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Arena Booklet Exposes Reality Of WTO

New Arena Publication Exposes What's Really Going On At The WTO

"For 8 years, New Zealanders have been served up the same old propaganda: that New Zealand's economy, and therefore our livelihoods and our lives, depend on free trade agreements at the WTO.

"We at ARENA decided it's time to spell out what the WTO is really about, what's going on in the current 'Doha Round' and what role our government is playing in a very dirty and controversial process," said Leigh Cookson, Director of the Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa (ARENA).

Tonight, (Thursday 5.30 - 7.30pm) at Turnbull House in Wellington, ARENA launched a 78-page booklet Free Trade At Any Price. The Doha Round of Negotiations, edited by Dr Jane Kelsey with contributions from other researchers, economists and activists. The launch is being hosted by NZUSA.

The report is based on daily monitoring of developments at and around the WTO, drawing on highly informed international networks. It exposes the 'Doha Development Round' as a sham, in which the New Zealand government is deeply complicit. It also offers examples of successful resistance.

"The hype is already building in the lead-up to the next WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico in September", said Ms Cookson.

"The government trades on the fact that most people don't know enough about the WTO to challenge what its spin-doctors are saying. So we've provided a lay person's guide to the WTO process, the main issues and its destructive effects."

"There are some pretty shocking stories about the way poorer countries have been bullied and shafted through successive rounds of trade negotiations, and find themselves shackled by agreements that are devastating their countries economies and their people's lives.

"This is not a matter of being anti-trade, but of challenging the free trade model that the WTO stands for", Ms Cookson stressed.

"This booklet is both informative and deliberately provocative.

"It aims to go beyond an exposé to provoke a sense of outrage and arm New Zealanders in every walk of life with enough knowledge to challenge what the government is doing and to demand a debate and the right to have a genuine say about what is done in our names".

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