets from local producers. This Oxfam International report calls for the establishment of "strong disciplines" on food aid in the ongoing World Trade Organization development talks. The disciplines should aim at creating economic opportunities for poor states by requiring that all aid be provided in cash instead of in-kind contributions, eliminating agricultural dumping and protecting vulnerable farm sectors in poor countries.

Planting the Rights Seed (March 2005)

The vast majority of people in poor countries earn their living from agriculture, yet the World Trade Organization's (WTO) liberalization agenda focuses more on increasing production and trade rather than improving the livelihoods of food producers. This joint report from Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and 3D examines the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture and its impact on poor countries and their agricultural producers from a human rights perspective.

From Cancun to Hong Kong: WTO Update (March 2005)

This Center of Concern report provides an overview of the current situation of the World Trade Organization trade talks. After the collapse in Cancun in September 2003, the parties agreed to return to the negotiation table, but little has changed: poor countries still struggle to gain market access for their products, while rich nations are reluctant to do away with their agricultural subsidies and other barriers of trade. Moreover, the increasing number of bilateral and regional trade negotiations has weakened the position of poor countries that have very little bargaining power against wealthy trade partners when alone at the negotiation table.

China's Rural Poor Suffer from WTO Membership (February 21, 2005)

Even though China's foreign trade has doubled after the country's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, its rural population has not benefited from the increased economic activity. According to a World Bank study, the poorest rural households have suffered a sharp six percent loss in their living standards, while nearly 90 percent of urban households reported income and consumption gains. (Agence France Presse)

WTO Agreement on Agriculture: A Decade of Dumping (February 2005)

When the World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture came into force in 1995, governments promised farmers more trade and higher prices. Since then, trade has increased but because of rampant agricultural dumping - the selling of products at prices below the cost of production - higher producer prices are a more distant dream than ever. This Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy research report examines agricultural dumping by US-based multinational corporations and calls for immediate action to eliminate the practice that hurts farmers all over the world.

G20, G90 and G33: Challenges for Building a New Politics (January 23, 2005)

The disappointing experience of the Uruguay Round of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) taught poor countries to build alliances to stand up against unfair trade deals. Groupings like the G20, G33 and G90 have given a voice to poor countries in the World Trade Organization, but these alliances also challenge cooperation between interest groups within the poor states. (Terraviva)


New Year Shock: Millions Set to Lose Garment Jobs (December 17, 2004)

Christian Aid warns of the dire social consequences in poor textile producing countries as the Multi Fiber Agreement ends on January 1, 2005. The World Trade Organization's "one size fits all liberalization" will not bring any major gains to consumers in rich countries, but it will impact garment workers negatively, as wages will race to the bottom.

The Patent Controversy (December 10, 2004)

India might face World Trade Organization retaliation for non-compliance if its government fails to pass a Third Patents Amendment Bill before January 1st, 2005. This Yale Global article stresses that patents "are not a gift for drug companies to exercise power without responsibility," challenging drug corporations' claims that patents are crucial for recouping their research and development costs. Further, it encourages the Indian government to rethink the amendment and stand up to its obligations to both the country's own population and the world's poor.

The Case of an Agricultural Exception: The World's Right to Feed Itself (December 2004)

The global agricultural system faces a great a test: to feed nine billion people without destroying nature and rural society. This Le Monde diplomatique article challenges the World Trade Organization's embracing of free trade orthodoxy and calls for a more socially and environmentally sustainable framework for international trade.

WTO Authorizes Trade Sanctions Against the United States (November 27, 2004)

In spite of US pressure to appeal its decision, the World Trade Organization has allowed the European Union, Canada and five other countries to impose a total of $150 million trade sanctions against the US. The sanctions punish the country for its illegal import duty law known as the Byrd Amendment. (New York Times)

Goodbye to Cheap Indian AIDS Drugs? (November 26, 2004)

Two major Indian producers of generic HIV/AIDS drugs have voluntarily removed the antiretroviral from the World Health Organization's list of approved medicines. Health related nongovernmental organizations fear that the unexpected self-suspension is due to the country's planned compliance with the World Trade Organization's standards for Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which may make generic drugs illegal from January 2005. (Inter Press Service)

Busted: World Trade Watchdog Declares EU & US Farm Subsidies Illegal (September 9, 2004)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that the majority of the subsidies the EU and US pay their sugar and cotton farmers are illegal under WTO rules. This represents a significant victory for poor countries who have suffered greatly from the agricultural subsidies in rich countries that have allowed dumping of cheap cotton and sugar goods (Oxfam International)

US Loses Trade Cases and Faces Penalties (September 1, 2004)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has once again ruled against the US in a case put forward by the European Union and seven other leading US trading partners. The trade organization concludes that the "Byrd Amendment" – which allows US corporations to act against foreign companies deemed to be unfairly dumping products - is incompatible with WTO rules. (New York Times)

Rising From the Ashes of Cancun - What the WTO's "July 2004 Package" Means (August 12, 2004)

After the WTO Ministerial in Cancun last September ended up in deadlock, groups in the global citizen's movement questioned the future and influence of the organization. But the non-binding "framework agreements," signed on July 31, 2004 in Geneva tells another story: the WTO is not paralyzed – on the contrary – it is preparing for the intense negotiations to finalize binding agreements by December 2005. (International Forum on Globalization)

WTO Deals New Blow to 'Big Power' Farm Subsidies (August 4, 2004)

The WTO, hoping to follow through with its mission of making Doha the "development round," declared the EU's sugar subsidies illegal. Though the ruling is "a triumph for developing countries," major subsidizers often ignore similar judgments, so it remains to be seen if these decisions will spur change. (Reuters)

The New WTO Framework Deal Bad for Canada, Bad for Developing Countries (August 3, 2004)

The WTO framework, signed in Geneva as a continuation of the Doha round, seem to be a breakthrough for fairness in international trade. However, in addition to harming developing countries, this agreement is "a disaster" for Canada as it brings an end to a domestic, agricultural oversight board and threatens public services. (OneWorld)

International Groups Denounce World Trade Pact (August 2, 2004)

NGOs criticize the results of recent WTO meetings in Geneva. On the surface, agreements claim to minimize US agricultural subsidies and help struggling international markets, but critics fear that the effects of these recommendations will not be as positive as they seem, arguing that rich countries' unenforceable "vague promises" are made only "in return for key concessions by developing countries." (OneWorld US)

One Minute to Midnight: Will WTO Negotiations in July Deliver a Meaningful Agreement? (July 2004)

Oxfam accuses rich countries of "neglecting developing country needs and imperiling the entire Doha Development Round" of the WTO talks. Though rich countries have been acting in their own self-interest thus far, Oxfam calls on them to change their strategies on market access, export dumping, and special or differential treatment of developing economies. (Oxfam)

Slow Motion Robbery: How the WTO Is Shrinking Options for Developing States (May 12, 2004)

This summary of the Development Research Centre's full Working Paper discusses how the Uruguay round of the WTO meeting will "systematically tip the playing field against developing countries." The policies diminish development options for poor governments by increasing intellectual property restrictions, removing performance requirements from trade agreements, and liberalizing the trade of services. These regulations secure the current Northern domination of the South.(Id21)

The Heavy Thud of American Cotton (May 10, 2004)

Clyde Prestowitz, President of the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington, argues that the WTOs ruling that US' multibillion-dollar subsidies to domestic cotton producers violated international trade rules might "nudge" forward reform of the world's unfair and costly farm subsidy programs. (Christian Science Monitor)

US Seeks £1bn from Europe over GM Ban (April 27, 2004)

The US has demanded that the European Union (EU) abandon its ban on the growing of genetically modified crops and pay at least US$1.8 billion in compensation for export losses in the past six years. The Guardian argues that this case, which has gone to the World Trade Organization for resolution, may spark a damaging trade war between the US and the EU and "split the international community."

Oxfam Welcomes News of WTO Ruling on Cotton, US Will Have to Reform Its Subsidy Program (April 27, 2004)

Brazil has won a "landmark trade battle" at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on cotton subsidies against the US. The WTO judged that US subsidies help depress world cotton prices and are an unfair trade practice. (Oxfam America)

Divide and Conquer: Bilateral Trade Agreements (April 6, 2004)

The multinational business lobby cannot easily dominate multilateral trade talks, exemplified when the Group of 21 poor nations walked out of the 2003 WTO session in Cancun. Instead, US businesses use a "divide and conquer" approach, sidestepping the unified demands of poor countries. The businesses push nations into bilateral trade deals, starting with the weakest. (Dominion)

Breaking out of the WTO Box (April 1, 2004)

In preparation for the UN Conference on Trade and Development in June 2004, NGOs drafted a proposal challenging the neo-liberal agenda of the WTO and suggested the UN as an alternative body to regulate global trade. (Utne)

Trade and Development: Current Issues and Suggestions (March 22, 2004)

Third World Network puts forward recommendations on how to make WTO trade agreements work for development. The collapse of the Cancun negotiations in September 2003 was largely due to the WTO's "flawed decision-making processes," where a few members adopt proposals in informal and un-transparent negotiations.


Back to Current Articles | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1996 - 1998

WTO Admits Stalemate Has Scuppered Relaunch of Global Trade Talks (December 16, 2003)

Trade negotiators deferred the formal relaunch of WTO trade talks for at least two more months, as they could not overcome the persisting deep differences between rich and poor countries. Poor countries express their disappointment with rich countries' stubbornness not to make concessions on farm subsidies and on market access for African cotton farmers. (Guardian)

Cancun's "Ghost" to Haunt New Trade Talks (December 16, 2003)

The "Singapore Issues" demand further liberalization of the world markets, promoting the activities of multinational corporations. Poor countries resisted EU pressure to include negotiations on these contentious issues in the WTO, causing the failure of the Cancun meeting. Now they must stay firm and continue calling attention to the injustices of the global trading system, says the Nation (Kenya).

For Bush, a Janus-Like View of Trade (November 12, 2003)

With the World Trade Organization ruling US "safeguard" tariffs on steel imports illegal, the US administration may face sanctions by the European Union. More important yet, the WTO decision illustrates the double standards of President Bush's trade policies. The US administration pushes for trade liberalization when it is profitable, but pursues protectionist policies at other times. (New York Times)

Cancun: A Good Idea at the Time (November 12, 2003)

The US and the EU might use the failure of the Cancun meeting as a pretext to "dim the lights at the WTO until they ultimately go out," fears the Asia Times. Both powers rely increasingly on signing regional trade agreements. And as the global web of preferential trade agreements expands, new intra-regional interests might destroy all prospects for multilateralism in trade.

