Ding, Dong, the Round Is Dead
The World Trade Organization’s ministerial meeting in Seattle ended in failure on Friday night, with delegates unable to reach agreement on issues to be addressed in a new round of trade talks. Enviros and other activists who had protested on the Seattle streets against the WTO, pointing to free trade’s damaging effects on the environment, labor rights, and human rights, rejoiced at the collapse and took some credit for helping stall the forward push of globalization and corporatization. Enviros in particular were pleased to see the failure of proposals that could have boosted logging in many countries and led to greater trade in genetically modified foods. Still, some lamented the failure of efforts to introduce environmental and labor protections into trade dealings. The emergence of a new, vocal coalition of enviros and labor is expected to make it more difficult for Pres. Clinton to press ahead with his free trade agenda.