Public Citizens’ WTO book!


Jan Slakov

Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 18:35:25 -0400
To: •••@••.•••
From: Bob Olsen <•••@••.•••>
Subject: WTO Book, Oct 1999

From: "David I. Hay" <•••@••.•••>

From: •••@••.••• [mailto:•••@••.•••]On Behalf Of
Margrete Strand-Rangnes
Sent: October 19, 1999 2:22 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list MAI-NOT




ANNOUNCING: "Whose Trade Organization? Corporate Globalization and the
Erosion of Democracy"
Foreword by Ralph Nader
By Lori Wallach and Michelle Sforza, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

Imagine a Central American country being forced to choose between
maintaining the UNICEF baby formula policy  that has saved thousands of
children's lives or facing an expensive defense in a Swiss trade tribunal
and then possible trade sanctions for not protecting the trademark rights
of a corporation whose label violates the UNICEF code.

Imagine a powerful corporation "renting" a WTO Member nation to pursue its
special interests - and kill a trade- based development policy - behind
closed doors in Geneva to the detriment of tens of thousands of peoples'
livelihoods and the rented country's own economic and security interests.

Imagine, ten years of environmental activism reversed with the sweep of a
pen in Geneva, Switzerland, where a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel has
ruled that a law protecting endangered sea turtles poses an illegal barrier
to trade and several countries are now threatening new challenges against a
country's enforcement of international environmental treaties - this time
the Kyoto Treaty on climate change.

Imagine, a clean air regulation designed to reduce gasoline emissions is
weakened because the WTO claims it could inadvertently hurt foreign gas

Imagine,  consumers forced by the WTO to choose between rescinding a
popular food safety law or facing economic sanctions.

No need to imagine. These are but a handful of examples of the WTO's
real-life impacts on food safety, environmental conservation and protection
and economic development documented in WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION?.

After a year of intensive research, Harvard educated trade lawyer and Global
Trade Watch Director Lori Wallach and  Global Trade Watch Research Director
and trade policy analyst Michelle Sforza document the WTO's actual impact
on democratic governance, wages, jobs, economic growth, food security,
access to healthcare, food safety, labor rights and environmental
protection. With WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION, citizens, policymakers and public
interest advocates can learn the following:

o How the WTO is used to pressure poor countries to abandon their
  efforts to make desperately needed medications more affordable through
  generic drugs and other policies. See page 119.

o How the WTO is being used to attack a European proposal to cut
  electronics pollution. See page 30.

o How WTO rules may threaten U.S. school lunch and food stamp programs.
  See page 164

o How WTO rules threaten millions with starvation by allowing
  agribusiness companies to patent seeds created over generations in
  villages around the world and then charge annual fees for the
  subsistence farmers who developed the seeds to have the right to
  plant them again.

o How an individual with a monetary interest in  a WTO case was
  appointed to judge the case. See page 201.

o How Daimler-Chrysler and Ford Motor Company are using  WTO threats to
  undermine a   Japanese clean air law adopted under the Kyoto Protocol on
  Climate Change. See page 31.

o Why beleaguered U.S. steel workers may face a WTO challenge to
  loan guarantees for the ailing U.S. steel industry. See page 157.

o How WTO rules allow corporations to secure exclusive marketing rights
  over medicinal remedies that have been used by indigenous groups for
  centuries. See page 108.

o How the threat of WTO action was used to pressure Guatemala to drop its
  infant health law enacting the WHO/UNICEF Code on Marketing Breastmilk
  Substitutes. See page 115.

o How a major campaign contributor effectively rented the U.S. government
  to mount a successful WTO challenge to Europe's preferences for Caribbean
  bananas, even though the U.S. doesn't export a single banana. See page 141

WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION translates the WTO's jargony trade rules into
understandable prose for the layperson, policymaker and academic alike. It
is designed with the knowledge that  WTO rules and rulings affect everyone
-- not just importers and trade lawyers -- and therefore must be accessible
to everyone, especially everyday citizens who want to resist WTO
encroachment into the decisions that affect their day-to-day lives.

WHOSE TRADE ORGANIZATION is being released in advance of the WTO's November
29-December 3, 1999 Ministerial Summit in Seattle so that those who will
live with the results taken at that historic meeting are informed about the
potential consequences. The book  makes the case -- bolstered by over 1,200
citations from a vast range of sources -- for the review and repair of the
WTO so that it can no longer threaten the public safeguards and
corporate/governmental accountability standards that citizens have fought so
hard for. While the Clinton Administration is seeking expansion of the WTO's
jurisdiction through a new "round" of negotiations, Public Citizen is united
with civil society groups worldwide calling for the organization's sweeping
powers to be reined in, to put the tools of domestic policy decision making
back into the hands of citizens and their elected representatives.


"Whose Trade Organization" is available through

Public Citizen
Publications Department
1600 20th Street, NW
Washington DC, 20009


Fill out the order form on Public Citizen's Web-page:

Price: $18.50 (includes shipping and handling)

Bulk Rate: 20 or More Copies 40% off.

