La Via Campesina calls for International Day of Struggle against WTO and Free Trade Agreements

September 4, 2019: International peasant’s Movement, La Via Campesina, has called for an International Day of Struggle against the WTO and Free Trade Agreements on September 10. The event marks the anniversary of the death of South Korean farmer and activist Lee Kyung Hae, who took his own life at the WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico in 2003.

La Via Campesina argues that 16 years after the Cancun Ministerial, the trade system continues to have devastating outcomes for peasants and developing countries who are today facing “rising rural unemployment, rising hunger, staggering levels of inequality that exists between countries and within countries, and rising per capita world debt.”

They point to the risks of regional trade agreements for peasant farmers including:

  • the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, including ASEAN nations, China, India, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, which could severely impact their livelihoods of small-scale farmers and could impose restrictive seeds laws, although latest reports suggest that provisions on seeds are off the table.
  • The EU – MERCOSUR deal between Europe and the economic and political bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela to threatens to undermine standards on health, the environment and animal welfare in the European Union and reinforce inequality in the MERCOSUR block.

La Via Campesina has also criticised the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions in trade agreements, which enable corporations to sue governments for policy divisions that impact on their profits.

The organisation continues its call for Food Sovereignty, not Free Trade!

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