Robbing the Poor to Pay the Rich? (November 2003)

This Oxfam International piece examines the negative effects of TRIPS, or US-supported World Trade Organization patent rules. The report condemns the US government for colluding with influential pharmaceutical lobby group PhRMA to implement these patent rules that increase the cost of drugs abroad by 800 percent. Although the US promised in the Doha Round to promote "access to medication for all," these restrictions prevent the poor from accessing desired treatments.

G20+ Might Just Add up for the WTO (October 11, 2003)

Colombia and Peru left the group of poor countries that urges an end to agricultural subsidies. Yet, the group still represents important parts of the world population and presses the US and the EU to resume the multilateral negotiation process at the WTO. (Inter Press Service)

A New Beginning for WTO after Cancun (October 10, 2003)

The Cancun meeting demonstrated that "free trade" creates and perpetuates intolerable inequalities. However, the meeting gave real hope to the future of fair trade as a way of achieving a sustainable trading environment. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

A Spectre Haunts the Post-Cancun World (October 6, 2003)

Since the 1980s, deregulation and liberalization of trade and capital flows undermined domestic policy efforts to support equitable and sustainable growth, says Rubens Ricupero, secretary-general of UNCTAD. He urges for debt relief and better conditions of debt repayment, to ensure that international trade and finance promote development. (Guardian)

The Heavy Price of WTO Membership (September 30, 2003)

To join the WTO in 2003, Nepal and Cambodia, two of the world's poorest countries, paid a heavy price. They agreed to immediate tariff concessions and liberalization obligations "so binding that they threaten to stifle the same development strategies that were designed to benefit from membership of the elite trading family." (Asia Times)

The Fine Art of Failure (September 25, 2003)

After the collapse of the WTO talks in Cancun, China attracts praise both for its activism and its restraint in the negotiations. While it did not risk challenging the US directly, China's remarkable influence in a coalition of poor countries contributed to humble the Western powers. (Far Eastern Economic Review)

Cancun: Can the G22 Survive Success? (September 24, 2003)

This article fears that US pressure might break up the Group of 22 by promising better bilateral trade deals to the 13 Latin American countries taking part in that alliance. The US already succeeded in pulling out El Salvador. (Inter Press Service)

Cancun Was Where WTO Found Glasnost – and a Chance for Renewal (September 22, 2003)

Kevin Watkins of Oxfam argues that the WTO Cancun meeting opened a veritable opportunity to renew the global trade rules that perpetuate world poverty. He urges the European Union to take the political leadership in defending trade multilateralism. The WTO needs EU support to frame a rule of law that could circumscribe the US drive toward unilateralism. (Guardian)

Beyond WTO, Will South-South Cooperation Bite? (September 18, 2003)

During the WTO ministerial, poor countries formed several new alliances, among them the Group of 22. Such south-south alliances had emerged in the 1960s, but could not fully use their potential. Today however, the strength of social movements in poor countries may embolden the alliances and increase their power to bargain better world trade deals. (Panos)

A Threat to the Rich (September 16, 2003)

European trade commissioner Pascal Lamy "may accidentally have engineered a better world, by fighting so doggedly for a worse one," says George Monbiot. Lamy's demands provoked poor states to walk out of WTO negotiations, giving momentum to the fight for more global justice. (Guardian)

Brussels Urges Shakeup of "Medieval" WTO (September 16, 2003)

While the US threatens to pursue a unilateral approach to trade deals after the second failure of the WTO in four years, the European Union urges a radical overhaul of the WTO. (Guardian)

Cambodia's Entry Could Be Panacea – or Bitter Pill (September 12, 2003)

Cambodia's entry into the WTO will have serious impacts on the country's 170,000 people living with AIDS. To ensure acceptance in the WTO, Cambodia agreed to immediately halt the use of generic versions of new medicines. (Inter Press Service)

Whose Trade Organization? (September 9, 2003)

The ideological divide between rich and poor countries at the WTO has deepened. While rich countries want the WTO rules to be "the Constitution for a single global economy", poor countries expect the WTO to deal with trade in a way that benefits all nations. (TomPaine)

Europe, US Are Bully-Boys of World Trade, NGOs Charge (September 9, 2003)

This article advises poor countries to remain wary of the European Union's "development-friendly" rhetoric. The Union frequently resorts to "inappropriate tactics" in pursuit of its own commercial interests. (One World)

Cambodia's Accession to the WTO (September 3, 2003)

Cambodia is the first "least developed country" to join the WTO since 1995 when the organization was created. This Oxfam report criticizes how WTO members pressured Cambodia "into making concessions that go far beyond the level of commitments made by LDCs that are already members of the WTO."

The Worst of Times (September 2, 2003)

George Monbiot compares the injustices at the WTO negotiations with the French situation a few years before the Revolution. While promising to eliminate disparities between rich and poor countries, the powerful countries refuse with "brutal diplomacy" to address the demands of the poor. "But eventually, as in France, there must be a revolution." (Guardian)

A Shared Vision: The EU Water Policy and European Water Corporate Interests (September 2003)

European governments use the WTO agreement on trade in services (GATS) to serve the interests of their national water corporations, says the Heinrich Bí¶ll Foundation. The EU claims that liberalizing water services will contribute to poverty eradication. Yet liberalization may undermine existing and efficient initiatives of water distribution in poor countries.

WTO Entry Helps China Pull It Off (August 22, 2003)

Analysts had predicted that China's accession to the WTO would open up a large export market for EU and US grain and soybeans. Yet, China became an even larger net exporter of agricultural products in its first year as a WTO member, demonstrating that it can "swim with the sharks in Cancun without being eaten alive." (Economic Times)

WTO's Attack on Public Education (August 10, 2003)

World Trade Organization may include education in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Students worry that this would reduce public spending on post-secondary institutions and increase dependence on private funding, jeopardizing the affordability of degrees and making research a corporate commodity. (ZNet)

Turning the Trade Tables (August 1, 2003)

Business remained silent when the WTO challenged environmental and health regulations. But when the organization struck down a tax law favorable to the private sector, even corporations began to reconsider the WTO. (TomPaine)

Towards WTO Cancun Ministerial: Abandoning Agriculture (August 1, 2003)

The highly publicized US-EU conflict over agriculture in the WTO has kept both trade powers' subsidies programs intact, while ensuring no concessions will be made to poor countries. (ZNet)

Business Rules: Who Pays the Price? (August 2003)

This report by Friends of the Earth International and Corporate Europe Observatory documents the powerful influence transnational corporations exert on the WTO process.

Investment Agreement in the WTO: Opening Pandora's Box? (July 25, 2003)

Transnational corporations and rich countries want the WTO to adopt investment rules that would protect foreign investors while limiting countries' abilities to protect labor, the environment, and public health. (ZNet)

Pledging Allegiance to US Foreign Policy (July 18, 2003)

The Bush Administration favors bilateral trade agreements over WTO negotiations. Playing trading partners off each other can extract deeper concessions, including acquiescence to US foreign policy. (Rabble)

Lone Sharks (July 17, 2003)

Advocates of trade liberalization usually support the Bush administration, but Washington's unilateral approach to world trade has shocked its traditional neo-liberal allies. The administration seems opposed to all multilateral institutions, even those that share its ideology. (New Republic)

Cancun: A Battle for Life (July 16, 2003)

WTO trade rules favor rich countries over poor countries. In Cancun, the developing world must fight for a more equitable balance. (Jakarta Post)

The Paradox of Free Trade (July 8, 2003)

Rich countries are hypocritical to call for free trade while blocking the world's poorest farmers' products from their markets. The US, EU, and Japan will have to cut agricultural subsidies and make other concessions for the Doha round to succeed. (All Africa)

A High-Risk Trade Policy (July/August, 2003)

Bernard K. Gordon argues that Washington's push for bilateral trade agreements is unwise for an economy with widely distributed exports, especially since rising trade blocs already challenge US economic power. But if the US uses the WTO to strengthen its national trading interests it could threaten multilateralism. (Foreign Affairs)

I Was Wrong About Trade (June 24, 2003)

Changing his earlier stance, George Monbiot believes our aim should not be to abolish the WTO, but to transform it. (Guardian)

The Battle over GMOs (June 23, 2003)

Following the EU, Asian countries put a moratorium on US-produced GMOs, pending further research into their environmental and commercial implications. Nonetheless, strong US trade ties increase the pressure on Asian countries to open their markets. (Asian Times)

'Frakenfish' Threaten Wild Salmon (June 17, 2003)

The WTO's anti-democratic procedures have ensured that genetically engineered fish will not be up for discussion at the ministerial conference in Sacramento, despite their harmful impact on wild fish stocks. (Counterpunch)

Throwing Precaution to the Wind (June 4, 2003)

The US challenge to a European ban on genetically modified food in the WTO demonstrates the danger the trade body poses to health and environmental laws. Worse, it could require the Europeans to adopt less rigorous safety regulations, giving the benefit of the doubt to manufacturers who claim their products are safe. (ZNet)

Europe Is Making Progress On Reform of Farm Subsidies (May 29, 2003)

France considers reforming farm subsidies, after international criticism of commodity dumping on third world farmers. French propaganda stalls the crucial decision facing the EU about its Common Agricultural Policy before the Cancun WTO conference in September. (Wall Street Journal)

IMF, World Bank Join Forces with WTO (May 12, 2003)

Senior officials of the IMF, World Bank and WTO will meet in Geneva to synchronize their policies on developing nations. NGOs are concerned that the common agenda will make trade and development policy more inflexible, entrenching the organizations one-sided approach to development and widening the gap between the rich and poor. (Inter Press Service)

Rich Nations Continue to Wield Power in Global Bodies (May 6, 2003)

NGOs point out the undemocratic governance structures of the UN, WTO, IMF and World Bank. Despite professing to create an equitable global community, these institutions concentrate power among world's richest nations. (Inter Press Service)

Development Policy in the New Millennium and the "Doha Development Round" (May 2003)

Kenneth W. Abbott of Northwestern University admits that trade negotiations do not fit many aspects of development. Yet, he argues, trade institutions like the WTO can still make major contributions if they integrate poor countries' concerns in trade rules and remove existing impediments to development. (Asian Development Bank)

Regional Consultation on the WTO/Trips Agreement and Access to Medicines: Appropriate Policy Responses (April 17-19, 2003)

A Regional Consultation in Sri Lanka on the TRIPS Agreement and Medicines Access strongly recommends that developing countries use the flexibilities in TRIPS to promote public health. This workshop also expresses appreciation for NGO campaigns against exclusive rights of patent-holding pharmaceutical companies. (Third World Net)

Trade Barriers Perpetuate Poverty (April 15, 2003)

Members of the Cairns Group, a coalition of agricultural exporting countries, make a joint statement in the International Herald Tribune condemning the US and the EU for refusing to budge on agricultural subsidies. The objective of the Doha round is "not to perpetuate the present distortions and inequalities," reads the statement.

