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World Trade Organization

Governments Must Break Big Pharma-WTO Stranglehold On Medicine

By acting on behalf of pharmaceutical interests and blocking WTO removal of intellectual property (IP) barriers to global vaccines, tests, and treatment access, the European Union, Switzerland and United Kingdom have betrayed the billions of people worldwide who still need access to lifesaving vaccines, medications, and diagnostics. In failing to deliver on a vaccine waiver for which it announced support and blocking the inclusion of treatments and tests, the United States has also turned its back on a planet desperate for the COVID pandemic to end. The failure to temporarily waive the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as demanded by the vast majority of the world’s countries and by public health experts and health workers, generic medicine manufacturers, human rights advocates, faith leaders, labor unions, community groups, scores of Nobel laureates and former heads of state, the World Health Organization Director-General and even the Pope spotlights just how broken and dangerously out-of-touch the WTO remains.

Peasants Agitate Against The 12th Ministerial Conference Of WTO

Geneva - On Saturday, 06/11, La Via Campesina began its mobilizations against the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization that is underway in Geneva this week. An international delegation of peasants – representing social movements, peasant and indigenous organizations and farm unions – from the rural territories of Kenya, Korea, Paraguay, USA, France, India, Indonesia, Canada, Thailand, Spain, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Mali and Gambia took to the streets of Geneva with a massive demonstration against the World Trade Organization (WTO). The message was loud and clear: FREE TRADE FUELS HUNGER, WTO OUT OF AGRICULTURE!

WTO Meeting Is An Opportunity To Challenge Corporate Control Of Food

Look no further than to the fruit and vegetable farmers in Europe and the United States who destroyed perfectly good produce because corporate food processors lacked the resiliency to adapt to changing consumption demands. The 2.5 million farmworkers in the U.S., at the same time, risked their lives for poverty-level wages without personal protective equipment. Meanwhile, just four corporations, globally, control 75 percent of the world’s grain trade and 60 percent of our seeds. In the U.S., four firms dominate 75 percent of the fertilizer supply and 85 percent of beef processing. Such concentration takes freedom from farmers, taking from them the ability to negotiate the prices of what they sell and the inputs, such as feed and seed, that they purchase.

Students Nationwide Urge Biden to Support Global COVID Vaccine

Washington, D.C. – As governments worldwide prepare to meet at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva for its first ministerial summit since the start of the pandemic, more than 750 students across the U.S. are calling on President Joe Biden to support a comprehensive waiver of WTO rules standing in the way of COVID vaccine, test and treatment access. “While COVID vaccines are readily available throughout the United States, that’s still not the case for billions of people worldwide,” said Noël Hutton, student outreach coordinator for the Trade Justice Education Fund. “The U.S. has a major role to play in removing barriers to vaccine and treatment access.

A New Vision That Puts Health Over Profit And Drives Innovation

There is a struggle right now to push the World Trade Organization to waive patent protections for medicines, vaccines and technology used for the COVID-19 pandemic. James Love of Knowledge Ecology International explains why that would be an important but not sufficient step to increase access to medicines and vaccines. There are steps governments could take right now to share critical information and expertise to lessen the disparities between rich and poor nations in access to vaccines. Love goes on to explain how there could be greater openness in sharing information in general and how pharmaceutical research and production could be done in ways that improve innovation and make access more equitable. He points the way to where activists can best focus their energy on this issue.

Venezuela Sues The US At The WTO

Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza on Friday informed that his country sued the U.S. before the World Trade Organization (WTO) for imposing unilateral coercive measures contrary to international norms and principles. "Sooner rather than later, Venezuela will defeat through law what the U.S. intends to impose through force," he said, recalling that the U.S. blockade seeks to destabilize President Nicolas Maduro's administration. In an attempt to avoid criticism from a multilateral institution, the United States prevented Venezuela from requesting the formation of a WTO panel whose objective would...

End Vaccine Apartheid

The latest in a series of proposals brought by India and South Africa to the World Trade Organization (WTO), backed by over 100 countries, to temporarily suspend COVID-19 vaccine patents was blocked by western powers, namely the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union. The patents that give monopoly rights over the manufacture and sale of drugs like the COVID-19 vaccines are protected globally by The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), signed in 1994 by the WTO.

Progressives Pressure Biden Over COVID19 Vaccine Patent Waiver

Progressives are increasing pressure on President Biden to support a waiver for COVID-19 vaccine patent protections at the World Trade Organization (WTO), arguing the move is crucial for helping lower-income countries fight the coronavirus. The push features leading Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups calling on Biden to take action, but the White House has not made clear its position. “The Biden administration has an obligation to reverse the damage done by the Trump administration and reestablish our nation’s global reputation as a public health leader,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), head of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

US Tariffs On China Ruled To Be Illegal

Geneva — The World Trade Organization said Tuesday that Trump administration tariffs on Chinese goods totaling more than $200 billion are illegal under the rules of the global trade body. The decision marks the first time the Geneva-based trade body has ruled against a series of tariffs that President Donald Trump's government has imposed on a number of countries, allies and rivals alike. Trump has repeatedly criticized the WTO, which oversees international disputes on trade, for allegedly treating the U.S. unfairly.

WTO Ruling Against India’s Solar Push Threatens Clean Energy

By Nadia Prupis in Common Dreams - The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday ruled against India over its national solar energy program in a case brought by the U.S. government, sparking outrage from labor and environmental advocates. As power demands grow in India, the country's government put forth a plan to create 100,000 megawatts of energy from solar cells and modules, and included incentives to domestic manufacturers to use locally-developed equipment. According to Indian news outlets, the WTO ruled that India had discriminated against American manufacturers by providing such incentives, which violates global trade rules, and struck down those policies—siding with the U.S. government in a case that the Sierra Club said demonstrates the environmentally and economically destructive power of pro-corporate deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
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