Luca FerriniAug 28views This content was written by a student and assessed as part of a university degree. Classical liberal economic theory widely recognises and portrays the benefits of free trade.
The scope of the WTO is greater, however, including services, agriculture, and intellectual property, not just trade in goods. The main principles of the WTO boil down to the following: Non discrimination National treatment implies both foreign and national companies are treated the same, and it is unfair to favor domestic companies over foreign ones.
Some countries have a most favored nation treatment, but under WTO the policy is that all nations should be treated equally in terms of trade. Any trade concessions etc offered to a nation must be offered to others.
Reciprocity Nations try to provide similar concessions for each other. Transparency Negotiations and process must be fair and open with rules equal for all. Special and differential treatment A recognition that developing countries may require positive discrimination Back to top Reality different from the principles As principles, many of these sound good.
However, in reality, power politics has meant that the WTO has received criticized by various groups and third world countries for numerous things, including: Being very opaque and not allowing enough public participation, while being very welcoming to large corporations.
Take the following as a very small set of examples: Countries cannot say no to genetically engineered food or milk that contains genetically engineered growth hormones known to cause health problems or trees that have been felled from pristine forests and so on.
The affected corporations managed to take this to GATT the predecessor to the WTO and get a reversal of the law amidst the threat of sanctions. Lori Wallach, Director of Global Trade Watchprovides further examples in a video clip 6 minutes, transcript also noting that various global trade agreements have been pushed in such a way that they often undermine local laws and constitutions.
If for example, health or environmental protections get in the way of the trade agreement, then they often have to be revoked or changed in favor of trade agreements: A number of countries have also spoken out against the WTO saying that there needs to be more co-operation between the North and South a general term to refer to the Rich and Developing countries, respectively with regards to international trade.
During the week of May 20,celebrations marked 50 years of multilateral trade. However, as the following link mentions, the African nations did not feel that there was much to rejoice at and said that it was a party where only the rich nations has something to celebrate.
Most people in the world have not benefited from the current form of multilateral trading systems. There have been so many examples, it is impossible to list here.
For poor nations it makes developing their own industries independently more costly, if at all possible. Furthermore, as shown in the genetically engineered food section, indigenous knowledge that has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years in some developing countries have been patented by large companies, without consent or prior knowledge from indigenous communities.
People then find that they have to buy back that which they had already known and used freely. As summarized from various articles from the Third World Network on pharmaceuticals, patents and profitsTRIPS has a number of problems including the following: TRIPS aims to prevent imitation of products which is ironic, given that this would allow further competition and better prices for drugs and other products, which is something that transnational corporations have often sung as being the benefits of free trade and corporate-led capitalism with minimal restrictions.
The effect of the 20 year period of a patent protection is to basically deny others such as developing countries and their corporations from developing alternatives that would be cheaper.
Technology transfer is prevented again, a direct contradiction to those who support the WTO, free trade in its current forms etc. Transnational corporations will be able to continue to grow more due to their profits from this, while others will decline further. Instead, commercial interests are promoted.
Notice that impedes growth, and development and is intended to. Smith of the Institute for Economic Democracy describes, this is partly how inequality is subtly structured into law.
These types of agreements strengthen subtle monopoly rights. Oxfam also make important distinctions between reality and rhetoric and point out that TRIPS will Exacerbate the technological divide: There is already a wide technological gap between rich and poor countries.
Although developing countries are rich in informal knowledge, they are net importers of the kinds of high-tech goods and know-how protected by TRIPS.
TRIPS will exacerbate this divide by increasing the cost of knowledge-rich goods imported by developing countries.
Royalties and licence fees paid by developing countries to patent holders in the industrialised world have been climbing rapidly since the mids. Less than 10 percent of global spending on health research addresses 90 percent of the global disease burden.
Similarly, much agricultural research aims to improve the appearance and taste of produce for consumers in rich markets, rather than to support the sustainable farming of staple foods such as sorghum and cassava, on which many poor farmers depend.ii World Investment Report Investing in the SDGs: An Action Plan NOTE The Division on Investment and Enterprise of UNCTAD is a global centre of excellence, dealing with issues related to investment and enterprise development in the United Nations System.
Jul 17, · Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Leadership Strategy I write about management priorities for long-term growth.
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