World Trade Organisation

The WTO aims to liberalise international trade in goods and services, through removing tariffs, restricting or removing government regulation, and by increasing intellectual property rights. The WTO has attracted widespread criticism and protest for the neo-liberal free market policies that it promotes, along with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The neo-liberal model of development has encouraged the growth of free trade zones in developing countries, based on poor working conditions and low environmental standards, promoting a race to the bottom to attract investors.

The neo-liberal model of development has promoted global agribusiness at the expense of sustainable local agriculture, contributing to the global food crisis. This model has also promoted the deregulation of financial markets which led to massive market failure and the global financial crisis. The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) believes that the WTO should develop a fair multilateral trade system which enables governments to regulate in the public interest, gives real recognition to the needs of developing countries and is based on United Nations agreements on human rights, labour rights and the environment.