Geneva is Hit by US War on Terrorism (April 7, 2003)

This commentary argues that the Bush administration's increasingly unilateral approach to global trade regime could lead to the decline of the multilateral trade framework. The author warns that the rise of a US-dominated network of bilateral trade deals would impose more harsh conditions on developing countries. (Guardian)

Betraying the World's Poor (April 5, 2003)

New York Times attributes the failure of the recent Doha round of WTO negotiations to increasing protectionism by the US and EU. According to this editorial, the failure to reach an agreement betrays the supposed "development" agenda of the Doha talks.

Global Trade Unions State Position for WTO Cancun Meeting (April 4, 2003)

This statement from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) calls for debt relief, democracy, environmental protection, poverty eradication and core labor standards as part of a wider WTO agenda to increase global growth and improve living standards. The ICFTU sets out clear goals and recommendations for the 2003 ministerial meeting in Cancun.

Moving Beyond a Trade Setback (April 2, 2003)

In an article for the International Herald Tribune, WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi insists that the WTO's failure to meet its deadline for agricultural agreements does not spell death for the Doha trade round. Still, Supachai warns that governments' persistent refusal to reach an agreement "would send a very bad signal to a very nervous world."

African Countries Don't Want to Start Negotiating Singapore Issues (April 2003)

African countries call for a clarification process during the WTO's Cancum conference to strengthen developing countries' capacity to negotiate complex trade-related issues. (Third World Net)

WTO Rules American Steel Tariffs Are Illegal (March 26, 2003)

The WTO recently ruled that steel tariffs imposed last year by the Bush administration violate WTO rules, pleasing EU officials who call the tariffs unjustified and highly protectionist. This ruling was the second major loss for the US at the WTO in the last year. (New York Times)

The Dangers to Doha: The Risks of Failure in the Trade Round (March 25, 2003)

Clare Short, Britain's Secretary of State for International Development, addresses crucial issues facing the WTO in the upcoming Cancun trade round. She supports enforcement of the Doha development agenda and advocates reforms in WTO rules, TRIPS and public health, agriculture, textiles and clothing, services, investment and competition. (AllAfrica)

United by Free Trade (March 24, 2003)

A Washington Post editorial argues that strained US-Europe relations and stalled progress in the new trade negotiations are eroding confidence in global economic integration. The editorial also criticizes the current US positions on agriculture and generic drug issues.

US Unilateralism Worries Trade Officials (March 17)

Top officials at the WTO express concern over the Bush administration's unilateral approach to multilateral institutions. Officials fear US unilateralism will undermine the credibility of the WTO. (New York Times)

Cotton Pickin' - The Phoney War over Farm Subsidies (March 5, 2003)

Kevin Watkins exposes US back-tracking on its promise to eliminate agricultural export subsidies for cotton. This process is devastating the livelihood of millions of West Africa's cotton farmers. (Guardian)

Why Mexico's Small Corn Farmers Go Hungry (March 3, 2003)

Tina Rosenberg examines the economic bankruptcy of Mexico's small corn farmers after Mexico liberalized its market for agricultural products. Rosenberg also criticizes the Mexican government's neglect of its small scale agricultural sector. (New York Times)

Generic Drugs Can Make the Money Last (March 1, 2003)

Two senior World Bank officials urge the US government not to restrict continued access to cheap generic drugs in poor countries. They point out that the least developed states only form a tiny portion of the global pharmaceutical market. The plan allows them to import generic drugs without undermining the interests of big western pharmaceutical corporations. (New York Times)

Trade Preferences and Environmental Goods (February, 2003)

In an unusual twist on the environmental effects of trade liberalization, this document shows how a WTO mandate to eliminate tariffs on environmental goods and services could make it less expensive for developing countries to "go green." (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

Food First or Trade First? (February 25, 2003)

Vandana Shiva criticizes the WTO for referring to food security and rural development as barriers to trade. Shiva believes that WTO reform should prioritize the importance of food security in poor countries, and advocates tariff increases for poor countries in the face of rich countries' dumping practices. (The Hindu)

EU's Secret Plans Hold Poor Countries to Ransom (February 25, 2003)

The European Union has drawn up secret plans aimed at opening up service sector markets in the world's poorest countries in return for cutting its lavish farm subsidies. According to development campaigners, this move reveals that Brussels' agenda is not pro-development. (Guardian)

EU Demands Corporate Access to U.S. Postal and Municipal Water Systems (February 25, 2003)

Through the World Trade Organization's GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) negotiations, the EU plans to participate in the privatization of US public services, especially water and sanitation. This agreement could potentially erode state sovereignty while damaging consumer, environmental and labor rights. (Public Citizen)

Bhutan Looks to WTO to Lift the Happiness Index (February 24, 2003)

The country of Bhutan measures economic growth by a "happiness index" which takes into account "a sustainable balance among the economic, social, emotional and cultural needs of the people." Bhutan is negotiating to join the WTO in hopes that market liberalization will boost the country's happiness. (Bloomberg)

Education Exporters Take Case to WTO (February 18, 2003)

Student organizations are resisting efforts by the US and several other developed states to press for education liberalization in the WTO talks on services. Critics emphasize education's function as a public good and warn against treating education as a commodity. (International Herald Tribune)

Nations Still Far Apart on Farm Subsidies, Cheap Drugs (February 17, 2003)

The recent WTO proposal on agriculture subsidies provoked criticism from developing countries. They believe this proposal fails to address the industrialized countries' unfair practice of heavily subsiding the domestic farming sector. (Inter Press Service)

The Poor Folk Can Play Hardball Too (February 17, 2003)

Larry Elliot of the Guardian analyzes the three major problems that led to the failure of last week's informal WTO meeting on agricultural products and public health. Elliot satirizes the big pharmaceutical industry's relentless effort to enforce its patent rights, resulting in restricted medicine access in poor countries. (Guardian)

WTO Document Proposes Ending Farm Export Subsidies (February 12, 2003)

A leaked WTO document proposes to increase trade liberalization through the elimination of agricultural export subsidies. The proposal heightened tensions between members, especially the EU, whose farmers rely on these subsidies for their livelihoods. (Associated Press)

Life And Death At The WTO (February 11, 2003)

This article illustrates US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick's effort to distort the Doha Declaration on public health. Zoellick tried to restrict the scope of the Declaration's implementation, a move that intended to preserve the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. (ZNet)

World Trade Body Ignores Union Appeals Over El Salvador's Treatment of Workers (February 6, 2003)

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) submitted a recent report to the WTO exposing poor labor rights protections in El Salvador, particularly in Export Processing Zones. Ignoring the report altogether, the WTO praised El Salvador for its efforts to open its economy to trade and investment. (OneWorld US)

UN Trade Body Says Rich Block Commodity Producers (February 4, 2003)

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) criticizes rich countries for raising tariffs to protect domestic agriculture, a move that hurts poor countries' exports. (Reuters)

EU Backs Poor Farmers' Seed Use (February 3, 2003)

The EU will review two proposals to limit the power of the biotech industry and protect the rights of poor and indigenous peoples. The proposals would require "bio-prospectors" to disclose the origin of biological materials used in new inventions, and would protect the rights of poor farmers to save and reuse seed. (BBC)

Balancing Trade Rules, the Environment and Sustainable Development (February 1, 2003)

From the WTO's Doha "development" trade round to public-private "partnerships" for development, members of the world business community have begun to promote themselves as purveyors of poverty alleviation. But this interview with the General Manager of the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia reveals the wariness with which poor countries receive such rhetoric. (allAfrica)

Making Global Trade Work For People (January 30, 2003)

A recent UNDP report appeals to multilateral trade organizations to shift their focus away from promoting trade liberalization and towards fostering development instead. The report cites a lack of correlation between liberalization and high growth. This document recommends adding four basic principles to the WTO's agenda in order to achieve this objective. (UNDP)

Patently Wrong (January 28, 2003)

A resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think-tank with corporate ties, outlines why pharmaceuticals need more patent protection, not less. Pharmaceutical corporations simply need the right incentives (i.e. higher profits) to produce drugs to help poor people, he argues. (Washington Times)

War on Iraq Would Affect WTO Trade Talks (January 25, 2003)

Activists at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil warn that a US war on Iraq could compromise developing countries' ability to steer the agenda in the WTO Doha "development" trade round. The US may use the impetus from a victory in Iraq to shift the talks from "development" to "investment, competition and government procurements." (Inter Press Service)

Driving the GATS Juggernaut (January, 2003)

The WTO's General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS) is a product of twenty years of intense lobbying by the US financial services industry, this Red Pepper article argues. Services corporations' extensive influence over GATS policy "has no place in a democratic policy-making process."


Is The WTO Collapsing Under Its Own Ambitions? (December 31, 2002)

Focus on the Global South Deputy Director Nicola Bullard argues that the WTO's agenda has become so packed that poor nations can't afford to hire enough staff to cover all the negotiations. As a result, rich nations have been able to dictate the key negotiations in the Doha "development" trade round. (ATTAC)

US Blocks Cheaper Drugs Deal (December 18, 2002)

The US unilaterally derailed WTO negotiations aimed at making essential medicines more available to people in poor countries, arguing that the proposed agreement needed "clarification." All other 143 members of the WTO, including impoverished African countries hit hard by the AIDS crisis, were prepared to sign the agreement. (News24)

In Need of Therapy (December 11, 2002)

"Confirmation today, as if it were needed, that the WTO Secretariat lives on another planet." This article takes a shot at the WTO for enthusiastically encouraging Zambia to keep up its commitment to liberalization, even though liberalization policies have consistently resulted in increased poverty and decreased growth. (ATTAC)

Pharma's Relentless Drive For Profits Explains US Trade Negotiations (December 10, 2002)

Brook K. Baker of Health GAP argues that pharmaceutical companies directly influence the US position on drug patents in WTO negotiations in order to maintain high profit margins from medicine sales in the developing world. The US position undermines both the Doha declaration and domestic law prohibiting intellectual properly laws from jeopardizing public health.

