The World Trade Organization has encouraged agricultural monopolies and cheap labour, and created vulnerable supply chains
When delegates arrive in Geneva today for the long delayed World Trade Organization (WTO) summit, they will find an institution in the middle of an existential crisis. For 18 long months, the WTO has been debating a moderate proposal from South Africa and India which would have allowed countries to temporarily override the property rights of pharmaceutical corporations so they could produce patented Covid-19 vaccines. Opposition by Britain, Switzerland and other European countries has kept it from progressing. Even a global pandemic, it seems, isn’t sufficient cause to prompt a temporary rethink of the WTO’s pro-business approach.
Just as bad, the WTO cannot agree a common approach to the food crisis fast spreading across the globe, or the invasion of one of its members by another, or, most serious of all, the climate catastrophe facing humanity. All it can do is fall back on the mantra of more free trade. Unable to break with a “market knows best” ideology which is actively exacerbating the world’s problems, the WTO is now a failed institution. It’s time to bury it.
Nick Dearden is director of Global Justice Now
Read the original article at The Guardian