Orders must be pre-paid using a credit card or $U.S. money order made out to
Public Citizen.

Canada $ 4.52 , +  $15.00 book price  =  $ 19.52
 (includes shipping & handling)

Mexico $ 9.66,  + $15.00 book price  =    $ 24.66
 (includes shipping & handling)

All other countries  $15.00,  + $15.00 book price  =    $30.00
 (includes shipping & handling)


Activist Group Public Citizen Joins Attack on WTO

                  By John Burgess
                  Washington Post Staff Writer
                  Thursday, October 14, 1999; Page E01

                  One of the country's best-known activist groups joined in
the chorus of
                  voices criticizing the World Trade Organization yesterday,
suggesting the
                  international agency has led the United States and other
countries to
                  weaken their environmental, health and safety laws.

                  The attack, coming one day after the AFL-CIO called for
more worker
                  participation in global trade talks scheduled for next
month in Seattle,
                  promised to turn up the heat on business groups and the
free-trade stance
                  taken by the Clinton administration.

                  "The WTO is the final authority," said Joan Claybrook,
president of Public
                  Citizen, a consumer watchdog group founded by Ralph Nader.
"It can
                  require nations to change their laws and standards to
accommodate its
                  decisions made in secret proceedings by trade
officials--or else be subject
                  to severe economic sanctions."

                  Claybrook said sovereign nations are being robbed of the
authority "to
                  enact basic protections for their own populations."

                  U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky denied
Public Citizen's
                  charges, included in a 229-page report. "The United States
has not
                  relaxed any environmental law or health or safety law in
order to comply
                  with any WTO ruling," she said in an interview.

                  Where changes to laws have been made, Barshefsky said,
they served
                  only to equalize treatment of U.S. and foreign companies.

                  Public Citizen argued that the United States has softened
                  provisions of the Clean Air Act involving gasoline, while
South Korea has
                  lowered meat safety regulations and Australia loosened
rules on the import
                  of raw salmon.

                  The criticisms come as delegates from WTO member countries
prepare to
                  meet in Seattle next month to try to chart a new round of
global trade
                  negotiations. The group has more than 130 member

                  Business groups and the Clinton administration say the WTO
brings "rule
                  of law" to trade disputes. That liberalizes trade between
nations, raising
                  living standards, and has helped fuel an economic boom in
the United
                  States. But some environmentalist groups contend that the
WTO has too
                  much power and is hurting living standards in many

                  Many of the decisions that Public Citizen cites concern
one country
                  bringing an action at the WTO against a trading partner's
                  health or safety rules.

                  These challenges often involve a country claiming the real
function of such
                  consumer laws is to block the import of goods from other
countries. If a
                  WTO tribunal concludes that these laws are administered to
                  against foreign suppliers, or that they lack scientific
basis, they can be
                  declared to violate the laws of world trade.

                  U.S. officials argue that each country in the WTO retains
its sovereignty.
                  Countries can legally ignore unfavorable decisions, and
some do so.
                  However, they may to sanctions or forced to pay
compensation to trading

                  But critics see the WTO as replacing the lawmaking
authority of individual

                  Smaller countries have no choice but to go along with WTO
rulings or
                  merely the threat of WTO action, Public Citizen contends,
while large
                  countries tend to follow the WTO's wishes.

                  Nader called the WTO a "super-national autocratic system .
. . that runs
                  courts that would be illegal in this country" because
their proceedings are
                  closed to public scrutiny.

                  While its rulings are published, the internal
deliberations and presentations
                  of the opposing parties are kept secret.

                  The United States promises that at the Seattle talks it
will push for more
                  openness in WTO deliberations. In a speech last night to
the Democratic
                  Leadership Council, President Clinton said that the WTO
had been seen
                  as a "private priesthood for experts" and now must open up
to hear the
                  views of diverse parties.

                  Barshefsky pointed out that the Seattle schedule includes
a day in which
                  "nongovernmental organizations" such as labor unions and
                  groups will air their views.

                  Among WTO decisions Public Citizen singled out for

                  * A ruling that U.S. gasoline import rules discriminated
against fuel made
                  in Venezuela and Brazil. Public Citizen said the United
States took steps in
                  response that it had previously dismissed as unenforceable
and costly.
                  Barshefsky said the United States merely changed the ways
in which
                  foreign gasoline producers reported data about their

                  * A finding that a European ban on the import of beef from
                  hormone-treated animals was illegal. Europe has ignored
the ruling and
                  continues to contend that the ban is necessary to protect
against potential
                  health problems. The United States, which exports the
meat, has argued
                  that there is no scientific justification for a ban on the

                  * A ruling that South Korea's requirement that meat could
have only a
                  30-day shelf life. Under the threat of WTO action, Korea
raised that limit
                  to 90 days, a change that foreign suppliers wanted.

                               c 1999 The Washington Post Company


On the Internet at

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed
without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes.

Margrete Strand Rangnes
MAI Project Coordinator
Public Citizen Global Trade Watch
215 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Washington DC, 20003 USA
202-547 7392 (fax)

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