Organic Consumers Association

Report Shows Large Transnationals Manipulate WTO

August 29, 2003, Issue #282
Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness
From a Public Interest Perspective

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With two weeks to go before the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Ministerial meeting in Cancun, a new report reveals the key role transnational corporations play in shaping the policy of the WTO.

'Business Rules: Who pays the price?' was released on August 28, 2003 and was
produced by Friends of the Earth International, the world's largest grassroots
environmental federation, and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

Friends of the Earth International is highlighting the WTO meeting which it believes
could have devastating impacts on people and the environment around the world.

Through a series of eight case studies, this report strips back the rhetoric of free trade
and the 'pro-development agenda' and reveals the reality of the WTO system.

Companies named and shamed include Pfizer, Suez, Halliburton, Monsanto, Endesa,
Shell, Philip Morris, and Exxon Mobil. The corporate lobby groups include the
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO),
the European Services Forum (ESF), the US Coalition of Service Industries (USCSI),
the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

"Transnational corporations through their powerful lobby groups are playing a central
role in setting the 'free trade' agenda," said Raul Benet in Cancun. "They are using their financial and political muscle to steer decisions in the most powerful countries in the WTO: the US, the European Union, and Japan," he added.

The aim of transnational corporations is to make greater profits by opening up new
markets and creating a set of pro-business rules in the WTO. For ordinary people and
the environment this is bad news.

The case studies highlight the environmental and social impacts that the corporations
and lobby groups have on few key areas: food, health and environmental standards,
access to essential medicines, control over foreign investment and access to essential

The complete report can be viewed at::

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