[mgj-discuss] CORRECTED (and shorter) WTO factsheet
basav at igc.org
basav at igc.org
Wed Dec 7 22:29:35 GMT 2005
Rob pointed out a factual error in the Indian patent law section of the
factsheet that I had sent out. (Thank you Rob!) The final law that cleared
the Indian Parliament was actually a good deal better than what was in the
government's bill (and was the basis of the dire predictions we had used as
source material). Which is great news.
Anyway, now the fact sheet is revised - and in the process cut short as
well. Please distribute THIS version, not the earlier, longer one!
Trading Away Workers Rights: The World Trade Organization (WTO)
The World Trade Organization (WTO), a body that regulates international
trade, will meet in Hong Kong next week to promote free trade. What does
free trade mean for workers rights?
WTO and Services Facilitating Exploitation
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is the part of WTO
dealing with service industries.
Privatization: GATS will open up water, electricity, and other utilities
to unrestricted privatization, which leads to job losses, loss of union
representation, and erosion of working conditions.
21st Century human trafficking: GATS is creating a global guestworker
program to let employers bring foreign workers into countries. These
guestworkers will lack basic legal protections. U.S. workers will lose jobs
to lower-paid foreign workers. Foreign workers will also lose from the lack
of legal protection.
WTO and Manufacturing Eliminating Jobs
Between 1994 (the year the WTO was founded) and 2000, the U.S. trade
deficit widened and the U.S. lost a net 3 million jobs, many of them
well-paid, unionized manufacturing jobs.
WTO and Agriculture Squeezing Farmers and Farmworkers
The E.U. gave preferential market access to bananas grown by small
Caribbean farmers. The U.S. challenged this arrangement in the WTO on
behalf of U.S. banana corporations, who keep their costs low by exploiting
workers in countries where labor laws are weak and unions are repressed.
The WTO forced the E.U. to give up its preferential market access, driving
Carribbean farmers out of business.
The WTO puts corporate profits above workers rights, and regards laws
protecting decent wages and benefits, safe and healthy working conditions,
and union representation as barriers to trade.
It is time to tell the WTO that it is a barrier to workers rights and
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