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The Chilean Alliance for a Fair and Responsible Trade
Alianza Chilena Por Un Comercio Justo y Resonsable

WTO: Civil society will not accept more commercial liberalization

In the "millennium round" of the WTO there will be intent to deepen the liberalization of the international trade, through the incorporation of new agreements of deregulation of areas such as agriculture, services and investments.

In response to this, we repeat our disagreement with this process, that has not been preceded by a serious and responsible evaluation of what the international deregulation and liberalization has meant so far for our economies and peoples.

Even the World Bank signals a great worry for the increased poverty, and the United Nations signals a deepened gap between the rich and the poor. At the same time, the new round in Seattle, ignores the urgent necessity to evaluate and revise its politics.

Liberalizing the service sector would in Chile mean a deepening of the economic concentration to a few large transnational companies. A clear example of this during this year in a period of serious drought, is the Spanish Endesa energy company that bypassed existing antitrust legislation and has taken control of the generation, distribution and sales of electricity. While acquiring almost total control of the market, it has also fired several hundred employees.

We also refuse a greater level of liberalization in the agricultural sector. In Chile, the change to growing crops for exports as well as planting fast-growing trees has been to the benefit of large multinational companies. It has harmed the traditional agriculture and threatens the country's food security. The import tax reform, agreed to by Chile in the Uruguay round, threatens sugar and wheat production, as well as keeping the state support for the milk industry.

Chile needs a treaty fit for the two sides of the modernization of agriculture. The high level of use of pesticides and herbicides and the introduction of transgenetic crops need adequate regulation, which respects the life and health of season workers, especially women, and the consumers.

The Asiatic crisis and the deregulated opening of our market has produced a level of unemployment which in Chile almost reaches 15 percent of the active population, which is more than a doubling of the 1998 figure.

The Chilean Alliance for a Fair and Responsible Trade demands the following:

At an international level:

At a national level:

The Chilean Alliance for a Fair and Responsible Trade, November 1999.

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