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Cancun- A Battle for Life

Cancun- A Battle for Life

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Published by Yanuar Nugroho

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Yanuar Nugroho on Aug 01, 2008
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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The Jakarta Post – OPINION & EDITORIAL - Wednesday, July 16, 2003http://www.thejakartapost.com/Archives/ArchivesDet2.asp?FileID=20030716.E02 
Cancun: A battle for life
Yanuar Nugroho
,Director, Business Watch IndonesiaResearcher, Uni Sosial DemokratLecturer, Sahid University at Surakartayanuar-n@unisosdem.org The next crucial trade talks will take place in Cancun, Mexico, in September. This will be thefifth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the most importantconference of the WTO in recent years.The conference, following the previous meeting in Doha, Qatar, in 2001, becomes crucial asdeveloping countries find themselves under pressure -- if not threatened -- by the proposal fora new round, particularly in agriculture, industrial tariffs, services (or GATS -- GeneralAgreements on Trade in Services) and what is called the Singapore Issues (investment,competition policy, transparency, government procurement). What actually matters?The WTO meeting in Doha ended in international disagreement about whether a new roundof trade negotiations was to be launched. The disagreement concerned the start of a newround of negotiations. Doha laid the ground for strong disapproval from the developingcountries. But now the U.S. always refers to a new round in all its trade issues.Why a new round?The developed, or "rich", countries badly need a new round as their economies have been hithard by recession. They are looking for markets and thus propose that developing countriesopen up all sectors of their economies, regardless of the suffering, poverty or reductions inquality of life that this may cause.It seems that if the developing countries do not speak out for their interests, Cancun will onlywork in favor of the developed countries.Founded in 1995, the WTO quickly grew into a very powerful global body. In 1996, a jointstatement from the World Bank, WTO, and IMF at the WTO Ministerial meeting in Singaporeunderlined that the three institutions' most pressing task was to bring about coherence in theirpolicies in order to create a framework of international economic governance to assure globalprosperity (WTO, 2003).Yet, apart from this rhetoric, what makes the WTO important?While George Soros says that the importance of the WTO is that it is the "only globalinstitution to which the United States was willing to subordinate its national laws," someleading media stamp the WTO as the jewel in the crown of neo-liberal global governance.But the genius of the WTO is that it sets up a "rules-based" system of world trade that bothpowerful and powerless, as well as rich and poor economies submit themselves to.And what are the rules? They are (1) Trade-Related Investment Measures, or TRIMs, (2)Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPs, (3) Agreements on Agriculture, or AoA,and (4) General Agreements on Trade in Services, or GATS.They work this way: Since the working of capital in terms of the revolutionary industrialprogress has proven profitable, TRIMs was created mainly to secure investment in industries

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