On its twenty years in existence, the World Trade Organization will hold its 10th WTO Ministerial Meeting slated this 15-18 December 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya led by the US, Japan and other industrialized countries in the European Union. These imperialist countries will again hail the international economic order and the neoliberal policies to maintain hegemonic control in the world’s economy.
The 10th WTO Ministerial Meeting will push for the “renegotiations” of time-worn proposals, that have been time and time again on the agenda of the WTO ministerial meetings, aimed at imposing new rules on trade and investments that are binding to all member countries.
The new rules set to be laid down on the negotiation table will focus on expanding liberalization of services and government procurement and the removal of tariff or the removal of quotas, levies, other sanctions and restrictions for the benefit of already huge and developed imperialist countries. These countries will also push for the strengthening of intellectual property rights of TNCs beyond plant breeders rights (PBRs) as in patents, trademarks, copyrights which were pushed since the 8th General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) Uruguay round.
The 128-member WTO was established to succeed the GATT in 1995 to continue the multilateral trading system and bind countries to its economic rules in agriculture, services, investment, finance, public procurement, customs procedures, information and communications technology and intellectual property. It has succeeded in drawing in not only third world countries with rich natural resources but also the biggest economic powers that has benefitted from socialist construction like China and Russia. The WTO handbook proudly proclaims it now covers 99.95 per cent of the world trade, 99.98 per cent of the world GDP and 99.35 per cent of the world population. WTO has not only succeeded the GATT in maintaining the multilateral trading system, it has also rapidly expanded the global capitalist market.
The WTO will continue to strengthen monopoly capitalist control over the global economy by promoting neoliberal globalization. It will continue to intensify the domination of giant transnational corporations in all goods and services. The WTO, in the last 20 years has
perpetuated the exploitation and oppression of the world’s women. Monopoly capitalism forced millions of working women to slave as contract workers in other countries for dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs without protection.
Liberalization and deregulation have maintained the exploitation of women workers through the informalization of women’s labor and the denial of workers’ rights to unionize, massive unemployment and underemployment, low wages, less benefits, flexibilization and contractualization. Rural and indigenous women talked about landlessness, land grabbing, militarization and dislocation as big multinational corporations target their lands and mineral resources for capitalist expansion and so-called development resulting to displacement of the rural and indigenous population. It has caused the denial of social services coupled with the devastating calamities, environmental destruction and climate crisis.
Women have stood with all peoples in resistance to the WTO since its establishment 20 years ago. The International Women Alliance strongly condemns the MC10 and the rules it aims to approve. IWA has joined militant protest actions at the national and international level to demand “Junk WTO” in various countries and in the Bali Ministerial Meeting. IWA joins the ranks of working men and women to expose and oppose the implementation of WTO agreements and the strengthening of liberalization and deregulation rules. IWA also strongly opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) that will further maintain multilateral trading system legally binding peoples and countries to trade laws.
The WTO new conditionalities and rules will give us women greater resolve to march forward and carry our struggles against neoliberal globalization. The further enslavement of women is indeed a compelling reason that will move women to forge a global anti-imperialist unity under the banner of the International Women’s Alliance.
Working women of the world unite!
Expose and oppose neoliberal policies! No to Free Trade!
Fight Imperialist Globalization! Junk WTO!