Newsflash:
Elizabeth Warren Trans Pacific Partnership Anti-poverty groups condemn WTO pact as big business boost
Sunday, 08 December 2013 15:55

Anti-poverty groups condemn WTO pact as big business boost

Written by  Phillip Inman | The Guardian
A street market in the old quarters of Delhi. India sought safeguards, at the WTO, from US agricultural surpluses. A street market in the old quarters of Delhi. India sought safeguards, at the WTO, from US agricultural surpluses. Ahmad Masood/Reuters

Developing countries including India win concessions but critics say World Trade Organisation is no forum for helping the poor. The first global trade deal since the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) nearly two decades ago was condemned by anti-poverty groups on Friday as a boost for big business at the expense of developing nations.

After 12 years of talks, an agreement drafted by WTO director general Roberto Azevedo was due to be signed by ministers from the body's 159 member countries on Friday night after last-minute concessions to India over food security.

An agreement with India, which has sought protection for its poorest farmers from US firms dumping surplus agricultural produce, was crucial to a comprehensive deal being struck at the meeting.

Barring any last-minute veto, the deal will be passed and aims to reduce red tape at customs, give improved terms of trade to the poorest countries, and offer developing countries leeway to bypass the normal rules on farm subsidies to feed the poor.

It would also revive confidence in the WTO's ability to negotiate global trade deals following a string of bilateral talks between the major trading blocs that have left the body at risk of collapse.

"We are very close," WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said at the meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. "As things stand now, the prospects are promising."

Tense negotiations in recent weeks ahead of the meeting followed 20 years of bitter disputes as developing countries have attempted to protect their fledgling agricultural and industrial sectors while allowing them access to markets in the rich west. The Doha round of talks, which began 12 years ago with high hopes of a deal, was considered to be dead as late as Thursday night by many delegates.

India, whose government faces the risk of losing elections next year, has said its tough stance drew support from developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America, though the meeting's host, Indonesia, pressed for it to soften its position.

"We are trying to get justice for the poor people," Indian trade minister Anand Sharma said as he entered the final day of the meeting.

India will implement a welfare programme next year to provide cheap food to 800 million people that was likely to contravene WTO rules curbing farm subsidies to 10% of production.

The programme, which relies on large-scale stockpiling and the offer to pay farmers a minimum price, is a central plank of the government's bid to win a third term.

Supporters of the WTO deal argue it will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the world economy. A report by the Peterson Institute in Washington argued it would add $960bn (£587bn) through extra trade and employment.

But the World Development Movement (WDM) warned it was "an agreement for transnational corporations not the world's poor".

Nick Dearden, director of the WDM, said: "On the positive side, developing countries have forced concessions on to the pro-corporate agenda of the US and EU. However, those concessions are only the minimum necessary to get through what remains a deal for corporations, not for the world's poor.

"Here in Bali, social movements, trade unions and campaign groups have supported the efforts of developing countries to get a deal which moves the agenda away from a pro-corporate charter and towards something that asserts the rights and needs of the majority of the world's population," he said.

"The aggressive stance of the US and EU means that we have moved only a little, and shows again that the WTO can never be a forum for creating a just and equal global economic system."

Dearden said a succession of planned bilateral deals on a range of goods and services threatened the WTO and represented "the biggest shift of power from people to corporations that we have seen in 10 years" and must be "halted in their tracks." The EU has recently begun talks with the Obama administration on a wide-ranging trade deal outside the confines of the WTO.

Critics of the deal also argue that the tortuous construction of clauses in the text make some parts of the agreement meaningless.

"The food security fix is something out of 1984, George Orwell would be proud," said Simon Evenett, professor of international trade at the Swiss University of St Gallen.

"The food security text is so contradictory that there must be an informal understanding among the big players as to what it really means."

Azevedo, a former Brazilian trade negotiator, told delegates at the start of the last day of talks that there was more work to be done, but sounded upbeat on prospects for success.

Rockwell said: "He told members they were now very close to something that has eluded us for many years and that the decisions over the next few hours would have great significance beyond this day."

Link to original article from The Guardian

Read 4796 times

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Warren Campaign

  • Will new senators push Democrats to the left?
    Will new senators push Democrats to the left?

    When Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren and the rest of the 2013 class of liberal senators start work this month, they'll have to do more than figure out the byzantine ways of getting things done in Washington.

    They'll also have to decide how seriously to engage a progressive movement that sees their assent a historic opportunity to shift the Democratic Party to the left.

    Written on Saturday, 05 January 2013 19:11 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren Wins Senate Banking Committee Seat: Sources
    Elizabeth Warren Wins Senate Banking Committee Seat: Sources

    WASHINGTON -- Nearly two years after Wall Street waged a successful campaign to keep consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren from running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the incoming senator will be tapped to serve on the Banking Committee, according to four sources familiar with the situation. 

    Written on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 19:22 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren Redefines "Balanced Approach"
    Elizabeth Warren Redefines "Balanced Approach"

    Politico recently declared, "The Senate is about to become a liberal lion’s den." 

    In 2012, groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, MoveOn.org, CREDO Action, and Democracy for America worked hard to build progressive power in Congress. This week's iconic photo of Senators-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) walking together down the corridors of power is symbolic of the rising progressive tide. 

