Civil society organizations gathered in the Our World is not for Sale Network (OWINFS), of which the Public Services International (PSI) is part, held a protest on Monday, December 11, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, denouncing the pro-corporation agenda of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Argentine capital is hosting, until December 13, the 11th Ministerial Conference of this organization.
“The main struggle of civil society organizations is to prevent the WTO from expanding its area of action on new issues, for example, electronic commerce. Each time this organization starts to deal with a new issue, it uses it to favor transnational companies”, says Jocelio Drummond, Regional Secretary of PSI Inter-America.
According to Drummond, the e-commerce is being used in the WTO for the benefit of the big technology companies known by the acronym GAFAA: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba.
“These companies propose the ‘free’ flow of data, which in reality means monopolizing the information of the entire population of the planet. The WTO wants to have the mandate to discuss e-commerce, and we fight so that this does not happen”.
“PSI acts both within the official meeting, lobbying for governments not to accept proposals that are harmful to citizens, as well as outside, debating with civil society and doing marches and protests,” says Drummond.
Argentine Government revokes accreditation of civil society
The 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO will deal with controversial issues. The main dispute arises around the demand of countries producing raw materials that richer nations open their markets to agricultural products.
However, organizations such as the Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples (REBRIP) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) were banished. Some of their representatives were almost even prevented from entering the country, but managed to do so after the intervention of the respective embassies.