Obama Administration Considers Cutting Lobbyists from Trade Policy Panels
Lori Wallach at the G20 and on Democracy Now!

New Report: G-20 Must Commit to WTO Reform to Build Financial Stability

This week, President Obama is meeting with other leaders for the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, a city ravaged by trade-related job loss.

Global justice advocates are also meeting up there to "push for more vigorous regulation of financial and credit markets, more stringent environmental standards and stronger commitments to human rights and the rights of workers to organize," according to the Steelworkers (whose home base is the 'Burgh). And John Sellers of the Ruckus Society told the New York Times that "crowds of demonstrators on Thursday and Friday would be significantly larger than the nearly nonexistent crowds that showed up for the last G-20 meeting in the United States, in Washington last November."

To help kick off the welcome party, we've released a new report that looks at the WTO's financial deregulation requirements. In particular, we examine a WTO provision on financial stability measures, and find that - contrary to the claim of some of the WTO's defenders - it doesn't offer a safe harbor for prudential tools.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the report makes a series of policy recommendations to fix this conflict. Some of them are surprisingly simple, and could be accomplished with a healthy dose of political will. Oh, and a bit more grounding in reality than the last two G-20 summits, which have called for reregulation on the one hand, and WTO-led deregulation on the other.

The public is echoing this call for financial and WTO reform. As we reported last week,

Over 50 organizations representing over eight million Americans released a letter today that they sent to President Obama urging him to "advocate a global regulatory floor, and oppose any efforts to impose a ceiling" on re-regulation in the upcoming G-20 Summit.

And the AFL-CIO has adopted a resolution, which says,

We should not adopt or negotiate new trade agreements until we review the record of existing trade agreements and build a comprehensive new trade policy that will support the creation of good jobs at home. The TRADE Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Michaud with more than 100 co-sponsors in the House, and soon to be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Sherrod Brown, lays out such a review and reform. Reform must apply both to bilateral agreements and to new talks at the World Trade Organization. We should use the strategic pause to review the performance of past trade agreements and recommend renegotiation where needed... WTO rules must accommodate trade-related measures to coordinate responses to global environmental challenges."

Now, you too can make your voice heard, in this petition to President Obama. Here's the pitch from my colleague Bill Holland:

Petition to President Obama: Turn Around the WTO!

World leaders at this week's G20 Summit will issue plans for reregulating the financial industry to help solve the economic crisis. Yet, bizarrely those same leaders will push for completion of the current WTO negotiations - called the Doha Round - which at its core calls for further financial services deregulation and pressures governments to limit their regulation of banks.

We need to stop this.

President Obama needs to hear from you that he must lead the renegotiation of existing WTO rules – like he said he would on the campaign trail. And, he must pull the plug on the lunatic idea of the WTO Doha Round requiring further financial service deregulation - which would only exacerbate the economic crisis. Sign our petition to the president telling him to turn around the WTO.

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