Vive Le Canada

‘Free trade’ agreements - Hypocrisy and Illusion
Date: Saturday, January 07 2006

‘Free trade’ agreements - Hypocrisy and Illusion
By Siv O'Neall
Jan 5, 2006, 05:46

The emptiness behind the slogan ‘free trade’ has been pointed out again and again by numerous NGOs, by Progressive Internet sites and by individual objectors to the obscene power of the transnational corporations. It needs however to be stressed constantly until the corporate empire falls and IN BOLDFACE CAPITALS, that the ‘free trade concept’ which the rich countries are holding forth as the savior of the world from poverty, increasing unemployment and horrendous inequality is just a legerdemain, an empty illusion. It is a way of duping all of us into believing that something positive is coming out of this huge scam.

In particular, the part of the world that is the target of the greed of the big corporations (represented by the World Trade Organization) is of course the poor countries in the South, especially Africa, which is being mercilessly screwed into becoming helpless buyers of overpriced products from the rich countries while they are being prevented, through crafty agreements, imposed by the World Bank, from continuing the production of what has been their main source of income and sustenance for hundreds of years. All for the profit of the already rich countries and corporations, and the people be damned.

Propaganda terms like ‘Free trade’, bringing ‘democracy’ to Iraq, ‘Pax Americana’ are all of the same ilk. They mean exactly the opposite of what they seem to mean.

The so-called Free Trade Agreements, such as NAFTA (North America), CAFTA, (Central America), and FTAA (the Americas, specifically South America) have very little to do with free trade. An ‘agreement to eliminate or reduce trade barriers’ may sound like a positive thing. But positive to whom? Who benefits? And are trade barriers actually reduced? What the WTO is doing in reality is raising customs duties on products from third world nations at the same time as they are hugely subsidizing their own industrial agricultural products in order to be able to ‘dump’ these products on the third world countries whom they have deprived of the capacity of feeding themselves. They achieve this by forcing new laws to be applied in those countries, laws that grant new rights to transnational companies at the expense of traditional farming. Privatization of services and national resources, most importantly water (Water Privatization: The World Bank's Latest Market Fantasy, By Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke), deprives numerous third world countries of their self-sufficiency and causes malnutrition and absurdly high death rates, particularly among infants, deaths that could have been largely avoided, had it not been for the obscene greed of the multinational corporations.

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