WTO’s Midnight Deal is its last-ditch attempt to salvage itself, says IPA

The Indonesian People’s Alliance (IPA) condemns in the strongest
possible terms the World Trade Organization (WTO) for railroading the
Bali Package as a midnight deal in a desperate attempt to stage a
symbolic victory in getting a multilateral agreement and as a
face-saving scheme by the Indonesian government.

“After 12 years of impassè, the WTO makes a midnight deal as a
last-ditch effort to renew its legitimacy. But this Bali deal is an
omen of a more aggressive neoliberal offensive,” says Ario Adityo,
national coordinator of the IPA. The Bali agreement, according to
Adityo, sets the stage for a new expansion of the neoliberal agenda
that is geared towards further liberalization of trade and
agriculture, and privatization of services and technology.

The IPA, that just concluded a week-long People’s Global Camp and a
march to the US Consulate in Bali, in its declaration called for the
overhaul of the global trade regime symbolized by the WTO.

“The Bali midnight deal sells out the right to food of millions of
people throughout the world who suffer hunger and malnutrition. How
can human rights be negotiated or recognized only on an interim
basis?” asked Dewi Amelia Putri, coordinator of Seruni.

“The LDC package offers nothing but pious promises of assistance to
poor countries. In the meantime, the longstanding trade and investment
rules that favor rich countries and prevent poor countries from
achieving genuine development are still intact”, Dewi continued.

This will be made worse by the new agreement on trade facilitation
which impose binding obligation on third world countries to further
ease the entry of goods and services from the rich countries.

Amidst all these, according to IPA, civil society organizations and
lobbyists inside the WTO expressed support to the G33 proposal, which
is nothing but a pitiful trade-off.

Adityo said that, “Such maneuvering only reaffirms our long-standing
position against this illegitimate imperialist institution and the
call to junk the WTO.”

Meanwhile, the IPA said that the Susilo Bangbang Yudhoyono
administration, in an attempt to profile Indonesia as an emerging
global powerhouse, would like to secure this deal to save face as the
host government.

“The hypocrisy of this government to push the neoliberal agenda for
development in the face of the impoverishment and grave inequality
among is appalling and should be opposed,” concluded Adityo.

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