Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Interesting study here about something I campaigned on for a long time - the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services at the WTO). It is a terrible agreement which aims to "lock in" all countries to eternally neoliberal trade agendas, regardless of whether this is good for any particular country, or what the democratically-elected government of the day thinks.

Anyway, one of the biggest lobby groups for the GATS was the global water multinationals (a group dominated by European firms). It seems like they have suffered a setback, as the water sector has been excluded from the EU's most recent push to force other countries to promise trade liberalization via the GATS. Basically, this is because there have been so many disaster stories in recent years with western multinationals involved in privatization in developing countries: Manila, Jakarta, Cochabamba, Nelspruit (closer to home), etc. In addition, there has been massive opposition from civil society in Europe itself. As Adam Smith warned, don't let businessmen create a monopoly!! GATS is all about clearing the table for them to do just that!

"Water almost out of GATS" tells the story.

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