Quest for Labour Standards in WTO (December 9, 2002)

This article in the Zimbabwe Herald highlights the flaws in the International Labour Organization and labor rights groups' campaigns to integrate labor standards into the WTO's trade laws. The article presents a common argument against labor standards: that cheap labor represents poor countries' sole comparative advantage in the global market.

Access To Essential Drugs May Be Undermined By Global Patent Agreement (December 1, 2002)

A Panos Institute report warns that the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS) could further limit access to medicine in poor countries. The report proposes alternatives to strict patents that would make life saving drugs affordable to all people.

Industrialised North Puts Brakes on WTO Medicine Accord (November 29, 2002)

WTO negotiators failed to reach an agreement on drug patents that would have improved access to essential medicines for people in poor countries. Non-governmental organizations blame industrialized countries, "dictated by the ambitions of the big pharmaceutical companies," for stalling the negotiations. (Inter Press Service)

Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) a Sell Out, Say Experts (November 16, 2002)

The WTO's Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement could have serious consequences for Kenya's ability to profit from traditional cultural products such as textile designs. Most African countries do not have the staff or the expertise to form a large presence at TRIPS negotiations, weakening their bargaining power. (Public Agenda (Accra))

Sweet Nothings (November 16, 2002)

Larry Elliot of the Guardian calls the US and the EU's refusal to dismantle damaging agricultural subsidies while continuing to push for liberalization in developing countries during the WTO's Doha "development" trade round "nauseatingly hypocritical."

Aids Drug Deal 'Within Reach' (November 15, 2002)

The new round of World Trade Organization meetings in Sydney produced a highly anticipated agreement concerning the trade of generic drugs, allowing developing nations to both produce and export cheap copies. While it is a great weapon in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, this legislation does not cover cancer or diabetes. Also, it is unclear whether exported generics will be cheap enough for the impoverished countries that need them most. (BBC)

What Became of WTO's `Development Round'? (November 14, 2002)

Kevin Watkins of Oxfam Great Britain argues that the US and the EU's refusal to dismantle agricultural subsides, their reluctance to reform intellectual property laws on medicine, and their promotion of public service liberalization during the so-called Doha "development" trade round all constitute a "reckless disregard for poverty." (Bangkok Post)

Water a Precious Tradable Commodity (November 13, 2002)

Only five percent of the world's population buys water from transnational corporations, but annual revenues already reach forty percent of the oil sector. With this enormous potential for profit, water TNCs are pushing to legitimize the trade of water as a commodity through the WTO's General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS). (Jakarta Post)

Deconstructing Market Access: Whose Market, Whose Access? (November 2, 2002)

Indian activist Vandana Shiva challenges the idea that developing countries would inevitably benefit from trade access to markets in the North. Shiva argues that "free" trade often produces deepening poverty and inequality in developing countries, and she proposes a model for "fair" trade as an alternative. (ZNet)

Zoellick's Trade-Deal Push Could Undermine the WTO (October 25, 2002)

US trade representative Robert Zoellick, under the authority of the "fast track" initiative, has "littered" the world with bilateral trade agreements. Critics, including some large US exporters, question Zoellick's motives, arguing that bilateral agreements could ultimately undermine efforts to promote free and fair trade. (Wall Street Journal)

On Intellectual Property, US Forgets Its Own Past (October 16, 2002)

Before the US outright rejects developing nations' request to ease intellectual property laws under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, it ought to examine its own "swashbuckling" path to development in the nineteenth century. (New York Times)

UN Disease Fund Opens Way to Generics (October 16, 2002)

The UN Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will require poor countries to buy the lowest priced medicines on the market, including generic versions of patented drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have expressed surprising support for the decision. (New York Times)

Look Again at How to Help the Poor (October 16, 2002)

Representatives from Dutch farmers' organizations respond to criticism from developing countries and international institutions that agricultural subsidies in the rich world hurt farmers in impoverished countries. The article argues that, among other considerations, critics should instead address the growing influence of multinational corporations on agriculture. (International Herald Tribune)

Group Moves to Protect Farmers' Right to Seeds (October 15, 2002)

ActionAid, a British-based development organization, urges representatives attending the WTO's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council meeting to safeguard farmers' rights to reuse seeds. Seed corporations require that farmers planting patented varieties of grain buy new seed every year or face strict penalties. (OneWorld South Asia)

The Rich World's Veto on Reform (October 15, 2002)

George Monbiot argues that a "dictatorship of vested interests is locked into the system" of global governance in the World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO. Those with the most power to make progressive change for social justice have the least incentive to do so. (The Guardian)

WTO Moves Closer to UN (October 11, 2002)

New WTO leader Supachai Panitchpakdi breaks with his predecessors by pledging to forge closer relations with UN agencies such as the UN Conference on Trade and Development. Supachai hopes the partnership will help the WTO come to a "real understanding" about the interests of developing countries concerning trade. (Inter Press Service)

Can the WTO's New Leader Make It a Force for Change? (October 7, 2002)

WTO Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi hopes to pursue an ambitious agenda for change, including forging relationships with non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and "bringing developing countries into the center of the global trading system." (Business Week)

Laying the Groundwork for Cancun: Another Doha "Success" (September 25, 2002)

Aileen Kwa of Focus on the Global South reveals how powerful countries are already taking steps to manipulate the 2003 Cancun ministerial in their favor. Developed countries have requested that the process in Cancun remain "flexible," in effect allowing those with the most power to bend procedural rules at will.

Why is the WTO Meeting in Sydney? (September 25, 2002)

The US, Canada, the EU, and Japan dominate the World Trade Organization decision-making process, formulating binding trade agreements behind closed doors in "consultation" with developing countries. Only twenty-five governments will attend the "informal mini-Ministerial" in Sydney in November. (Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network)

Who Controls the Loot? (September 25, 2002)

The UNDP's Human Development Report 2002 criticizes the World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO for undemocratic decision-making processes that exclude developing countries. The report calls for increased transparency and accountability at all three institutions. (ATTAC)

China's New Economy Begins on the Farm (September 25, 2002)

China's five-hundred million farmers bear the brunt of new economic challenges after China's entry into the World Trade Organization. With grain prices falling, many farmers must adjust to the demands of the free market to survive. (Washington Post)

WTO Secretariat's Chef de Cabinet Breaks the Rules (September 23, 2002)

Newly appointed Chef de Cabinet Stuart Harbinson will not step down from his post as chair on the Committee on Agriculture, violating WTO policy. Developing countries worry that, in a repeat of the Doha conference, Harbinson will pursue only powerful countries' interests in order to reach a "consensus." (Focus on the Global South)

WTO Rules Against US on Anti-Dumping Payments Law (September 16, 2002)

The Byrd amendment channels funds from anti-dumping taxes to US corporations, "protecting domestic producers against 'unfairly' priced or subsidized products." The law violates WTO regulations, and clearly demonstrates US hypocrisy regarding subsidies. (Reuters)

Giving Away the Farm: The 2002 Farm Bill (Summer, 2002)

This report from Food First argues that the United States' 2002 Farm Bill promotes corporate agribusiness at the expense of small farmers in the US and abroad. The Bill provides subsidies to large corporate farms, allowing them to dump surplus grain into developing markets.

Patents "Could Hinder Poverty Reduction" (September 12, 2002)

The Commission on Intellectual Property Rights released a report criticizing the WTO for failing to recognize the complex relationship between intellectual property rights and economic development. This article covers the key issues, including traditional knowledge and drug patents in developing countries. (

Globalization's Bad Effects Discussed (September 12, 2002)

NGOs, labor groups, and businesses met to discuss ways for governments to mitigate globalization's negative impacts. They insisted that the WTO must consider this debate before commencing further negotiations on trade issues. (BusinessWorld)

Africa Asks for Mass Retaliation in Trade Rows (September 11, 2002)

The high cost of trade dispute litigation in the WTO disadvantages poor nations. African nations and India call for reforms, but rich countries refuse to consider such changes. (Independent (The Gambia))

WTO Boss Accepts Some Blame for Social Problems Caused by Trade (September 6, 2002)

New World Trade Organization Director General Supachai Pantchpakdi acknowledged that some WTO policies produce adverse social effects, particularly on health care and biodiversity in developing countries. (Agence France Presse)

Reforming Global Trade in Agriculture: A Developing-Country Perspective (September, 2002)

A World Trade Organization employee criticizes the Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) for not succeeding in opening up markets in developed countries. The new rounds following Doha should focus on the imbalances in trade regulations and give developing countries increased flexibility to enhance domestic production. (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

New WTO Boss Backs Poor (September 3, 2002)

The new head of the World Trade Organization, Supachai Panitchpakdi, says he wants to focus on poor country needs and progress on agriculture policies. He fears that trade conflicts may increase in the future and seeks to interact more with WTO critics. (BBC)

Improving Global Economic Governance (August, 2002)

This South Center paper shows that the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank lack "basic elements of good institutional governance" such as equal representation and transparency. The paper suggests reforms for the institutions' respective roles and specific policies.

Main Development from WTO Talks is a Fine Line in Hypocrisy (August 26, 2002)

Doha's development round resulted in "the development of rich country self-interest and corporate profit - and it will reinforce a pattern of globalization that is perpetuating mass poverty and extreme inequality," says Kevin Watkins, Senior policy adviser at Oxfam.(Guardian)

The Great EU Sugar Scam (August, 2002)

This report by Oxfam criticizes the EU's generous sugar subsidies as an example of the West's double standards in trade policy. In this way, rich producers in Europe can depress world prices and receive vast surpluses, while poor farmers suffer the consequences.

