Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Geneva report slams WTO power politics

Geneva report slams WTO power politics

by Jane Kelsey

A new report Power Politics in the WTO by Aileen Kwa, the Geneva-based analyst for the Thailand-based group Focus on the Global South, was launched in Sydney during the lead-up to the ‘informal’ meeting of WTO ministers on Thursday and Friday.

The report slams the non-transparent and non-accountable system of decision-making by the WTO as a major contributor to its current crisis of legitimacy.

"After Seattle, there were expectations that reform of the decision-making process would be at the top of the WTO agenda," the group's Executive Director Walden Bello writes in the report's preface. "Instead," he says, "the organization lurched into its fourth ministerial conference with its decision-making structure unchanged. Doha has now become a byword for the perversion of democracy and the thwarting of the will of the majority via intimidation, threat and bribery on the part of the strong."

The 59-page report contains extensive interviews with negotiators and government ministers from Third World countries, who expose the bullying and manipulation that pervades the private halls of the WTO and the hypocrisy of claims that it operates by ‘consensus’. Invitation-only mini-ministerials such as the one in Sydney are a prime example of this strategy.

This offensive by the major powers and the WTO secretariat comes as many poorer countries are working collectively resist new rules that the Ugandan Ambassador says "we don’t need and can’t afford." Calling the resulting negotiations the ‘Doha Development Round’ adds insult to injury.

The antics of former director general Mike Moore come in for especially dishonourable mention. Far from being neutral, it reports that Moore "played a role in threatening 'stubborn' delegates in Doha. In one such instance, Moore asked the official if he wanted to be consulted or terminated."

"This report provides further powerful evidence that the WTO is an illegitimate body where the voices of powerful countries and companies hold sway," says Leigh Cookson, Director of the Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa (ARENA) and member of GATT Watchdog.

"It’s time that New Zealanders became aware that the WTO is rotten to its core and the New Zealand government is complicit in this process. The current negotiations, and any new agreements that it secures, are tainted by the same smell.”

NB: The entire report can be downloaded from http://www.focusweb.org

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Dealing Crackdown, Addiction Support: Government Action On Synthetics

The NZ Drug Foundation has welcomed the Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths. The response strikes a balance between giving law enforcement the tools they need to target criminal networks and changing drug law to make it easier for people to access help when they need it. More>>


Strategy Committee Unanimous: Wellington To Forge Ahead With Convention Centre

The three-storey Cable Street building, with around 18,000-square metres of floor space, will comfortably be able to host 1500 people for conventions. It includes a 1651sq m exhibition area that will attract international exhibitions too big for nearby Te Papa and provide an always-changing visitor attraction. More>>


Surveying The Surveillance: First IGIS Review Of Warrants Under New Act

The report sets out the Inspector-General’s interpretation of the new warrant provisions under the ISA and her expectations of the GCSB and NZSIS when they prepare warrant applications. More>>

SSC: 2018 Public Service Workforce Data Published

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has published the 2018 Our People, Public Service Workforce Data , which shows the Public Service is making significant progress in important areas. More>>


Sinking Cap: Auctions, Permanent Forests, Added To ETS

The move to auctions, signalled in an August consultation paper, will help put a cap on the number of emission units available over time. Annual announcements, looking forward five years, will help provide certainty for scheme participants, she said. More>>


Joint Select Committee Report: Achieving Smokefree 2025

In a historic first for select committees, the Māori Affairs Committee and the Health Committee presented their joint report on achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal to the House on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. More>>

"Shared Interests And Democratic Values": Peters To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. for talks with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and other senior members of the US Administration. More>>




InfoPages News Channels