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2003-09-05

Ex-World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz & Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach Preview Next Week’s WTO Meetings in Cancun

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The Nobel Prize winning Stiglitz criticizes U.S. trade policy saying the world’s poorest including Sub-Sahara Africa suffers more because of our trade agreements. Meanwhile Lori Wallach discusses why she was placed on a watchlist of activists developed by Mexican officials.

The Guardian of London is reporting that Mexican security officials have developed a watch list containing the names of 80 activists and academics who are believed to attend the World Trade Organization protests later this month in Cancun.

To protest the creation of the list, a growing number of activists are voluntarily submitting their own names to the so-called watch list.

A letter to Mexican officials is circulating that reads in part "we are concerned that you were only able to find 60 internationals and 20 Mexicans who are opposed to the World Trade Organization Haven’t you noticed that the tide of public opinion is turning decidedly against the WTO? ...Please add my name to your 'watch list' immediately!"

The letter continues: "If you are unwilling to add my name to the list, then I must insist that you remove those singled out for special attention. I can assure you that we have similar views–we are all opposed to the WTO and a 'free' trade agenda that impoverish the majority of us while enriching a few corporations."

The meeting in Cancun begins Sept. 10 and continues until the 14th.

Former World Bank Chief Economist and Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz writes in a recent article, "At their last meeting in Doha in November 2001, ministers recognized the inequities of the previous round of trade negotiations, the Uruguay round. This round was supposed to redress those imbalances."

He continues, "One would have thought that the developing countries would look forward to the meeting as a chance to achieve a fairer global trading system. Instead, many fear that what has happened in the past will happen again: secret negotiations, arm twisting, and the display of brute economic power by the United States and Europe aimed at ensuring that the interests of the rich are protected. While some progress has been made in making the negotiations more open and transparent, efforts to go further have met with resistance, and for good reason: unbalanced processes help ensure unbalanced outcomes in an unfair trade practice."

  • Excerpt from Democratic Debate September 4, 2003
    • Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
    • Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts
  • Joseph Stiglitz, the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics. He served as the Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank from 1997-2000. His is the author of the international bestseller Globalization and Its Discontents and is now a Professor of Economics and Finance at Columbia University in New York.
  • Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

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