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Women's Caucus Declaration

Third (Seattle) Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation
Seattle, Washington, USA,   November 30 - December 3, 1999

The Women's Caucus is comprised of women's organisations from the South and North attending the Third Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Seattle, Washington, USA. We are concerned that the rule-based system created by the WTO has produced increasing levels of inequality in both the North and South. This system privileges corporate interests over community and national interests. Trade liberalisation is not gender-neutral and has a different impact on women and men, similar to the different impact it has on developed and developing countries.

While some women may gain from opening up of trade, the majority of the world's women and girls are adversely affected by the unequal power relations created at the national, regional and international levels by the new trade regime. We firmly believe that the trade policies should ensure gender equality and equity and people centered sustainable development.

We believe that the WTO undermines major international agreements that women have worked hard to get their governments to commit to including the UN Conference on Environment and Development, the World Conference on Human Rights, the World Summit for Social Development, the Fourth World Conference on Women and Habitat II.

We further believe that all WTO agreements and policies should be bound by international human rights standards including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The Women's Caucus urges the Members of the WTO to consider the following concerns clustered around the following critical areas of discussion at the Seattle meeting:

Systemic and Implementation Issues


General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS)

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