World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the most powerful legislative and judicial body in the world. By promoting the free trade agenda of multinational corporations above the interests of local communities, working families, and the environment, the WTO has systematically undermined democracy around the world.

Unlike United Nations treaties, the International Labor Organization conventions, or multilateral environmental agreements, WTO rules can be enforced through sanctions. This gives the WTO more power than any other international body. The WTO's authority even eclipses national governments.
In November 1999, 50,000 people went to Seattle to challenge this corporate agenda and to demand a more democratic, socially just and environmentally sustainable global economy. The protests succeeded in shutting down the trade talks and derailing the expansion of the WTO. Global Exchange stood with those outside the halls and rooms where lobbyists and government delegates negotiated, loudly declaring our opposition to the WTO because:
  • WTO rules are written by and for corporations, putting profits above people and the planet.
  • WTO rules trample labor and human rights.
  • WTO rules render environmental protections illegal.
  • WTO rules stand between dying people and the medicine that will save their lives. 
Since the Battle in Seattle, the WTO has continued to meet in various inaccessible and remote locations around the world to forage onwards. 



Read the major updates on the WTO and the movement to stop its expansion:

Free Trade impacts on:

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