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WTO’s 20 years of servitude to TNCs and Monopoly Capitalism: Page 2 of 3

Posted on 17 December 2015
the two decades of WTO's existence is its bias against poor countries. High levels of subsidies and protection provided to agriculture in the developed world continually distort the markets that encourage over-­‐ production, which in turn increase supplies on world markets and depress world prices. Low-­‐priced agricultural  surpluses make it harder for local farmers in developing countries to compete in their home markets, as well as in international markets. This consequently pushes them into bankruptcy while TNC’s foothold in  the  domestic markets of poor  countries  progressively  expands.
 
Such bias is also evident in WTO’s imposition of standards and regulations relating to sanitary and phytosanitary measures as well as technical requirements for food safety and quality. Such regulations enforce infrastructure cost on customs and shipment processing which in turn create new markets for multinational corporations and consequently lead to the further privatisation of ports, customs operations, and shipment processing. This is also true in the Global Value Chain being promoted by WTO, which placed small-­‐scale farmers at the losing end of the chain through onerous contract farming among other schemes that foster mono-­‐cropping, dependence on toxic inputs, unfair labor practices, landgrabbing, and further distortion of the domestic market.
 
The 20 years of WTO existence has made it very clear that it serves the interests of transnational corporations and monopoly capitalism. The Trade-­‐Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement also known as TRIPS was, and still is, the first global treaty to establish common norms of private property rights over seeds. It paved the way for repressive domestic seed laws while promoting GMOs and privatization of seeds. It has made land as the most commodified agricultural resource to facilitate specialised, vertically integrated production of export commodities. It has obliged governments to remove barriers to foreign investment in agriculture. WTO has likewise removed most of the import and tariff protections, opening flood gates to cheap agriculture produce imports that eventually diminished diversity of food products.
 
There is no doubt that WTO is rotten to the core. As early as 2011, Olivier de Schutter, the former Special Rapporteur on the right to food has set out a number of requirements aimed at ensuring the compatibility of the WTO framework with the pursuit of food security and the realization of the human right to adequate food. The recommendations were aimed to promote food reserves and public stockholding programmes to ensure that developing States are allowed to insulate domestic markets from the volatility of prices on international markets. Such proposals however have ended up in the dust bin. The WTO is expected to do the same thing in the “peace clause” in its Bali Package where the final text have severely limited the grain subsidies of developing countries while at the same time requiring them to incur infrastructure cost as new markets for TNCs and developed countries.
 
From the onset, farmers, indigenous peoples, rural women and other social movements of small-­‐scale food producers knew that WTO will never accommodate the notion of policy reforms according to the principles and promotion of fair trade. Twenty years of
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