Home » Uncategorized » ‘Global Trade: look at the facts rather than heed corporate lobbying’

From 142 civil society organizations We, the undersigned organisations and individuals , represent tens of millions of workers and farmers, landless and unemployed, human rights , development and environmental campaigners, women, students , academics and citizens from all corners of the earth.

We are writing in response to the letter signed by the CEOs and chairmen of the world’s “leading corporations” in which they urge WTO member governments to conclude the Doha round of negotiations “on time.” (“Last and best chance to move Doha to a successful conclusion”, November 8)

Although we have no illusions about why the corporations are so eager to see the round concluded, their argument that trade liberalisation is a “strong driving force for global economic growth, job creation and wider consumer choice” is utterly misleading.

Their first claim about growth is questionable . A recent report from the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), compares average growth rates in 175 countries between 1960-1979 and 1980 – 2000, divided into five groups according to their per capita income at the start of each period. In the top four groups, average growth rates fell by more than half, from averages of 2. 4 to 3 .1 % in 1960- 1979 to averages of .7 to 1. 3 % in 1980-2000. Only the group with the lowest per capita GDP showed a tiny increase, from 1.7 to 1.8%, even though it includes fast growing China and India . (“The Scorecard on Development: 26 years of Diminished Progress”, CEPR, September 2005, www.cepr.net , p.7)

Figures from the ILO tell the same story: the mean world GDP per capita growth fell from 3. 6 % in 1961 to just 1 % in 2003. (“A fair globalisation “, World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalisation, ILO, 2004 , p. 36)

Latin America shows the most dramatic reversal of fortunes: between 1960 and 1979 the region grew by more than 80 % , however this has dwindled to just 11 % by 1980-2000 and 3% for 2000-2005 . This is the worst economic performance in modern Latin American history, even including the Great Depression. Although the world’s “leading corporations” argue that further trade liberalisation would reverse this trend, the reality is that during the past 25 years Latin America has already undertaken across-the- board and unilateral liberalisation of goods and services, in addition to wholesale privatisation , under the guidance of more than 80 International Monetary Fund programmes. (CEPR, p. 8)

In contrast, 1980-2000 was a period of accelerated trade liberalisation: the average contribution of trade to GDP went from 40% to almost 60% (ILO, 2004, p. 25). There does not appear to be a strong correlation between growth and increased trade flows.

Second, they claim that trade liberalisation will lead to job creation. Again, if we look at the research, between 1990 and 2002 unemployment increased in 7 out of 9 regions. In Southeast Asia unemployment almost doubled from 3.6% in 1990 to 6.5% in 2002. Similarly, in that period unemployment grew by almost 50% in Latin America and even in East Asia, which includes China , unemployment almost doubled from 3.6% in 1990 to 6.5% in 2002. These regions are all experiencing high population growth, so the absolute number of unemployed is growing at an even faster rate. And although the world’s top 200 companies account for one quarter of world economic activity, they employ less than 1 % of the global workforce. ( Institute of Policy Studies, December 2000)

We realise that the WTO and trade liberalisation has been good for the corporate bottom-line . In fact, 49 of the 63 companies signing the letter are in “Forbes 2000″ (2004) which lists their combined profits as $109.29 billion and their total market value as $2,180.5 billion. But, before asserting extravagant claims for the benefits of trade liberalisation, the CEOs of the world’s leading corporations should look at the figures . Otherwise, they risk being charged with distorting the fact s in pursuit of their own interests.

In the pressured days before Hong Kong, trade negotiators in Geneva would be well-advised to look at the facts rather than listen to corporate lobbying.
T. M. Zaffullah Chowdury (Dr), Project Coordinator,

Gonoshasthaya Kendra, Bangladesh

Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director, VOICE, Bangladesh

Alison Healey, Coordinator, Justice in Trade Agreement Network of The International Grail, Australia

Allejandro Villamar, General Council Member, Mexican Action

Network on Free Trade, Mexico

Ana Maria Nemenzo, President, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines

Andrew de Sousa, National Organizer, Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA), USA

Anil Naidoo, Director, Blue Planet Project, Canada

Annelies Allain, Coordinator, International Code Documentation

Centre-IBFAN, Malaysia

Annick Coupe, General Secretary, Union Syndicale Solidaires, France

Anselmo Lee, Executive Director, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Thailand

Antonio Tricarico, CRBM/Tradewach, Italy

Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director, The Oakland Institute, USA

Arsenio Tanchuling, Executive Director, Tambuyog Development Center, and Convenor of Alyansa Agrikultura, Philippines

Arze Glipo, Integrated Rural Development Foundation, Philippines

Azubike Nwokoye, West African Regional Focal Point, Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Nigeria.

