By Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila, Philippines and Chitato Artidyo and Keluar Ramayana-Bintang in Bali, Indonesia
BALI, Indonesia– Farmer organizations calling for the dismantling of World Trade Organization (WTO) and system change rebuked the statement of WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo that farmers of developing countries will be the losers if the new round of the WTO failed to approve the Bali Package.
At a rally held at the gate of Nusa Dua Convention Center, some 50 peasant activists from South and Southeast Asia identified with the 15-million strong Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), International Fisherfolk and Fishworkers Coalition (IFWC) and the Indonesian People’s Alliance (IPA) said Azevedo is a triple platinum liar, a rabid apologist of WTO and a salesman of neo-liberal globalization.
“The WTO director general is talking of something that is beyond anyone’s imagination. He is a pathological liar. Billions and billions of people are suffering from landlessness, joblessness, hunger and injustice courtesy of WTO and neo-liberal globalization.
This talking parrot of the US-led WTO should be stopped from duping the people,” said Rafael Mariano, a peasant leader from the Philippines representing the Filipino farmer group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
Mariano also slammed the prediction of Azevedo that the global economy will increase by $ 1 million dollar if the Bali package is ratified by the trade ministers. “How could that be? WTO is beyond repair and beyond review. The global community of people is witnessing and enjoying the downfall of an empire known as WTO,” he said.
“The WTO and neo-liberal globalization exacerbated and further denationalized the backward agricultural system of underdeveloped economies by pushing market driven and export oriented land reform programs and full-blown neo-liberal globalization.
The US-led syndicate masterminded the agricultural liberalization and full-scale corporatization of backward economies of least developed nations that led to global land grabbing, resource plunder, joblessness, hunger and death of many people across every nation,” he said.
The anti-WTO groups likewise blamed the WTO, the free trade regime and legacy of neo-liberal globalization as responsible in denying access to drinking water to 1.1 billion people, and for forcing 1.6 billion people to live in darkness due to elusive and high cost electricity.
They claimed that free market made to suffer over 1.9 billion children in poor nations and forced them to continue to face bleak future with 640 million of these kids are deprived of adequate shelter, 400 million children consistently denied of safe and adequate water and 270 million children with no access to health services.
The Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization concluded a new trade deal after intensive consultations almost round the clock from Wednesday 4 December until the early hours of Friday 6 December, followed by overnight meetings of heads of all delegations the following night.
The Bali trade deal is the first multilateral agreement reached in almost 20 years of WTO history. World leaders are now celebrating the Bali agreement for restoring confidence in the WTO after over a decade of failed ministerials.
WTO trade chiedf Azevedo shed tears during the summit’s closing ceremony on Saturday, a day after its scheduled conclusion. “We did it!” said Indonesia’s Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, who chaired the conference.
European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso said “I’m delighted at the news this morning of the global trade deal in Bali. This will give a real boost to the global economy.”
“The WTO has entered a new era,” remarked U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. He said that the trade facilitation part of the agreement will be a major boost to U.S. small exporters trying to navigate complex customs rules abroad.
But anti-WTO activists predicted that the midnight deal in Bali will spark more crisis and turmoil rather than peace and stability in global trade.
Ario Ardityo of Indonesian People’s Alliance (IPA) said the Bali deal is an omen of a more aggressive neoliberal offensive. He said the Bali agreement sets the stage for a new expansion of the neoliberal agenda that is geared towards further liberalization of trade and agriculture, and privatization of services and technology.
Meanwhile, a statement signed by over 30 civil society organizations including IBON International underscored the need to abandon the World Trade Organization and work towards an “Alternative Framework for International Trade and Cooperation for Development Justice.”
The statement released 3 December says “instead of acceding to the unfair trade and investment regime that is being codified, strengthened and enforced by the WTO, free trade agreements such as the transpacific partnership and other neoliberal economic agreements, we need to abandon neoliberal globalization as a framework for development and international relations.”
The statement calls for a “Social Summit on Trade and Development” where social movements, civil society, academics, parliamentarians, local authorities, policy makers and officials from governments and multilateral institutions can gather to discuss and elaborate an alternative multilateral agenda for trade and development based on the basic principles of solidarity, equality, cooperation and respect for human rights.
Source: All Voices