The language contained in agreements being negotiated by the EU through the WTO with their southern counterparts often deliberately diguises real political goals, obscuring the negative economic implications for those countries of the neoliberal agenda.
The international free trade and investment policies and the related WTO agreements played a major role in undermining so many developing countries' economies. The proponents of tese policies, including the EU, are now urging the govenrments of the world to end their resistance to such policies within the WTO.
Walden Bello shares some reflections on the meaning of Seattle for change in knowledge systems, discusses how despite the deep crisis of neoliberalism, finance capital has managed to retain tremendous power, and appeals for a new comprehensive vision of the desirable society.
An exciting development in recent years is the number of new South-South inter-governmental alliances that are emerging to defend their interests and challenge the bias of the current global trade and investment regime.
Since the current financial crisis started, none of the governments, experts or media who have called for new regulations for the financial industry have taken into account rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which actually impose extreme financial service deregulation on many WTO member countries.
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.
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.
Alternatives to neo-liberal globalisation are needed that not only change people-to-people and South-South relations and situations, but also South-North relations and inter-actions to the benefit of all of humanity and our common planetary home.