Badrul Alam, President, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh

Badrul Arup Rahee, LOKOJ Institute, Bangladesh

Benjamin Castello, Chairperson, Coalition Jubilee 2000, Angola

Beth Burrows, President/Director, Edmonds Institute, USA

Bonnie Setiawan, Executive Director, Institute for Global Justice, Indonesia

Brenda Crawford, Interim Executive Director, Food First, USA

C.P. Chandrasekhar, Managing Trustee, Economic Research Foundation, India

Carlos Ruiz, ATTAC Spain, Spain

Carmen Blanco Valer, Ordferande/Presidenta, UBV/Latinamerika, Sweden

Carol Barton,Coordinator, Women’s International Coalition for

Economic Justice, USA

Carol Bergin, Founder, Initiative Colibri, Germany

Cecilia Olivet, Transnational Institute, Uruguay

Chan Beng Seng, Executive Director, Documentation for Action Groups in Asia, Hong Kong

Charles Abugre, Head of Policy, Christian Aid, UK

Christian Felber, Co-founder, ATTAC Austria, Austria

Clare Nolan, NGO representative, Sisters of the Good Shepherd

D L O Mendis, Secretary/Convenor, Sri Lanka Pugwash Group, Sri Lanka

D Roy Laifungbam (Dr), Director, Centre for Organisation Research & Education (CORE), India

Damian Sullivan, International Liaison Officer, Friends of the Earth, Australia

Dan Gallin, Chair, Global Labour Institute, Switzerland

Daniel Mittler, Trade Policy Advisor, Greenpeace International

David Kane, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, USA

Deepa Bharathi, Committee for Asian Women, Thailand

Dembe Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal

Dennis Arnold, International Coordinator, Thai Labour Campaign Thailand

Dennis Brutus, (Professor), Patron, Jubilee South Africa;

Boardmember, Center for Economic Justice, South Africa

Devinder Sharma, Director, Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security, India

Dot Keet, Alternative Information and Development Center (AIDC), South Africa

Doug Hellinger, Executive Director, The Development GAP, USA

Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, General Secretary, World YWCA

Dra. Rita Schwentesius Rindermann, Coordinadora de la Red de Mercados y Tianguis Organicos de Mexico, Mexico

Elaine Zuckerman, President, Gender Action, USA

Eva-Britt Svensson, Member of the European Parliament for the

United Left Group, (GUE/NGL), Sweden

Farhad Jahanmahan, WTO Coordinator, ATTAC, Sweden

Felipe Van Keirsbilck, Permanent au Secretariat General de la CNE

Ferran Garcia, Veterinarios Sin Fronteras, Spain

Fiona Dove, Director, Transnational Institute, Netherlands

Fr Frank Nally, Missionary Society of St Columban, London

Gabriele Zimmer, Member of the European Parliament for the United Left Group (GUE/NGL), Germany

Gerard Choplin, Coordinator, European Farmers Coordination, Belgium

Giampiero Alhadeff, Secretary General, Solidar, Belgium

Giles Ji Ungpakorn (Associate Prof.), Workers’ Democracy, Thailand

Golden Munyaka, President, Poverty Forum, USA

Greg Asbed, Co-Director, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, USA

Greg Mclean, Assistant National Secretary, Australian Services Union, Australia

Gunn Olander, Leader, KFO (Norwegian Confederation of Municipal Employees), Norway

Guy Taylor, Globalise Resistance, UK

Hans Engelberts, General Secretary, Public Service International, France

Harekrishna Debnathm, Chairperson, National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF), India

Herman Kumara, Convener, Fisheries Solidarity, Sri Lanka

Igbal, Headchief of Gema Prodem, Medan, North Sumatera, Indonesia

Jane Kelsey (Professor), Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa (ARENA NZ)

Jean Grossholtz, Diverse Women for Diversity, India

Jeff Powell, Coordinator, The Bretton Woods Project, UK

John Furman, President, Central New York Citizens in Action, USA

John Stewart, Director, Nonviolent Action and Strategies for Social Change, Zimbabwe

Jonas Sjostedt, Member of the European Parliament for the United Left Group (GUE/NGL), Sweden

Joseph E. Goddard, General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers and Trustee Trustee of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, Barbados

Joseph F. Purugganan, Coordinator, Stop the New Round! Coalition, Philippines

Josu Egireun, Executive Committee, ESK trade union, Basque Country

K Balasubramaniam (Dr), Co-ordinator, Health Action International Asia, Sri Lanka

K. Ashok Rao, Secretary General National, Confederation of Officers Associations, India

Kalyanee Shah, President, SEWA, Nepal

Lamin Camara, Board Member, Lend A Hand Society, the Gambia

Larry Brown, National Secretary Treasurer, National Union of Public and General Employees, Canada

Lena Bruckl, Coordination Committee Member, ATTAC Germany, Germany

Lidy B. Nacpil, International Coordinator, Jubilee South Liina Carr, International Secretary, Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions, Estonia

Linda Hartke, Coordinator, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, Switzerland

Linus Jayathilake, President, United Federation of Labor, Sri Lanka

Louise Richards, Chief Executive, War on Want, UK

M.C. George (Dr), national trustee, Infam (Indian farmers movement), India

Mahfuz Ullah, Secretary General, Centre for Sustainable Development, Bangladesh

Malgorzata Swiatek, Board Member, ATTAC Poland, Poland

Marcello Malentacchi, General Secretary of the International Metalworkers’ Federation

Maria Luisa Mendonca, Co-Director, Social Network for Justice and Human Rights, Brazil

