WTO Update — Day 3 of 5

 

Poverty on the Rise

Dear Fair Trade Activist,

The WTO Summit in Hong Kong remains in a deadlock — why? Because the decade-plus test run of the WTO's corporate globalization regime has actually increased poverty, both internationally and here in the United States. Given all of the WTO's other failings, it's a powerful indictment that it has not only failed to deliver on its economic promises, but has actually made matters worse!

In fact, the number and percentage of people living on less than $1 a day (the World Bank's definition of extreme poverty) in the regions with some of the worst forms of poverty — Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East — have increased since the WTO went into effect, while the number and percentage of people living on less than $2 a day has gone up during the WTO era for these regions, as well as for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Please help spread the word about the WTO's failures by writing a letter to your local newspaper.

A new study from Tufts University, "The Shrinking Gains from Trade: A Critical Assessment of Doha Round Projections," shows just how little any of us have to gain from the agenda on the table — further trade liberalization — in Hong Kong. Two years ago, the World Bank projected that a completed WTO Doha Round would generate $832 billion in global gains — with developing countries gaining $539 billion of that sum. Now, two years later, according to more careful, but still optimistic, new World Bank projections, the most likely total gain is $96 billion — with developing countries getting only $16 billion. That's less than one cent per person per day in the developing world, if the gains were evenly distributed!

Meanwhile, during the WTO era, the U.S. trade deficit has risen to historic levels, almost $700 billion, and approaches six percent of national income — a figure widely agreed to be unsustainable, putting the U.S. and global economy at risk in the future. Soaring U.S. imports during this decade of WTO and NAFTA have also contributed to the loss of nearly one in six U.S. manufacturing jobs. That's 3 million net manufacturing jobs lost; so, it's no surprise that 11 years into the WTO era, U.S. real median wages are barely at 1970s levels.

On top of this massive job loss, over the last decade the U.S. income and wage inequality has also dramatically increased. In 1995, the top five percent of U.S. households by income made 6.5 times what the poorest 20 percent of households made, while this gap grew by nearly 10 percent by 2003.

It is time for the Bush administration, and trade officials from around the globe, to go back to the drawing board and create trade policies that actually benefit working people everywhere. Please write a letter to the editor or e-mail us to get connected to local events in your area.

Tomorrow: The WTO's Cancer on Democracy.

Sincerely,
The Global Trade Watch Team

Take Action!

Write Your Local Paper: Write a letter to the editor and make your voice heard.

Week of Global Justice Action and Education: Events are being planned across the country to coincide with the Hong Kong Ministerial — e-mail us to get connected to events in your area!

Learn more about the WTO and what it means for you: check out our WTO website or order a copy of Lori Wallach's book, Whose Trade Organization: A Comprehensive Guide to the WTO.

 

Global Trade Watch
in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, in addition to GTW staff attending the Ministerial, GTW Director Lori Wallach was featured on a panel discussion about the WTO's effects on food security and public health, alongside French activist Jose Bove, European Parliament member Caroline Lucas, and Friends of the Earth Europe's Alexandra Wandel.

This afternoon, she gave a lecture titled "How to Become a Trade Lawyer in One Hour of Less." This talk was based on Public Citizen's "Pocket Trade Lawyer" aimed at helping laypeople (and non-English speakers) understand the important intricacies of the language used in "trade" agreements.

 

The Hong Kong
Ministerial In the News

Some of today's mainstream media stories on the WTO and Hong Kong:

 

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