For WTO's Next Chief, a Long List of Headaches (August 15, 2002)

The director general of the World Trade Organization, Mr Supachai Panitchpakdi, will have to tackle the developing world's discontent over unfair terms of trade, while trying to appease growing divisions between the EU and the US. (New York Times)

TRIPS : A More Sinister Case of Ladder-Kicking? (July 30, 2002)

South Centre argues that the TRIPS agreement reinforces market monopoly and benefits the most-advantaged. Burdensome conditions on developing countries put forward by industrialized countries make "the Spirit of Doha" seem forgotten.

Mounting Pressure to Liberalize Services: Developing Countries Need to Put Their People's Needs First (May 29, 2002)

International South Group Network uses the current debate on trade in services to show the powerlessness of developing countries in the WTO. "In this 'member-driven' organization, some members are more equal than others."

America the Scofflaw (May 24, 2002)

Steel tariffs recently imposed by the Bush Administration demonstrate the US's serious disregard for international rules. The author questions the purpose of giving the President "fast-track" powers to negotiate trade agreements when the US does not honor existing agreements. (New York Times)

Steel Dispute Escalates In Asia (May 23, 2002)

China joins the list of countries retaliating against US steel tariffs by imposing tariffs between 7%-26% on certain steel products. China's move, along with recent retaliatory threats from other countries, indicates that the US may have triggered a global wave of protectionism. (Washington Post)

How Bush Stumbled On Steel (Friday, May 17, 2002)

The Bush Administration and the US Congress are sacrificing global trade relations for political gains and reelection purposes. Steel tariffs and the farm subsidies bill prove "that what really matters in Washington…is the 2004 electoral map," despite international criticism of rising US protectionism. (Washington Post)

The WTO, The Post Doha Agenda and The Future of The Trade System (May 10, 2002)

Martin Khor from the Third World Network reveals a serious bias in the WTO's Doha trade round: developing countries tend to pay more adjustment costs and receive fewer benefits than developed countries in trade agreements. Khor also suggests an agenda for a new round of negotiations that would cater to the needs of developing countries. ( Third World Network)

South America Up in Arms Over US Farm Bill (May 10, 2002)

The US Congress' passage of the farm subsidy bill receives negative reactions in the global trade arena, particularly among South American countries threatening to bring the case before the WTO. The bill exemplifies US hypocrisy as an advocate of free trade. (Inter Press Service)

Dangerous Activities (May 9, 2002)

Trade disputes signal to developing countries that the US and EU are not opening their markets and therefore contradict the agreements made at the Doha trade talks. Agricultural and steel clashes "could undermine the political legitimacy of the WTO." (Economist)

Oxfam's Response to Walden Bello's Article on Make Trade Fair (May 3, 2002)

In this note, Oxfam defends its position that international trade rules must be made fair against Bello's charge that the report promotes neo-liberal, export-led growth in its focus on greater market access for developing countries. (Oxfam)

What's Wrong With the Oxfam Trade Campaign (April 26, 2002)

While renewing his respect for Oxfam, Walden Bello disagrees with the focus of its recent report that promotes developing countries' access to northern markets. Instead, Bello believes the WTO's haphazard and unfair liberalization policies constitute the root of global trade problems. (Focus on the Global South)

Prospects for Good Global Governance (April 15, 2002)

Walden Bello traces the origins of the legitimacy crisis facing the World Bank, IMF, WTO and G-7. He proposes a new "decentralized, pluralistic system of global economic governance" to replace these undemocratic institutions. (Focus on the Global South)

Rigged Rules and Double Standards (2002)

In a controversial new report, Oxfam argues that free trade's potential to reduce poverty is not realized because the rules governing international trade have been "rigged" in favor of the rich. Oxfam suggests institutional and policy reforms that would allow the benefits of trade to be shared more equally.

EU Adopts Temporary Measures to Guard Against Floods of Steel Imports Resulting from US Protectionism (March 27, 2002)

This press release details the EU steel import quotas and tariffs, which will be in effect for up to six months. The measures, which fully comply with WTO rules, effectively exclude developing countries. (Europa)

EU Readies US Sanctions in Steel Row (March 22, 2002)

The European Union is preparing a list of US goods for sanctions in retaliation for the new 30% tariff on imported steel imposed by President George Bush. This response to US protectionist tariff heightens tensions between the US and its major European allies. (Reuters)

China Files Complaint to WTO On Steel Tariffs (March 15, 2002)

In a complaint to the World Trade Organization, China joins the growing list of countries unhappy about the US imposition of tariffs on steel imports. (Bloomberg News)

Trial of Strength over US Steel Poses Crucial Challenge to WTO (March 7, 2002)

The World Trade Organization's dispute settlement body will face a great challenge when a joint complaint by most of the world reaches its headquarters accusing the US of violating the basic rule of trade liberalization. (Agence France Presse)

EU Pledges Legal Fight against 'Wild West' US (March 7, 2002)

The European Union, joined by Japan, Brazil, South Korea, Russia, China, Australia and the rest of the World, condemn the US for anachronistic hypocrissy and will bring their complaint before the World Trade Organization. (Guardian)

Remove Structural Imbalances Favoring Rich Countries in Agricultural Trade (March 2002)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson issued a report that analyzes the effects of agricultural liberalization on human rights. The report calls for an end to policies that favor rich countries and ‘special and differential' treatment for poor farmers in developing countries. (Third World Network)

US Ready for Free-Trade Pact With SA (February 11, 2002)

South African Customs Union member South Africa faces a tough choice over Free Trade Agreement with the US. WTO disputes with US companies and proposed wider market access for them dampen enthusiasm about a bilateral rather than regional Agreement. (Business Day)

The Costs of Change (February 12, 2002)

The difficult transformation ahead for China after its accession to the WTO is highlighted by growing rural unemployment and increasing income inequality between a rising urban middle class and rural China. (Asia Times Online)


 What Are We For? (September 6, 2001)

Globalization has led to increased poverty, injustice, subordination, anti-solidarity and ecological disasters. New institutions are needed to replace the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO as they serve strictly the interests of the elite. (ZNet)

What Doha Means for Africa (December 2001)

While the WTO trade talks in Doha brought some favorable compromises to Africa, the wide-ranging and complex agenda set for the next few years poses a challenge for the limited resources available to many African countries. (Africa Recovery)

Doha to Johannesburg (December, 2001)

"In November of 2001, trade ministers from 140 nations gathered in Doha, Qatar to give the WTO an historic new mandate that could intensify the burning of fossil fuels, the logging of native forests, the depletion of fisheries, the use of toxic chemicals, and the release of genetically-modified organisms." (Focus on Trade)

Intellectual Property and the Knowledge Gap (December, 2001)

This Oxfam paper discusses the problems with intellectual property rules, which contribute to poverty and underdevelopment in developing countries. It also suggests possible campaign strategies to change the rules, so that they will serve people in need rather than big corporations.

Doha: Saving WTO, Killing Democracy (December 4, 2001)

The "success" of the World Trade Organization implies the loss of power for people, civil society, and democratic elected representatives. Since Doha, the need for a new democracy movement is more important then ever. (Znet)

Maran Criticises WTO Process (December 4, 2001)

Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Murasoil Maran criticizes the World Trade Organization for forcing developing countries into accepting agreements. Maran calls for a "serious introspection" of the WTO's policy-making procedures. (Hindu)

Investment Rules After Doha: A Time to Sow? (November 29, 2001)

The World Trade Organization will launch negotiations on investments. Instead of letting the WTO create a "liberalize-at-all-costs" formula, the time has come for advocacy groups to figure out the content of a sustainable development framework for investment rules, having both social and environmental impacts. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Renowned US Economists Denounce Corporate-Led Globalization (November 18, 2001)

Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, and internationally acclaimed economist Paul Krugman criticize the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organization. They argue that these organizations pursue hypocritical, dogmatic and undemocratic policies influenced by big business. (Grassroots Globalization Network)

Doha Spells Disaster for Development (November 18, 2001)

This article argues that more than one international economic system is possible. The author tries to promote alternatives in the interest of wider equity, security and raise living standards for everyone. (Observer)

Ministerial Declaration (November 14, 2001)

The World Trade Organization's Ministerial Declaration 2001 includes objectives and timetables for current or possible negotiations. It covers issues related to agriculture, services, industrial tariffs, investment, trade and competition policy, and their implementation. (WTO)

Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health (November 14, 2001)

The declaration on intellectual property (TRIPS) and public health includes the recognition of various flexibilities given to governments to deal with health problems. It also states specific responsibilities for the World Trade Organization's TRIPS Council. (WTO)

Time for the West to Put Up or Shut Up (November 12, 2001)

This article argues that developed nations should end their hypocrisy with a rhetoric praising free trade while pursuing mercantilist actions. If this pattern does not change, the author encourages the developing nations to walk away. (Guardian)

WTO in Need of a Dose of Democracy (November 12, 2001)

The fourth ministerial conference of the WTO was preceded by civil society calls for reform. According to this editorial, the glossing-over of deep disagreements between WTO members over the future agenda reflects a breach of the democratic process; the voices of the majority in the WTO have been ignored in favor of developed countries. (Jakarta Post)

The WTO's Hidden Agenda (November 9, 2001)

CorpWatch reports that government officials share confidential negotiating documents and inside information with corporate leaders. Documents show how the two parties met to set the pro-business agenda for the World Trade Organization talks in Doha.

Terror War Offers Russia New Hope for WTO Membership (November 9, 2001)

Russia may enter the World Trade Organization sooner than expected. The US has become softer towards its new coalition partner in the war on terrorism and Russia does not want to be left behind by its former Soviet subordinates. (New York Times)

UK Gives £20m to Poorest Nations' WTO Negotiators (November 8, 2001)

The United Kingdom gives aid in order to increase poor countries influence at the World Trade Organization's headquarters in Geneva. Many countries cannot afford having a permanent representative, resulting in the interests of nations and populations being ignored. (Guardian)

Doha, the Economic Frontline (November 8, 2001)

Naomi Klein relates religious fanatics to US trade negotiators. She argues that growth is the only god these negotiators know. Now, the war on terrorism constitutes just another opportunity for leverage and the developing world's needs become sacrificed to this effort. (Guardian)

GATS, Trade Liberalisation and Children's Right to Health (November 5 , 2001)

This Save the Children's report suggests that liberalization of trade in health services give economic interests priority over public health. Trade liberalization can result in impoverishment of families and increase health problems among children.

