Two Revelations Reveal the Fatal Flaws in WTO Style Globalization

News & Politics

Two developments this week provided further illustrationthat the current NAFTA-WTO model of trade and globalization is fundamentallyflawed.

Exhibit A: One of the most contentious issues surroundingthe congressional debate on the massive stimulus bill designed to jump startthe sinking U.S. economy was… a provision on “Buy America� rules for iron andsteel in public works projects?! Opponents of the measure – which include someof the nation’s leading offshorers of, such as GE and Caterpillar – decried the plan to invest our tax dollarsin the U.S.economy as a declaration of war against “free trade,� and claimed that themeasure was WTO-illegal. (As it turns out, on theWTO-legal business, the corporates are lying, as weshow here in a detailed memo.)

Exhibit B: The Bushadministration, in its final week in office, imposed tariffs of up to 300percent on French Roquefort cheese, and extended punitive tariffs on truffles,Irish oatmeal, Italian sparkling water and foie gras. The reason? In the 1990s,the Europe Union (EU) had banned the use of artificial hormones for raisingbeef in response to health concerns. The Clintonadministration, at the urging of giant agribusiness companies, challenged thismeasure at the WTO because it not only banned the chemicals’ use by Europeanfarmers, but banned imports of artificial-hormone-raised beef. A WTO tribunal orderedthe EU to allow in the U.S.beef, and when EU officials, under threat of a massive consumer revolt,refused, the WTO authorized the impose retaliatory sanctions. (Canada also sought and receivedsimilar authorization.)

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