For the past several weeks, President Donald Trump’s trade negotiators have been meeting with their Chinese counterparts to develop a “draft framework” on trade liberalization between the U.S. and China. Even though no long-term framework was concluded, Trump has for the time being withdrawn the immediate threat of tariffs, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, and both sides will continue talks over the summer.
In the early 1990s, transnational corporations (TNCs) in the agriculture, services, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing sectors each got agreements as part of the WTO to lock in rights for those companies to participate in markets under favorable conditions, while limiting the ability of governments to regulate and shape their economies. The topics corresponded to the corporate agenda at the time.
During this very month last year, aluminum smelters across the United States were closing, one after another. It was as if they produced something useless, not a commodity crucial to everything from beverage cans to fighter jets.
Last week, 453 civil society groups including trade unions, farmers, environmentalists, public interest groups and development advocates from over 150 countries wrote an urgent letter to members of the WTO to “express extreme alarm about the current situation of the negotiations in the WTO.” This is the largest number of endorsers on a letter about the WTO in the last decade and is a signal of the dire situation. Coordinated by the global Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network, the letter is available in English, Spanish and French.
Corporate trade deals like the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been used to undermine or eliminate U.S. consumer and environmental rules for years, and last week it took a swipe at both. A WTO trade tribunal ruled against the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna labels.
The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) legislation introduced on July 23 by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Hoeven (R-ND) repeals an overwhelmingly popular food label, surrenders to over exaggerated threats by our trading partners and creates more international trade problems than it solves.
In 1992, Ross Perot won almost 20% of the entire presidential vote on the single issue of stopping so-called “free trade.” Today, several presidential candidates are gaining huge traction with similar opposition to NAFTA, CAFTA, and the upcoming Southern Hemisphere Asian Free Trade Agreement (SHAFTA, now called the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP).
Remember the “Doha Round” of the WTO? Yeah, I wish I didn’t either.
Farmers, development activists and food security advocates alike are united in the need for resilient agro-ecological local food systems to achieve the Right to Food.
When global justice groups wanted to halt expansion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1999, they organized massive demonstrations in Seattle, where the official ministerial conference was being held.
This month marks the 15th anniversary of the “Battle in Seattle,” the historic protest against the World Trade Organization in 1999. The author, a labor and community organizer for 31 years, was at the time director of Seattle Union Now, a joint project of the King County Labor Council and the National AFL-CIO.