Marianne Hochuli, Director, The Berne Declaration, Switzerland

Mark Levinson, Chief Economist, UNITE HERE, USA

Mark Ritchie, President, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA

Martha Mercado Ruiz and Erika Garc?a, Coordinators, Solidarity

Group-Arenal (GRUDESA), Arenal, Nicaragua

Mary Rusimbi, Executive Director, Tanzania Gender Networking Programme, Tanzania

Matthias Reichl, Spokesperson, Center for Encounter and Active Non-Violence, Austria

Matyas Benyik, President, ATTAC Hungary, Hungary

Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, The Council of Canadians, Canada

Meagen Baldwin, Executive Director, WIDE, Brussels

Meenakshi Raman, Chair, Friends of the Earth International

Melissa Moore, Program Coordinator, Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, US

Mika Ronkko, Chairman, ATTAC Finland, Finland

Mohiuddin Ahmad, Chairperson, Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)

Muhammad Hilaluddin, Chief Director, Angikar Bangladesh Foundation, Bangladesh

Neil Kearney, General Secretary, International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation, Belgium

Nikhil Aziz, Executive Director, Grassroots International, USA

Nizam Assaf (Dr), Director, Amman Center for Human Rights Studies, Jordan

Njoki Njoroge Njehu, Executive Director, Solidarity Africa Network in Action, Kenya

Noy Prasittiporn Kan-On-Sri, Assembly of The Poor, Thailand

Nur Amalia, National Facilitator, Indonesian Peoples Forum (IPF), Indonesia

Olivier Hoedeman, CEO, Corporate Europe Observatory, The Netherlands

Oono Kazuoki, Chief of Working Committee of No-to-WTO Coalition, Japan

Padma Pushpakanthi, Convener, Savistri Women’s Network, Sri Lanka

Paul Dupret, Advisor on trade to the European Parliament, United Left Group (GUE/NGL), Belgium

Peter Fuchs, Trade & Investment Campaigner, World Economy, Ecology & Development, Germany

Peter Hardstaff, Head of Policy, World Development Movement, UK

Peter Lavina, Councilor, Mindanao Workers Against Globalization, Philippines

Peter Rossett, Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA), Center for the Study of Change in the Mexican Countryside (CECCAM), Mexico

Prem Dangal, Secretary General, All Nepal Peasants’ Association, Nepal

R.Sreedhar, Environics Trust and mm&P, India

Ramesh Singh, Chief Executive, Action Aid International, South Africa

Ranee Hassarungsee, Secretary, Social Agenda Working Group (Social Watch), Thailand

Raquel D Castillo, National Coordinator, E-Net Philippines, Philippines

Ritu Dewan (Professor) Department of Economics, University of Mumbai, India

Ron Oswald, General Secretary, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), Switzerland

Rosemary Viswanath, Chief Functionary, EQUATIONS, India

Sam Vuthy, Womyns Agenda for Change, Cambodia

Sana Das, World Dignity Forum, India

Sanjai Bhatt (Professor) Social Work, University of Delhi, India

Sarath Fernando, Moderator, Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform, Sri Lanka

Samus P. Finn OMI, Missionary Oblates, Justice/Peace & Integrity of Creation, USA

Sean McDonagh, author, ‘To Care for the Earth’, USA

Sigeya Kihara, Chairperson, Globalization Watch Hiroshima, Japan

Smitu Kothari, Director, Intercultural Resources, India

Sr. Estela Cordero, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission, Philippines – Papua New Guinea

Sudyumna Dahal, Secretary General, Associations of Youth Organisations, Nepal

Sunila Abeysekera, Executive Director, INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre, Sri Lanka

Syed Saiful Haque, Welfare Association of Repatriated Bangladeshi Employees, Bangladesh

Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director, International Labor Rights Fund, USA

Thea Lee, Policy Director, American Federation of Labor and

Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

Thomas Kocherry, Executive Committee Member, National Fishworkers’ Forum, India

Thomas Wallgren, Chair, Network Institute for Global Democratisation, Finland & Peru

Tissa De Silva, Chairman, Peoples Policy Institute, Sri Lanka

Titi Soentoro, Regional Coordinator, Asia Pacific Forum on

Women, Law and Development, Thailand

Tony Clarke, President, Polaris Institute, Canada

Tracey Wheatley, Protect the Future, Hungary

Vicent Garces, President, Centro de Estudios Rurales y de Agricultura Internacional, Spain

Vita de Waal, Executive Director, Foundation for Gaia, UK

Walden Bello (Dr), Executive Director, Focus on the Global South, Thailand

Wallace Ryan Kuroiwa, Minister and Team leader, United Church of Christ, USA

William Gois, Regional Coordinator, Migrant Forum in Asia, Philippines

Yanuar Nugroho, Executive Director, The Business Watch Indonesia, Indonesia

Yoko Akimoto, Secretariat Member, ATTAC Japan

Yoshihide Kanno, Chairperson, Asian Farmers Exchange Center, Japan

Zakir Kibria, Director, Bangla Praxis, Bangladesh

Zeki Ergas, Executive Secretary, Millennium Solidarity Geneva Group, Switzerland