1. The WTO only serves the interests of multinational corporations
The WTO is as democratic as its member governments; and between the members it is
ultra-democratic because decisions are taken by consensus all members have to be
The rules are written by member governments, no one else has access to the negotiations.
which are elected democratically by their citizens, do take into account the views of
various groups in their societies. How they do that is up to them and their citizens.
Governments regularly cite pressure from consumer, environmental, human rights and labour
organizations, as well as business. The structure of negotiations also helps governments
strike a more equitable balance between various interest groups over a broad range of
Before they take
effect, WTO rules and agreements are approved by all national parliaments.
immense amount of information is available to the public.
The WTO website
currently contains over 60,000 official documents available for the public in the three
official languages (English, French and Spanish). The vast majority of official documents
are published immediately. Few remain restricted, and even then for a maximum of about six
Some 200,000 visitors
per month make use of the website. They download the equivalent of 80 million pages each
month and browse other material explaining WTO affairs.
receives thousands of email and telephone enquiries per week around 150 per week
coming through the main firstname.lastname@example.org mailbox. It replies to them
Press officers brief
journalists almost daily to keep them informed of any developments in the discussions
NGOs are also
routinely briefed. The WTO Secretariat organizes symposiums, seminars and other special
events for NGOs. In 1999, the topics discussed included: the environment, development,
investment, competition policy, and information technology.
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