FTAA (Free Trade in the Americas) Is a Threat, Warns Nobel Laureate (October 29, 2001)

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize laureate and former chief economist of the World Bank, criticizes the US economic domination in Latin America and the use of "dollarization" models. (Inter Press Service )

Why the WTO Isn't Working for the World's Poor (October, 2001)

This Oxfam report identifies eight broken promises made by the developed world. Rich countries have "failed to live up to act on their commitments", resulting in unfair trade policies, global wealth inequalities and difficulties for poverty reduction.

Why the "New Issues" Should Not Be On the Negotiating Agenda (October, 2001)

The Third World Network explains why the "new issues" such as labor conditions and environmental protection should not be brought into the World Trade Organization. The article also analyzes the new issues that in fact were introduced in the Ministerial Declaration from Doha.

The Charge of the Trade Brigade (October, 2001)

The World Trade Organization's meeting in Doha does not face the same threats as in Seattle. Protesters seem hampered and EU-US foresee their grievances. The North–South dispute remains, but weakened by the war against terrorism. (Znet)

Doha: A Shade Worse Than Seattle? (October, 2001)

The second ministerial draft for the World Trade Organization's meeting in Doha upsets diplomats from developing countries. The draft resembles the one in Seattle but with very limited options, and tilts the balance even more in favor of the few major trading nations.(South Centre)

WTO and Social Responsibilities (October 29, 2001)

The World Trade Organization, to some a global instrument for the rich and prosperous, advocates social clauses regarding child and forced labor. These clauses will undoubtedly affect export from developing countries. Can this be another form of western protectionism? (Hindu)

Doha Is Coming: Further Briefing on the GATS (October 24, 2001)

The World Trade Organization has extensive legislative and judicial powers. However, the public remains largely unaware of its nature. This article outlines the organization's fundamentals as well as its implications. (Attac )

Let's Launch a New Trade Round to Fashion a Better World (October 24, 2001)

President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel calls upon the WTO ministerial conference to promote globalization with a human face.(International Herald Tribune)

With Us or Against Us (October 23, 2001)

The World Trade Organization's trade strategy reduces the ability of poor countries to make their own decisions. They must have the right to choose their own path to development. The rules of the game must therefore be with them, not against them. (Christian Aid)

Implementation: Light at the End of the Tunnel? (October, 2001)

The World Trade Organization needs to review its implementation procedures. The author argues that in order to solve developing country problems and make them equal stakeholders, the rules of the organization have to be strengthened. (South Centre)

The Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization - An Analysis (October 16, 2001)

This paper critically analyses the proposed draft of the WTO meeting in November 2001. It discusses the drafting as well as the text and its consequences for people around the world. (Council of Canadians)

China Braces for Impact of Membership in WTO (October 19, 2001)

China is preparing for membership in the World Trade Organization, which will result in a radical transformation of the Chinese economy. The struggling farmers are regarded as among those most threatened by the necessary changes associated with the membership.(New York Times)

Facing WTO Life Sentence (October 15, 2001)

Is Russia ready for a membership in the World Trade Organization? While Russian businesses lobby for membership, the majority of Russian citizens know neither what the membership entails nor what the WTO really is. (Moscow Times)

'New Development Agenda' in Doha? (October 15, 2001)

The forthcoming World Trade Organization meeting can result in a "new development agenda" instead of a "new trade round". However, a new title is not enough, "there has to be a change in substance". (Inter Press Service)

Threat of Terrorism Leaves Trade Summit Plans in Doubt (October 15, 2001)

The World Trade Organization meeting, scheduled for November 9th to 13th, might be moved. Both Singapore and Geneva are considered as alternatives to Doha, Qatar. US trade representatives state that the meeting will take place anyway, the question remains where.(New York Times)

Japan, EU Agree to Block Farm Trade Liberalization (October 14, 2001)

Japan and the EU will continue to cooperate on farm trade, resulting in a strong opposition towards liberalizing farm trade. At the same time, both developed and developing countries around the world demand fair trade. (Japan Times)

A 'Crisis Of Legitimacy' Facing World Trade Meeting (October 12, 2001)

Several NGOs insist on a comprehensive institutional reform of the World Trade Organization. The NGOs express concern for lack of transparency, problems with consistency and neutrality, and weak representation of developing countries within the secretariat (Inter Press Service)

Clean Text for WTO Ministerial; Dirty Slap in Face of Africans (October 9, 2001)

The World Trade Organization has nearly ignored all demands by the Zanzibar declaration. The author argues that the WTO draft is a trap for developing countries to give up their primary issues for illusory short term gains.(Attac)

Defining a Development Agenda for WTO (October, 2001)

African countries give their viewpoint on defining the "development content" of the World Trade Organization's agenda. The countries demonstrate their interest in being proactive stakeholders in the multilateral trading system, instead of being forced to negotiate with rich nations on a unfair basis.(South Centre)

Leaders Gather in Paris to Plan for 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (October 9, 2001)

Business leaders from across the world want to ensure that the world business community is "assigned its proper place" at the Summit in Johannesburg. The leaders want to be recognized as part of the solution and as equal partners with governments and NGOs.(Earth Times News )

Is the WTO Serious About Reducing World Poverty? (October, 2001)

Oxfam GB outlines the issues that the World Trade Organization should tackle in order to make a difference regarding poverty reduction. The paper argues that the decisions at the Conference in Doha are imperative for the legitimacy of the WTO and its role in the fight against poverty.

In Trade, Business as Usual Won't Do (October 5, 2001)

A new trade round, like the ones envisaged by the West, would likely result in an even more unbalanced and inequitable outcome. Not only do World Trade Organization rules fail to deliver economic benefits to developing countries but tensions within and across countries are also growing.(International Herald Tribune)

WTO Chief Insists Doha Ministerial Talks Still On (September 14, 2001)

Despite the catastrophic events that have taken place in the US, World Trade Organization director-general Mike Moore remains unshaken in his determination to hold the ministerial conference as scheduled. (Agence France Presse)

EU May Hit US With $4 Billion In Penalties (August 21, 2001)

After the WTO's declaration that the US tax credit program is in violation of international law, the EU announced it would impose $4 billion in trade sanctions unless the US amend their tax program. (Washington Post)

"Promises No Longer Enough" Say Countries (August 8, 2001)

Trade ministers from the world's poorest countries are demanding that Western countries fulfill their promises and open up their markets to goods from poor countries. But even if the richer members of the WTO agree to this --and it is far from certain-- a question remains: will they get fair prices for their goods? (Gemini News Service)

Reality Check and the World Trade Regime (July 30, 2001)

The "reality check" began at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. Without having the interests of developing countries and the LDCs addressed and resolved, no new round of multilateral trade will start. (New Straits Times)

Trade Sanctions Lifted in Banana Case (July 2, 2001)

The US lifted the sanction on EU exports worth $191 million. The US imposed the sanction more than two years ago after the EU's refusal to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling against its banana import regime. (Independent)

Revolting Choice (June 13, 2001)

The French farm workers' union leader, Jose Bove takes food very seriously. After dismantling a McDonald's and being imprisoned, Bove, now an international pro-democracy movement leader, discusses his view on the WTO, TNCs, and globalization. (Guardian)

World Trade 'In Jeopardy' (June 8, 2001)

Mike Moore, director-general of the WTO, requested vital change to current multilateral trade agreements. Moore admits that free trade itself does not look after itself, which implies that neo-classical economic theory which mainstream financial organizations blindly follow is controversially unacceptable in this highly globalized economy. (BBC News)

WTO Legitimacy under a Cloud (April 13, 2001)

In his speech at a European Parliament seminar on the need for reform of the WTO, Kobsak Chutikul discusses the issue of international legitimacy for the multilateral trade regime. (Bangkok Post)

Africa Presses WTO on Drug Patents (April 5, 2001)

The African member states of the WTO are stressing the need to clarify the role of intellectual property rights protection when dealing with pandemics such as HIV/AIDS. (IPS)

Global Harming (March 14, 2001)

Rick Perlstein reviews "Views From the South" which looks at the effects of globalization and the WTO on third world countries". What does he find? Debt upon debt and hopelessness in the face of WTO programs. (Village Voice Review)

IMF, World Bank and African Economies (February 1, 2001)

Do the Three Sisters need a ‘Big Brother' called, "Paradigms for African Industrial Competitiveness?" (Nigerian Guardian)

Make-or-Break Move for Trade Pact (January 29, 2001)

After failure in Seattle, the WTO is to try again to launch a new round of trade talks, in November in Qatar. But divisions between countries remain deep, and according to Michael Moore, "Labour standards are a brick wall." Poor WTO! (Guardian)


Back to Current Articles | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1996 - 1998

General Council Adopts Decision on Implementation Issues (December 18, 2000)

In a Special Session the General Council of the WTO, has adopted a decision on implementing issues and concerns raised by developing countries. The world at large awaits the effective implementation of these decisions.(WTO News)

The Situation at the WTO a year since Seattle (December 2000)

Third World Network examines how far the WTO has addressed the grievances of developing nations one year after the talks broke up in Seattle.

The Southern Chorus at the WTO Sounds Like Seattle Again (November 30, 2000)

OXFAM Policy Director Justin Forsyth writes that "poorer countries are today more disillusioned with the WTO than ever, and the rules-based trading system is in danger of collapse." (International Herald Tribune)

WTO Falling Victim to Its Own Success (November 21, 2000)

This article explains that the WTO has become a target because it is perceived to be an extremely powerful player in the global economy. (Japan Times)

World Trade Talks Revived by Pacific Rim Conference (November 17, 2000)

Although resumption of talks has been scheduled to take place next year, the issue that broke up the meeting in Seattle (the US's imposition of labor and environmental standards on developing countries) was not addressed. (New York Times)

European Union Asks WTO to Impose Sanctions on US (November 17, 2000)

To protect the EU's rights fully in line with the procedural agreement reached with the US in September, the EU has appealed to the WTO to rule in the new tax relief legislation for US companies signed by President Clinton. (New York Times)

US Donate to the WTO Technical Assistance Fund (November 10, 2000)

Sub-Saharan African countries should now be able to conduct technical assistance courses on trade policy and also fund the development of computer-based training modules on WTO Agreements. (WTO News)

US Asks WTO to Hear Case (November 10, 2000)

The dispute over the telecommunications industry now goes to a formal settlement panel in Geneva, due to the failure of bilateral negotiations between US and Mexico, aimed at resolving differences fail. (Washington Post)

WTO Forces Developing Nations to Compete on Uneven Ground (October 23, 2000)

An analysis of the WTO in the context of globalization by by Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie. He explains that the WTO will have to change its stance to become an organization for all countries, and not cater only for the interest of the developed nations.(Globalization News)

The Struggle for a Deglobalized World (September, 2000)

Have the implications and consequences of the founding of the WTO become as evident to people as a robbery carried out in broad daylight? Corporate Watch provides an analysis of the role of the WTO five years after its inception.

