Contents with tag: trade agreements
Civil society organizations raised the issues of transparency of the RCEP negotiations and the trade deal's potential effects to various social sectors last May 10 in Manila.
Agriculture has always been on top of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agenda from the very start. Since it was created two decades ago to replace the GATT, WTO’s trade liberalization policies immediately found its way to open up agricultural trade markets in the Global South. Being the primary economic sector of the developing world, efforts to cut down tariffs on agricultural goods while allowing rich countries to dump heavily subsidized products devastated local economies and pushed the people – peasants, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous people, rural women and youth, to deeper poverty.
On the opening day of the 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Nairobi, global activists welcomed trade ministers from over 100 countries with a protest. Some 200 activists from 12 countries joined grassroots organizations in Nairobi, Kenya to protest 20 years of the WTO’s broken development promises. Simultaneous actions were held in the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan and other countries spearheaded by the Asian Peasant Coalition and the International League of Peoples Struggles.
20 years of WTO have been 20 years of opening up the world to transnational corporate plunder and the languishing of billions of people in poverty, landlessness, unemployment, precariousness, and environmental catastrophes. The 10th WTO Ministerial in Nairobi is set to perpetuate the same neoliberal free trade agenda, and more! Corporations and governments are pushing for new rules to strengthen corporate control and reverse the hard-won rights fought for by people through their collective action.
A few days ago, the United States, Japan and 10 other countries from the Pacific region arrived at a final agreement to approve what has been cited as the largest regional trade accord in history, The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The trade deal focuses on lowering trade barriers to goods and services, tightens intellectual property (IP) laws and establishes an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was signed on 4 February 2016. This initiated an ongoing ratification process with the agreement set to go into effect when the collective gross domestic product (GDP) of countries that ratified equals at least 85% of the total GDP of all 12 countries party to the signing: Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, United States, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada and Japan.
Two decades since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO), over 60 agreements and numerous ministerial trade negotiations have led to empty promises that continue to fail developing countries and their people. Throughout its existence, the WTO’s mandate to set rules for an international trading order has resulted in unfettered liberalization causing far-reaching and disastrous impacts in the economy, agriculture sector and food systems of people in the developing world.
New free trade deals across regions such as the Transpacific Partnership Agreement, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and Trade-in-Services-Agreement, among many others are being negotiated that will have far-reaching implications for peoples in both the global North and South and for the future of the world economy. But these deals will neither benefit the democratic majority nor rescue the world economy in crisis.