    Written on Sunday, 18 November 2012 14:20 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren Wins the "Which Side Are You On?" Debate
    Elizabeth Warren Wins the "Which Side Are You On?" Debate

    An overbearing and at times ridiculously aggressive Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown came across as a desperate man Thursday night, as he attempted to gain the upper hand in the first debateof this year's most closely-watched U.S. Senate race and, by extension, in a reelection contest that seems to be slipping away from him.

    Written on Sunday, 23 September 2012 16:27 Read more...
  • Mayor Menino to endorse Elizabeth Warren in Senate race at Roslindale Square rally on Friday
    Mayor Menino to endorse Elizabeth Warren in Senate race at Roslindale Square rally on Friday

    Mayor Thomas M. Menino is expected to endorse Democrat Elizabeth Warren on Friday in her bid to unseat Republican US Senator Scott Brown, according to two people with knowledge of the plan.

    Written on Thursday, 20 September 2012 19:47 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren's DNC Speech: "Corporations Are Not People"
    Elizabeth Warren's DNC Speech: "Corporations Are Not People"

    Bill Clinton may have stolen the show at the DNC last night with his 45-minute, half-ad-libbed barn-burner of a speech, but there were a few other noteworthy speakers as well. After dragging for an hour or two, the night's program picked up when Massachusetts Senate candidate, CFPB creator, and economic realtalker extraordinaire Elizabeth Warren took the stage.

    Written on Thursday, 06 September 2012 18:54 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren: Yes She Can?
    Elizabeth Warren: Yes She Can?

    It was a grim, sleety day in Chicopee, a gritty postindustrial town in western Massachusetts, where paint flakes off worn-out bridges and boarded-up factories. At a community relations luncheon, kind security guards were opening back doors and holding out umbrellas for the few willing to brave the freezing slush.

    Written on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 04:54 Read more...
  • Jonathan Klate: A candidate's connection
    Jonathan Klate: A candidate's connection

    Retired Amherst gentleman John Kick is not known as a political activist. In the Springfield union hall where he ventured last October to hear Democratic senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren, he might have seemed a world-weary citizen with vague curiosity about the professor turned politician.

    But John's sorrowful demeanor and disconsolate eyes betrayed a woefully wounded heart. His son, Gabe, took his own life just a month earlier, at the age of 28. John keeps moving, somehow, in the dreadful private agony understood only by parents who persist in such an aftermath.

    Written on Monday, 26 March 2012 17:09 Read more...
  • The Ascendance of Elizabeth Warren
    The Ascendance of Elizabeth Warren

    If you’re reading this, you probably already know how you feel about Elizabeth Warren. Warren is currently running for Senate in Massachusetts, in the hopes of knocking out Republican incumbent Scott Brown. Very few first-time candidates are so well-known, or so passionately beloved.

    Written on Monday, 26 March 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • NOW PAC Endorses Elizabeth Warren
    NOW PAC Endorses Elizabeth Warren

    NOW/PAC is thrilled to announce its endorsement of Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren for the U. S. Senate from the state of Massachusetts. Warren is the most prominent of the three Democrats vying to run against incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R) in the general election. Recent polls show Warren neck and neck with Brown.

    Written on Monday, 05 March 2012 19:48 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren Says Washington Must Act Now To Help Stem The Tide Of Foreclosure
    Elizabeth Warren Says Washington Must Act Now To Help Stem The Tide Of Foreclosure

    Backs MA Congressmen, Attorney General Coakley Calling on Federal Housing Finance Agency to Take Action To Prevent Unnecessary Foreclosures

    BOSTON – It is past time for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to step up and help prevent unnecessary foreclosures in Massachusetts, said Consumer Advocate Elizabeth Warren, reinforcing calls from members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and Attorney General Martha Coakley.

    Written on Wednesday, 22 February 2012 07:54 Read more...
  • U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern this week endorsed Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren for the United States Senate.

    U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern this week endorsed Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren for the United States Senate.

    Written on Friday, 27 January 2012 20:35 Read more...
  • The Woman Who Knew Too Much
    The Woman Who Knew Too Much

    Millions of Americans hoped President Obama would nominate Elizabeth Warren to head the consumer financial watchdog agency she had created. Instead, she was pushed aside. As Warren kicks off her run for Scott Brown’s Senate seat in Massachusetts, Suzanna Andrews charts the Harvard professor’s emergence as a champion of the beleaguered middle class, and her fight against a powerful alliance of bankers, lobbyists, and politicians.

    Written on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 00:00 Read more...
  • Elizabeth Warren's Appeal
    Elizabeth Warren's Appeal

    For a few years now, politicians straining against all of the antigovernment demagogy have been searching for a way to energize public interest and remind voters of the essential government services and protections they rely on and all too often take for granted.

    Written on Sunday, 16 October 2011 00:00 Read more...
  • Berkshire Democrats Want Elizabeth to Run, Run, Run
    Berkshire Democrats Want Elizabeth to Run, Run, Run

    PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  More than a few local Democrats would be ecstatic if Elizabeth Warren decides to run against Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate. Warren is kicking around the idea of running and stopped in Pittsfield on Friday to meet with party members to gauge their support as part of a listening tour across the state.

    Written on Friday, 19 August 2011 00:00 Read more...

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Like Elizabeth Warren

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of