News Release

“Globalization” in a Time of War


The World Trade Organization is scheduled to begin its long-awaited summit in Qatar on Friday.

Communications coordinator at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Lilliston said today: “The form of globalization represented by the WTO will do little to lessen the threat of terrorism. In fact, it is driving greater divisions between the rich and poor — between developed and developing countries.” Director of the Trade Program for IATP, Murphy said today: “Despite the collapse of the WTO talks in Seattle, it seems developed countries’ governments have learned nothing. We are now presented with a text that several developing countries have rejected outright, and which fails to reflect the positions of the Africa Group. The General Council has been bypassed by a process of one-on-one and then small group meetings, as well as mini-ministerials which were not open to all members…. Trade rules for agriculture must address dumping of agricultural products in the international system. The lack of competition in international commodity markets ensures an asymmetric division of profits; that benefits agribusiness rather than producers or consumers.”
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Ziad Abdel Samad is executive director of the Arab NGO Network for Development, a coalition of human rights, environmental, labor and other groups that has co-organized an NGO forum in Beirut which ends Thursday. He will be in Doha, Qatar for the WTO meeting. He said today: “The majority of the developing countries that have joined the WTO are calling to stop and assess the impact of the implementation of WTO agreements on the social and economic effects of trade agreements… They are also calling for the reassessment of the mechanisms of the WTO, especially those related to participation in the decision-making process and the dispute settlement body in the WTO.”
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Co-director of Essential Action, Weissman said today: “Confronted with the prospect of bioterrorism on a massive scale, the Bush administration and the pharmaceutical industry have colluded to protect patent monopolies at the expense of public health. The administration has refused to take steps to authorize competitive generic production of Cipro to ensure an adequate supply of the product…. Now U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is hard at work in the WTO negotiations to deny poor countries the policy tools — including the early introduction of generic competition — they need to make essential medicines more accessible. These disputes are about corporate profit versus public health, clean and simple.”
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Editor of Left Business Observer, Henwood said today: “In this time of crisis, opportunism is everywhere, with lobbyists using the dismal economy as an excuse to shake loose giant tax breaks from Congress, and the free trade crowd using global recession and even the ‘war on terrorism’ as excuses to promote a whole new trade round. Their brand of neoliberalism has given us a vast polarization of incomes and regular financial crises, but they assure us that the only cure is more of the same.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167