TRIPS and Pharmaceuticals (August-September 2000)

The WTO's TRIPS agreement is over-protective of intellectual property, the Third World Network argues. Its stringent application creates virtual monopolies, especially in the pharmaceutical sector which produces some serious public health dilemmas.

WTO Rules French Ban on Asbestos is Legal (September 18, 2000)

Rejecting a Canadian complaint, a WTO dispute arbitration panel has ruled that a French ban on the use of asbestos does not constitute a ‘technical trade barrier', but rather an issue of public health policy. (Nando Times)

UN Human Rights Commissioner Responds to the WTO (August 29, 2000)

The WTO-UN dispute about the ‘nightmare report' enters its third round as UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson replies to the WTO's comments. This article from the Third World Network further highlights deeper rifts between the WTO and the United Nations.

Reflections on the Global Trading System (August 25, 2000)

Mike Moore, director of the WTO, muses about the failure of the Seattle talks and assesses the difficulties in getting together a new trade round. (WTO News Release)

Third World Aims a Spearhead at Rich Club (August 25, 2000)

The Group of 77 is struggling to increase its political weight in multinational organizations like the IMF or the WTO, Ewen MacAskill reports in the Guardian. Even though they represent 80% of the world's population, they often find themselves ignored by the more powerful nations, like the G8.

Labour Warns Against Over-Excitement in Trade Liberalisation (August 22, 2000)

A seminar hosted by a Nigerian trade union concluded that globalization does not uniformly benefit everyone. Its case in point was the liberalization of the textile trade in the West African country in 1997 which was advocated by the WTO. (Nigeria Guardian)

Post-Seattle, a New Blast at World Trade Organization (August 17, 2000)

Referring to the UN's ‘nightmare' report, Michael Littlejohns takes an in-depth look at the WTO and the opportunistic human rights policies of the developed countries. (Earth Times News Service)

World Trade Organization Blasted (August 11, 2000)

A UN report calls the WTO a ‘nightmare' for developing countries, and accuses it of representing ‘corporatist interests'. The report's authors suggest that the WTO be brought under the umbrella of the UN. (Reuters)

Uncertain Future for Aid to Poorest Countries (July 21, 2000)

Although the inclusion of the least developed countries (LDCs) in the multinational trade system shows good intentions, it does not sit very well with wealthier states.(Inter Press Service)

The Asbestos Conspiracy (July 15, 2000)

Canada takes France to court over the latter country's import ban on asbestos. Even though this substance has long been proven carcinogenic, the WTO considers this a simple trade dispute, not a matter of public health policy. (Le Monde Diplomatique)

Business Wants G7 Leaders to Make New Trade Round Their Top Priority (July 10, 2000)

The G7 leaders need a new infusion of enthusiasm for trade liberalization, which they could then share with the discouraged and skeptical public. (ICC)

WTO Protects the Rights of the Developing World (July 3, 2000)

Mike Moore, Director-General of the WTO explains how developing nations can protect their trading rights through the WTO dispute settlement system. Yet what he has evaded to address, is the lack of resources and manpower in these countries to make full use of the system. (Newslink Africa)

Small Countries Lack Representation (June 25, 2000)

Less developed countries at the WTO are caught in a "Catch-22". They lack the resources to keep updated on issues of international trade, and without this information they cannot enhance their trade capacity and expand their resources! (Associated Press /

As a WTO Member, Georgia Gains the Upper Hand (June 16, 2000)

While Russia is yet to become a member of the WTO, Georgia joins with 3 other former Soviet states in becoming a full WTO member. Under the WTO procedure of accession, Georgia will be able to liberate itself from economic subordination to Russia and gain greater access to the Russian market. (

Globalization and Its Impact on the Full Enjoyment of Human Rights (June 15, 2000)

This report from the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights undertakes a sweeping account of globalization, both economic and social. It has gained widespread publicity by calling the WTO a nightmare for developing countries. (UN Press Release)

Croatia Granted Admission To WTO (June 5, 2000)

After admission to NATO's Partnership for Peace program last month, Croatia manages to embrace the world further by joining the WTO in accordance with the "Baltic Formula".(Reuters)

'Rightsizing' the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO (June 2000)

Robert Naiman from the Centre for Economic and Policy Research claims that the WTO is overstepping its boundaries. In the process, it systematically dismantles labor and environmental standards which are deemed barriers to free trade.

The Bank's Short-Fused Charmer (May 27, 2000)

James Wolfensohn is arguably the most successful president of the World Bank since McNamara. He has done a great deal to reinvent the image of the Bank, yet there will be more challenges ahead.(National Journal)

WTO Negotiations: Move to Forge 'United Bloc' to Face G-7 (May 14, 2000)

Under South African initiatives, developing countries are forming a united front to counter-balance the negotiating powers of the developed world in the upcoming WTO trade talks. (The DAWN Group of Newspapers, Pakistan)

WTO 101: Myths About the World Trade Organization (Spring 2000)

A liberal critique attempts to dispel commonly held assumptions about the WTO and provide alternatives in order that the citizens of the world can have a greater voice in economic development in the future. (Dissent)

'Electrohippies' Set to Launch Massive Anti-Trade Protest (April 5, 2000)

Computer "hacktivists" are gearing up for an electronic sit-in against companies that make or sell genetically modified products. This link provides more information about how to join them. (Scripps Howard News Service)

Spring Protests in Washington, DC Another Seattle? (March 24, 2000)

Article discussing upcoming protests that will rival with Seattle in their impact on the institutions of globalization. The IMF and World Bank will face the first major demonstrations ever to take place on their home territory. (Z Magazine)

Administration Report Concludes Trade Body a Good Deal (March 2, 2000)

The US economy is profiting from the WTO's policies, a government report concludes. Critics also denounced the document for not adressing what they contend are the considerable failings of the Organization and call the report "long on spin, short on facts."(Associated Press)

WTO Seen Ill Equipped to Handle Anti-Trust Issues (March 1, 2000)

An advisory panel to the US Justice Department submitted recommendations to the Attorney General for the creation of an informal committee of anti-trust representatives from various countries to assist the WTO in this area. (Bloomberg News)

WTO Rules Against US On Tax Aid To Business (February 25, 2000)

The WTO brings an end to old system of tax exemptions for US multinational companies which was having a "negative effect on international trade to the detriment of European companies.'' (International Herald Tribune)

WTO Slams US Trade Subsidy (February 25, 2000)

US multinational corporations are no longer permitted to subsidize exports. The programme, originally established to offset tax breaks European companies get when they sell outside the EU, has been declared unfair by the WTO. (BBC News)

WTO Seattle Failure a 'Blessing in Disguise' (January 10, 2000)

Protests in Seattle highlight developing countries concerns for future negotiations with the WTO. (China Daily)

New Round of Trade Talks Inevitable, Says WTO Chief (January 10, 2000)

Renewed discussions over the direction of the WTO in India prompts a discussion over whether or not the WTO should regulate trade and social issues.(The Hindu)

Pettigrew Says WTO Should be 'Reinvented' Minister Proposes Modelling it After UN (January 1, 2000)

Canada's Trade Minister proposed among other things, that the WTO, urgently in need of reorganization, should parallel the structure of the UN.(Globe and Mail)


Social Clauses - Here to Stay (December 1999)

A comprehensive three-part paper on the controversy over linking trade with labor standards, which virtually broke down the WTO talks at Seattle. The author, GPF associate Rahul Rao, critiques the arguments of proponents and opponents of a social clause.

Call for Support for African Group Proposal on TRIPS Patenting of Life (August 1999)

A call for a number of NGO's to support the African Group Proposal concerning the WTO article on patenting various biological materials and plant varieties. Join up!

The Death of Development? (November 1999)

An article from the Bank Information Center discussing the converging policy agendas of the World Bank and the WTO, and whether or not this trend bodes well for development.

The WTO: Inside, Outside, All Around The World (January 6, 1999)

An in depth analysis of the issues raised by the WTO protestors in Seattle, as well as the shocking first hand account from Paul Hawken, a respected environmental businessman, of what actually happened. (Natural Capital Institute)

Exporting American Values Through the New World Trade Organization (December, 1999)

Noam Chomsky argues that skepticism over the global benefits of recent free trade mania are valid enough, "but they are a footnote to the real story: how U.S. corporations came to be so well-placed to take over international markets, inspiring the current celebration of "American values." (Z Magazine)

A World of Difference in Trade Views (November 28, 1999)

An in depth piece from the Los Angeles Times analyzing globalization and questions surrounding the WTO, as a conflict between individual rights and making profits.

WTO Dispute Stymies Agenda for Talks (November 24, 1999)

International Herald Tribune's article about ongoing dispute over Seattle agenda. "Lurking in the background is the explosive issue of whether fair labor standards should be incorporated into the global trading system."

The Stealth Coup (November 21, 1999)

Political historian, Kevin Phillips, discusses the lack of democratic process within the WTO and makes comparisons to historical precedents where power has shifted to economic forces. (Los Angeles Times)

Don't Muddy the Waters (November 22, 1999)

Jagdish Bhagwati's critical view on the idea of including labor issues on the WTO's agenda. "Let all nations seeking to advance progressive agendas take them to appropriate institutions: labor issues to ILO, environmental issues to UNEP, children's issues to UNICEF, and so on." (Newsweek)

Why Trade Will Win (November 15, 1999)

A New York Times's opinion forecasting China's open economy, analyzing its current status.

Ottawa Seeks Global Deal to End Cultural Trade Wars (October 20, 1999)

Canada takes initiative to forge global trade rules to protect cultural industries such as magazines, films, books and broadcasting.

