Ten years on from Seattle, TNI and other activists from Enlazando Alternativas have mobilised in Geneva together with the global network Our World is Not For Sale (OWINFS) to expose the role of the WTO and the "free trade" agreements in causing economic and climate crisis.
The WTO's crisis of legitimacy is evident in that despite deepening food, financial, economic and climate crises—to which the WTO has contributed significantly—its deregulation and liberalisation agenda remains much the same as in 2001.
For the past four years, proponents for WTO expansion have not called another Doha Round negotiating ministerial – despite a WTO requirement that ministerial conferences be held biannually. Why? Because they are afraid of another failure like the Seattle and Cancun Ministerials.
The financial crisis should be recognized as a very clear example of how the free trade and free market theory has failed, why the WTO should turn around away from this neo-liberal model and allow for all services and trade to be at the service of people and the planet, not of corporate profits.
The WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (the "GATS") has very much underpinned expansion without regulation and supervision, so the financial corporations had the guarantee that their expansion would be underpinned. But financial services are not the same as other services – they need special supervisory structures.
In the Hearing at the European Parliament, an overview of the main human rights violations of European transnational corporations in Latin America and the Caribbean will be presented as well as the role of European policies and institutions in the creation of a legal-judicial framework that allows transnational corporations to act with impunity.
The EU is currently negotiating trade agreements with countries from several regions. The effects of the agreements are severe and imply a deterioration of rights and possibility for governing in the poor countries, and also
imply a deterioration of the possibilities to protect nature and
resources. Activists from different countries with which the EU tries to sign (free)trade agreements will tell us about their campaigns.
The major causes of the economic and social crises are now being even more blatantly promoted by the EU - both within the multilateral WTO negotiations and bilateral and bi-regional FTA/EPA negotiations - as the fundamental solutions.
Obama has not just backpedaled from his campaign commitments to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He has ended up expanding the accord which will remove even more checks and balances on the exchange of capital, services, and goods.
In the context of the upcoming Doha Round of WTO Negotiations in Geneva (28 November-2 December 2009) and the ongoing Economic Partnership Agreements negotiations, this debate will present different views on what policy measures are needed in response to the global economic crisis in order to address the developmental needs of the people of the ACP countries.