10 September 2003
CTU At WTO Talks In Mexico
CTU economist, Peter Conway, says the WTO talks in Mexico must recognise the concerns unions around the world have about the impact of WTO trade agreements on wealth distribution and employment.
He is at the talks in Cancun and has been attending meetings of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) which represents 125 million union members in 145 countries.
“The international union movement is pressing for recognition of Interrnational Labour Organisation Conventions on child labour, forced labour, discrimination, the right to belong to a union and to bargain collectively,” says Peter Conway.
“The ICFTU also wants greater transparency in WTO processes, the exclusion of public services from the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the removal of export subsidies on agricultural products.”
“The unions also oppose any launching of new negotiations on investment, competition, trade facilitation and transparency in government procurement.”
Peter Conway says he’s pleased that the Minister of Trade Negotiations, Jim Sutton, took the time to meet with the President of the ICFTU, Guy Ryder, to discuss union concerns and in particular a proposal for a review of the impact of trade liberalisation on textile and garment employment.
The talks start tomorrow.
“On the eve of the talks it is clear that unions, the non government organisations and developing countries, share serious concerns about the impact of the WTO trade agreements on wealth distribution and employment.
“If the WTO does not respond to these concerns, the legitimacy of these trade negotiations will continue to be challenged.”
“The developing countries are calling for a fairer share of trade and trading rules that are not weighted in favour of the world’s most powerful economies while working people around the world are opposed to a trade system that works against sustainable development.”