Ottawa – Commenting on news of a “historic” WTO agreement in Bali, Indonesia today, Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, says:
“This was not a historic win for developing countries at the WTO. They scrape by with modest and temporary protections for food security policies that should be completely excluded from corporate trade rules, which are still biased in the interests of corporations and rich countries. The bargain, if you can call it that, also came at the high price of agreeing to a trade facilitation agreement that further locks in a neo-colonial trading system that has condemned much of the world to poverty.
“It is unfortunate that some countries will leave Bali with a vain hope that further negotiations will conclude the WTO’s so-called development agenda over the next year. The reality is rich countries like Canada, the United States and Europe have abandoned the idea completely and are focused on moving their corporate agenda as far as it can go in transatlantic and transpacific free trade deals, as well as a highly secretive international services agreement being negotiated on the outskirts of the WTO in Geneva by a small cabal of developed countries.
“There is nothing to celebrate in the Bali package, no redemption for the idea of a fair and balanced trade agreement for the world. The only winners are big agribusiness, including in Canada, with small-scale farmers again on the losing end. We should use the continued stalemate at the WTO to fundamentally rethink the agreements, realize how few people truly benefit from the corporate rights agenda behind them, and begin to create a truly balanced trade regime that prioritizes food security, human rights, protection of the Earth, and social and economic equality.”