The meeting is at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center

Other ministerial meetings

Top 10 Reasons to Oppose the World Trade Organization?
Criticism, yes … misinformation, no!

More incorrect facts about the WTO found on websites: 

2. ‘The WTO is a stacked court’

The accusation

The WTO's dispute panels, which rule on whether domestic laws are ‘barriers to trade’ [1] and should therefore be abolished, consist of three trade bureaucrats who are not screened for conflict of interests [2]. For example, in the tuna/dolphin case that Mexico filed against the US, which forced the US to repeal its law [3] that barred tuna from being caught by mile-long nets that kill hundreds of thousands of dolphins each year, one of the judges was from a corporate front group that lobbied on behalf of the Mexican government for NAFTA.


The reality

The WTO's dispute settlement procedures were agreed by all member governments. They were not imposed on anyone.

1. Dispute panels rule on whether countries break agreements they have made with each other in the WTO — not on “whether domestic laws are barriers to trade”. Without these independent panels, countries could be tempted to settle trade conflict by force.

2. All three panelists are normally agreed by both sides in a dispute. In the minority of cases (15 out of almost 200 cases) when the two sides cannot agree, the WTO director-general selects the panelists.

3. The US was not required to repeal its law. Instead, Washington negotiated treaties with relevant trading partners.

[The tuna/dolphin case came under pre-1995 GATT procedures, not the post-1995 WTO dispute settlement process. The panel report was never adopted. The US and Mexico settled bilaterally “out of court”].


The accusations

1. The WTO only serves the interests of multinational corporations
2. The WTO is a stacked court
The WTO tramples over labor and human rights
The WTO is destroying the environment
The WTO is killing people
The US adoption of the WTO was undemocratic
The WTO undermines local development and penalizes poor countries
The WTO is increasing inequality
The WTO undermines national sovereignty
The tide is turning against free trade and the WTO!

Find out more

In the booklet, Seattle: What’s at stake?
Concerns … and responses (1)
Concerns … and responses (2)

On the main WTO website
10 Common Misunderstandings about the WTO


300pxls.gif (88 bytes)