The Acts of the Democracies
Up to this time the West (the richer countries) had forced low wages and high pollution onto Third World countries (the poorer countries) which had weak or bought-off governments.
The real agenda of the WTO is to weaken all governments and agencies that might defend workers, consumers, or the environment, not only in the Third World, but everywhere; to remove any efforts to limit trade due to its labour implications, ecology implications, social or cultural implications, or development implications, leaving as the only criteria whether there are immediate, short term profits to be made.
If regional, national or local laws impede trade (e.g. an environmental, health law, or a labour law) the WTO adjudicates, and its verdict is binding.
The net effect is that the WTO over-rules governments and populations on behalf of corporate profits.
Another WTO agenda is the privatisation of education, health, social security (welfare), council (public or social) housing, and transport. This will eventually lead to the long tradition of European welfare states based on solidarity through community risk-pooling and publicly accountable services being slowly dismantled.
The USA trade delegation states:
"The United States is of the view that commercial opportunities exist along the entire spectrum of health and social care facilities, including hospitals, outpatient facilities, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living arrangements, and services provided in the home."
Five of the richest countries have the most votes in the WTO: USA, UK, France, Germany, and Japan.
WTO delegates are drawn from trade ministries and confer regularly with corporate lobbyists and advisors. As a result, the WTO has become, as an anonymous delegate told the UK newspaper, the Financial Times: "a place where governments can collude against their citizens." Large multinational companies use governments to bring cases before the WTO. This way they can win battles they have lost in the domestic political arena.
Cases are heard before a tribunal of trade lawyers, who, under WTO rules, are required to make their ruling with a presumption in favour of free trade. The WTO puts the burden on governments to justify any trade restrictions. There are no observers, and no public record of the deliberations, which are held behind closed doors.
The WTO has ruled against Europe for banning beef treated with hormones and against Japan for banning pesticide laden apples.