WTO promotes plunder of global South, silences peoples’ justified opposition

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IBON International Statement on the upcoming WTO MC11, recent ban on CSOs
6 December 2017

The Argentine government under Pres. Mauricio Macri recently revoked the accreditation of more than 60 organisations set to attend the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) in mid-December. Since then, the WTO has not committed to any measure that reverses this repressive action by this year’s hosting government.

IBON International, a Southern-based organisation, decries this tacit complicity between the neoliberal Argentine government and the WTO. The WTO is now doubly guilty for its shameful neoliberal offensive on both peoples’ economic and political rights.

The MC11 restricts what limited space peoples have to raise their voices against corporate plunder of the global South. This plunder came in the guise of “open markets” that the WTO vigorously promoted – which only meant an open season for transnational corporations (TNCs). Worse, MC11 could even deprive small-scale fisherfolk in developing countries of what are now small-to-absent subsidies for their development. The basics of the “e-commerce” agenda to be peddled in MC11 allow only gains for tech TNCs that would extend their grip further into the smallest of businesses.

The collusion of the Argentine government and WTO not only stifles peoples, but also raises the voice of big business even louder. The Argentine government has reportedly provided the business lobby group International Chamber of Commerce an official forum. The aim of the forum is to push the “formalisation of the private sector’s role within the WTO”.[1]

All these could be added to the list of the WTO’s attacks, which features undemocratic decision-making, the amassing of profits for TNCs through the support of their elite-led industrialised states. IBON International stresses that the WTO has not only killed farmers through its agriculture “agreement”, it has also killed workers, especially women, through the “race to the bottom” its rules facilitated. Indigenous peoples and their lands have been plundered, culture and practices destroyed, through mining and extractive TNCs promoted through investment liberalisation.

With the increasing stakes even for small-scale fisherfolk, peoples will have to show stronger resistance. IBON International stands with advocates and peoples from both the global North and South in resisting the WTO. We enjoin civil society organisations and movements to protect peoples’ rights in trade and development by ending the main problem: the WTO as a supreme neoliberal institution itself.

Join the December 10 Global Day of Action against the WTO, spearheaded by the global civil society campaign network, People Over Profit.

We are not for sale! Resist Neoliberal Trade! Junk WTO!

For inquiries contact: international@iboninternational.org