“Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favours the few, and not the many.” - Barrack Obama
Barrack Obama, President of the United States addressed the consequence that in order for trade to help spur development in the world today, it must not only help
The World Trade Organisation is an international organisation whose motive is to promote open and free trade by convincing nations to eradicate import tariffs In addition, the WTO policies free trade agreements, settles trade disputes between governments and organises trade negotiations. (“WTO Profile: Background Info”} Although on paper promoting free trade may seem to benefit both developed and developing nations, however in practice, the introduction of free trade may only benefit the rich powerful nations. Hence the World Trade Organisation is a clear hindrance as it has been manipulated to serve narrow corporate interests. Secondly, developing countries with poor economies have been completely marginalised by the rich developed nations. Finally, the WTO endorses trade regulations that favour only a handful of economies at the expense of others.
WTO can pressure minute poverty-stricken nations to sacrifice the wellbeing of their own people to meet the demands of multinational corporations. A compelling case study that clearly insinuates how the WTO puts the rights of corporations to profit over human rights. In 1983, Guatemala passed a legislation to encourage breastfeeding and limit the use, and abuse of infant formula which has been related to high infant mortality rates in developing nations. The country was aided by WHO in creating guidelines that would be useful for illiterate consumers. One of which was to prohibit the use of images of bottle-feeding babies in advertising and marketing. Once the law went into effect in 1988, all of Guatemala’s domestic and foreign suppliers made the necessary changes to their packaging. As a result infant mortality rates dropped significantly, However, Gerber Foods failed to comply with the new law and continued to use the image of a pudgy baby. After 5 years of the government trying to compel Gerber to modify it’s labelling, in 1993 Gerber Foods threatened the country with trade sanctions based on trademark infringement. By 1995, successfully oppressed, the Guatemalan government gave in and spared Gerber from it’s infant labelling policy (“Case Studies | Global Exchange”). Thus by advancing investor’s interests over public interests; Gerber Food successfully intimidated the WTO to pressure Guatemala into removing the restrictions made on the marketing of infant formula.
A decade has past since the World Trade Organisation that put the needs of underdeveloped counties at the centre of the international trade negation agenda. However, the WTO has failed to to deliver on their promises. Consequently, developing countries have been completely sidelined by rich...