Free Trade Clashes With Human Rights

You can add human rights to the list of casualties of the global
economy, says a new report.

Planting the Rights Seed
, a new study published jointly
this week by the Minneapolis-based
Institute for Agriculture and Trade
and the Geneva-based group
3D details the institutional
measures that strip individuals in developing countries of basic
human rights like food security, while lining the pockets of
industry giants like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland.

It’s a familiar refrain in the fair-trade movement. But the
report delves deep into the structural inequities and offers
practical fixes to the
Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture
. The groups call
for a stronger definition and regulation of ‘dumping,’ the practice
whereby wealthy countries flood developing countries’ markets with
lower-priced subsidized goods. They want industrialized countries
to build non-trade concerns into agricultural negotiations. They
want stronger ‘Special and Differential Treatment’ mechanisms to
take special account of developing countries’ disadvantages in the
market. And they are calling for assessments on how countries are
actually doing on their subsidy-reduction plans.

It’s all valuable advice for addressing the trade liberalization
structures that impoverish small-scale farmers and chip away at
rights in developing countries. But lest we forget about
old-fashioned violent repression, Guatemala sent a reminder this

Two protesters were killed
after police and soldiers opened
fire on a demonstration against the Central American Free Trade
Agreement in Huehuetenango. In this case,
pictures may
speak louder than words

Go there >>
Institute for Agriculture and Trade

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