Protect National Interests in Bali, WTO Conference

Press Release issued by Working Committee held on 17, 18 August 2013

Protect National Interests in Bali, WTO Conference

From the experience in the last 18 years after the constitution of WTO, it is clear that it is a disastrous system for the world at large. Problems of the people of both developing & developed countries have become even more acute. Swadeshi Jagran Manch earnestly believes that the birth of WTO was the part of the globalization designs to benefit multinational corporations. Under this wider conspiracy hatched by MNCs & implemented by the government of developed countries, the path was laid to benefit these MNCs by bringing about changes in the economic policy of developing countries including India.

India today is facing the ill effects of these policies. The exchange rate of rupee with respect to dollar, which was Rs. 16 in 1991, has reached Rs. 65 per dollar today. Common man is suffering from acute poverty, unemployment & inflation. Government is trying to hide poverty & unemployment by fudging of data. Farmers are being compelled to commit suicide due to rising agriculture costs and un-remunerative price of agriculture produce. Foreign companies are making huge transfers to their respective countries after making hefty profits. India is facing dangerous current account deficit (CAD) due to rising imports, illegal transfers abroad and tendency of MNCs to transfer huge sums abroad in the name of dividends, royalties, interest, profits, salaries etc. and we are also falling neck deep into foreign debt trap. It is notable that India’s foreign debt has increased from 224 billion dollars to 400 billion dollars between 2009 and 2013.

In this shadow 9th WTO Ministerial Conference is scheduled in Bali (Indonesia) between December 3 & 6, 2013. We must note that after 4th WTO Ministerial Conference at Doha (Qatar), a new round of negotiations in the name of ‘Doha Development Round’ was expected to start. However, the process of negotiations in WTO has almost stopped during the last 4 Ministerial Conferences of WTO due to adamant & unjust stand of developed countries, as they are refusing to do away with agricultural subsidies. Developed countries including USA and Europe pay mammoth subsidies to their farmers by virtue of their economic muscles, as a result which, their agriculture & dairy produce become cheaper and Indian agriculture and dairy produce can’t stand in competition with them. At the time of the constitution of WTO these developed countries promised to do away with agricultural subsidies in the interest of free trade. However they are going back on their promise. Developing countries including India have been insisting on this demand that developed countries must withdraw agricultural subsidies before starting any new negotiations. This is of primary importance for saving agriculture in the country.

In the last few months, under the influence of USA, government of India has shown dilution in its earlier stand. This would be disastrous for not only agriculture and dairy sector, industry and service sector will also be badly affected due to dilution of government’s stand. The government has also made up its minds to reduce import tariffs on industrial products, and give commitment even beyond the commitment of developed countries.

Multinational corporations baffled by the developments like issue of compulsory licences by the Indian patent office and denying of patent to Navartis for its drug ‘Glivec’ are now making efforts through their respective governments to effect changes in Indian patent law in their favour. People need to be extra vigilant for the same, as the government may fall prey to this ploy. We also need to exert pressure on the developed countries that they allow unrestricted flow of unskilled labour across the countries.

Swadeshi Jagran Manch firmly believes that a government, which is at the verge of completing its term, does not have any moral right to make any international agreement or make any commitment at any international forum. Therefore government should resist from making any agreement or commitment, which may create problems for the next government.

Working committee of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch warns the government that nation’s interest should not be compromised in WTO and no discussion be allowed on any new issue, whatsoever, unless developed countries do not withdraw their agricultural subsidies.