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No To WTO Plans March Nov 9

NO TO WTO COALITION - CHRISTCHURCH

Anti-WTO Coalition Marks Qatar Meeting with "Tour of Capitalist Greed" in Mike Moore's Hometown - November 9th

The Christchurch No To WTO Coalition, which includes GATT Watchdog, ARENA, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, the Anarchist Round Table, Socialist Workers Organization, the Young Greens and Staunch will hold a march and "Tour of Capitalist Greed" in WTO Director-General Mike Moore's hometown from 12 noon - 2pm on Friday November 9th.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) holds its 4th Ministerial meeting from 9-13 November, in Doha, Qatar. Free trade and unrestricted foreign investment are destroying people's lives and the environment. The Christchurch action is one of many being held throughout the world on Friday in opposition to the WTO. Other anti-WTO protests will be held in Auckland and Wellington.

The 142-member WTO oversees 28 agreements which set the rules of global trade. The transnational corporations which dominate the local and global economy enjoy enormous influence in shaping these rules to advance their goals - more profits, not peoples' wellbeing.

The action against the WTO starts with a rally in City Mall at the corner of Cashel and High Streets at 12pm. The Christchurch premises of four representative transnational corporations will be the focus of a Tour of Capitalist Greed to highlight both the takeover of New Zealand by transnationals and their power and influence in the WTO. The march will stop outside the Nike Shop in City Mall (Between Colombo St and Oxford Terrace); Telecom (Hereford St); Starbucks (Cathedral Square) before returning to the starting point outside the Westpac Trust head office.

Along with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund the WTO works to set a single economic policy for the whole world. One which advances the needs of transnational capital - more profits, never mind the human and environmental costs.

This means more freedom to exploit for global big business, widening inequalities between and within countries, more privatization of public assets, utilities and services, and more unemployment and low-paid, low quality, insecure jobs.

WTO commitments help to lock in the crippling economic reforms which many countries have undergone as a condition of receiving IMF/World Bank loans, and which we have experienced here through Rogernomics. Barriers to "free" trade are dismantled and economies restructured to suit the whims of big business. Domestic environmental and social regulations, like export bans on rare native timbers, public health laws or food standards, if deemed by the WTO to be a barrier to free trade, must be scrapped or that country risk sanctions or other punitive trade measures.

While they wage war against Afghanistan, George Bush, Helen Clark and other world leaders are brandishing free trade and investment as a weapon against terrorism. They cynically see the September 11 attacks as a way to try to revive a free market ideology that has been badly discredited and challenged around the world. We say no to the WTO! Oppose corporate globalisation!

For further comment contact Aziz Choudry or Leigh Cookson (GATT Watchdog): Ph (03) 3484763 or 3662803: Email: notoapec@clear.net.nz

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