WTO's Coup Against Democracy (October 10, 1999)

InterPress Service article about Public Citizen's report ''Whose Trade Organisation? Corporate Globalisation and the Erosion of Democracy''.

Ending Subsidies Could Help Environment, WTO Says (October 12, 1999)

An article from Reuters / PlanetArk about a WTO report of an accord on ending government subsidies to farming, fishing and energy industries could make a major contribution to environmental protection.

Worker, Environment Issues Called Key to New Trade Deal (October 12, 1999)

An Associated Press article about the US deputy commerce secretary, Robert Mallett's view on developing countries' position in the upcoming Seattle meeting. "Incentives to agree might include giving poorer nations a longer period of time to comply with new WTO agreements."

NGOs Mobilise Against WTO (September 20, 1999)

An article from ICTSD Bridges regarding a NGO joint statement opposing to further trade liberalisation and calling for an in-depth review of existing WTO agreements to address the impact on marginalised communities, development, environment, human rights and labor rights.

G77 Ministerial Meeting: 1st Report (September 19, 1999)

Martin Khor's critical analysis of the the G77's "3Rs: review, repair and reform" initiative.

Message of the G77 to the 3rd WTO Ministial Conference in Seattle (September 1999)

Statement from G77 conference in Marrakech, Morocco, 13 to 16 September 1999, to prepare for the forthcoming session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in February 2000

O Canada, Will Anyone Stand Up for Thee?... (August 1999)
Speaking at the Save Canada Conference, Paul Hellyer discusses economic globalization and the implications of the WTO for Canadian sovereignty.

G-15 Summit on Seattle: Mixed Signals on Content of WTO Forthcoming Negotiations (August 23, 1999)

A ICTSD Bridges article discusses the G-15 meeting in Bangalore, India and the diverse views and differing concerns expressed in anticipation of the Seattle Ministerial meeting.

Corporate Welfare: Trade and Sustainable Development (August 20, 1999)

An article inThe Progressive Response discusses how the US tax code allows domestic corporations to exempt 15% of foreign earnings, a policy likely to be found in violation of WTO rules. The issue raises question about the role of the state in determining its own policies in light of the kind of development it wants to encourage.

The Hidden Tentacles of the World's Most Secret Body (July 17, 1999)

The London Independent outlines the WTO's "attack" on the poor, health and the environment.

The Superpower Elite That Sidelines the Poorest Nations (July 17, 1999)

Article from London Independent on the marginalization of nations from the Global South within the WTO.

Business Backs Trade Role for UN (July 1, 1999)

A joint UN - International Chamber of Commerce statement calls for greater cooperation between the UN and business and says "that the WTO should not tackle social and environmental standards."

Greens Fight Zero Tariff on Forest Products (June 29, 1999)

Seattle Post-Intelligence Reporter article on environmental groups' protests against the WTO's proposal to reduce tariffs on forest products to zero, claiming that the de-regulation will destroy rainforests.

Rio Summit to Get Under Way (June 28, 1999)

USA Today/Associated Press article about plans for a Europe-Latin America free-trade zone that reflects an effort to "counterbalance the political and economic dominance of the US."

Battle Over the Leadership of the WTO (June 21, 1999)

"The current deadlock clearly shows that the so-called rule-based WTO is not rule-based at all, 'but a non-transparent and undemocratic institution with huge room for the powerful to manipulate the decision-making process.'" (InterPress Service Daily Journal)

Trade and Investment Must Serve Citizens, Not Corporations (June 10, 1999)

Council of Canadians' press release for "Confronting Globalization & Reclaiming Democracy" - a Canadian citizen's counter-report to a Canadian government report urging Canada's greater involvement in WTO talks.

Stop Dozing and Give Us a Globalization Summit (June 10, 1999)

Piece by John Sewell and Michael McDowell - of Washington's Overseas Development Council - reiterating President Jacques Chirac's call for a global summit to discuss reform of the world economic system.

The Fires Burn in Europe: Taking Stock of the WTO (June 7, 1999)

Report on a USDA-USTR World Trade Organization Listening Session in St. Paul, Minnesota which was attended by farm leaders and state legislators. Includes list of further listening sessions scheduled across the country during the summer of 1999 in preparation for the Seattle WTO Ministerial.

The Magic of "Sustainable Development" (June 7, 1999)

A report by Kenneth Haar, International Secretary of the Red Green Alliance, on the Danish debate on the proposed WTO Millenium Round.

Barshefsky Reveals US Push to Broaden WTO Services Talks (June 4, 1999)

Inside US Trade article about the US Trade Representative's proposal for the negotiating format at the upcoming WTO negotiations, quickening the pace of liberalization and allowing the inclusion of another MAI.

WTO: Is its Credibility in Peril? (June 2, 1999)

Article from The Hindu, India which addresses how the WTO's credibility is affected by controversies within the organization, trade disputes among member nations, the concerns of developing nations, and the US block of China's entry into the WTO.

Cuernavaca Consensus (May 1999)

A statement agreed to by activists and academics who are fighting the negative consequences of globalizing an industrial model of agriculture. The declaration is a list of issues that participants felt the upcoming agriculture negotiations at the WTO should address.

Indian Farmers Take the War to Europe (May 24, 1999)

Article from the Inter Press Service about Inter-Continental Caravan-99 (ICC- 99), a month-long farmers tour of the EU which will include demonstrations during the G-8 summit in Cologne and in front of the WTO headquarters in Geneva, the European Commission in Brussels and the OECD in Paris.

Watch Out for MAI Mark Two (May 1999)

Le Monde diplomatique: "Europe, the U.S. and WTO are devising agreements that will remove the final obstacles to the free play of "market forces" and require countries to submit to the unfettered expansion of the multinationals. Learning from the failure of the MAI, big business and technocrats are trying to force through a decision before the end of 1999."

Battle Royal for WTO Leader's Post (May 4, 1999)

Martin Khor writes: "Underlying the bitter fight is a strong feeling by many developing countries that the WTO's decision-making process is again being manipulated in an undemocratic way to suit the interests of major powers." Accompanying article from the Bangkok Post "Supachai Rejects Call to Quit. US Under Attack for Pushing for Pull-Out".

WTO Leadership Battle Escalates (May 2, 1999)

Members have been unable to decide between the former prime minister of New Zealand, Mike Moore, and Supachai Panitchpakdi from Thailand.

Plans for Protests Against WTO in Seattle (April 23, 1999)

Brief Wall Street Journal report on protests planned for WTO meetings in Seattle in November 1999.

A Sign-On Statement Opposing New Trade Negotiations (April 23, 1999)

Link to the Third World Network and a post by international civil society against a comprehensive round of trade liberalisation.

Why Are We Being Force-Fed? (April 13, 1999)

Article from London newspaper, the Guardian, about the ramifications of the U.S.'s victory in the "banana war".

U.S. Signals It Will Not Seek Rewrite of WTO Rules for Environment (March 26, 1999)

Report from Inside US Trade on March 15-16 high-level symposium on trade and environment.

Global Action Needed to Fight Corruption (February 26, 1999)

Abid Aslam reports on Washington's ''anti-corruption week.'' Discussion included agreement to work to ''conclude an Agreement on Transparency in Government Procurement at the WTO."

Joint Civil Society Statement on the WTO High-Level Symposia (March 12, 1999)

Submitted to the WTO for consideration during the WTO High-Level Symposia on Trade and Environment (March 15 -16, 1999) and Trade and Development (March 17- 18, 1999).

Report on EC-NGO Consultation in Brussels

MS-Danish Association for International Co-operation's brief notes on meeting held on January 27th 1999. Provides information on the WTO and the environment and investment.

Global Action Needed to Fight Corruption (February 26, 1999)

Abid Aslam reports on Washington's ''anti-corruption week.'' Discussion included agreement to work to ''conclude an Agreement on Transparency in Government Procurement at the WTO."

WTO Chief to be Chosen in March (February 24, 1999)

Decision on new chief of WTO continues to be delayed by lack of concensus.

Globalization and Democracy (January 25, 1999)

A take on democracy and the WTO from the Journal of Commerce

1996 - 1998

In Focus: WTO and Developing Countries (November 1998)

A "Foreign Policy: In Focus" feature. A joint project of the Interhemispheric Resource Center and the Institute for Policy Studies.

The Geneva Business Dialogue (October 1998)

The International Chamber of Commerce and the WTO in partnership to deregulate the global economy.

WTO Debate Underlies Gap Between Rich and Poor

The differing perspectives of developing and developed countries regarding trade liberalization are highlighted at the May 18-20 1998 ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization.

Agenda Item 2: Global Market Access (July 6, 1998)

Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Indonesia on developments since the Uruguay Round, implications, opportunities and challenges, in particular for the developing countries.

"Globalism With a Human Face" (May 29, 1998)

Op-Ed from the Washington Post on reactions to President Clinton's speech before the World Trade Organization and his call to open WTO doors to public.

Statement by H.E. Mr. Nelson Mandela to the WTO (May 22, 1998)

A statement by President Mandela to the WTO in South Africa.

The Passion for Free Markets: Exporting American Values Through the New World Trade Organization (May, 1997)

The WTO and the UN are tools for US foreign policy and the export of American values. The organizations allow the US to interfere in the internal affairs of others and can also be seen as "new and potentially powerful weapons against the threat of democracy." (Znet)

Goods for Some Are Bad for Others (January 1997)

Article from British newspaper the Guardian which critically evaluates the WTO summit meeting in Singapore.

The WTO and the Battle Over Labor Standards (January 13, 1997)

While erasing older systems of regulation at the national level, the WTO has become an arena for new kinds of global regulation. Global labor standards have become a heated subject of dispute, between Northern advocates (who charge "exploitation") and Southern opponents (who charge "protection"). Martin Khor of Third World Network reports on the WTO Ministerial Conference in December 1996. An article on the same theme by David Moberg provides another angle on the story.

"A Treaty for Corporate Rights and Privileges" (January 13, 1997)

Statement by the International Forum on Globalization criticizing the emerging agreement on global investment rules under the WTO.

The WTO and Investment Rules: Concerns in Africa ( December 1996)

Article from Africa Recovery expressing concern of Africans over propose new liberalization of investment rules for Africa.

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