The Acts of the Democracies




World Trade Organisation

Public pressure forces the World Trade Organisation to make a declaration clarifying rules on when and how poor countries facing public health crises can override patents for expensive Western drugs. Ellen 't Hoen of the humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres states that "countries can ensure access to medicines without fear of being dragged into a legal battle".

The World Trade Organisation also fails in its attempt to set up the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). This would have allowed corporations to force countries to repeal any laws that impeded free trade. Countries would have no equivalent right to challenge corporations.

Under these changes Colombia would have to repeal laws against toxic and radioactive waste, Brunei, Pakistan and Brazil would have to repeal laws against foreign ownership of agricultural lands, Venezuela would have to repeal laws protecting its publishing industry, the UK would have to repeal labour safety laws and France would have to repeal laws protecting its film industry.

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