Ministers from 159 countries have signed up to the World Trade Organisation’s first global trade deal. It followed 12 years of negotiations.
The deal will add £600 billion to the world economy—if you believe the hype.
David Cameron said it will be a “lifeline” for poor people—and, more importantly, an extra
£600 million for the profits of British business. US president Barack Obama ominously promised it would help “robust enforcement of America’s trade rights.”
Previous rounds of trade “liberalisation” have made hunger and poverty worse.
This put pressure on some governments, particularly India, to hold out against elements of the deal.
The deal focuses on slashing “red tape” in poor countries to make it easier and cheaper for companies in rich countries to do business there.
But it didn’t go anywhere near as far as some of its champions had hoped it would.
Business leaders and Western politicians would have liked to sweep away import and export controls, and subsidies on growing food from poorer countries.
This would have put their profits above the jobs, services, environment and even access to food of billions of people.
They only want to protect their profits. Ending poverty is the last thing on their agenda.