Gathering of the WTO

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Gathering of the WTO December 1999, as the WTO (World Trade Organization) met in Seattle, Washington, the public cried out against their "bias policies." The first American gathering of the WTO sparked strong Anti-globalization sentiments among several groups, causing a public uproar. Swarms of protestors filled the streets, their angry voices filling the air with rants such as "Hey, hey, ho, ho, GMOs have got to go!" A small-scale war broke out between the local authorities and protestors as they rallied in the streets, some peaceful, others wreaking havoc. The battle seemed to focus on big business and the economics of trade. So how does the scientific development of GMOs, genetically modified organisms, come into this largely commercial picture? The connection between this issue and the WTO lays in the purpose of the WTO itself and the issues surrounding it. The Geneva based World Trade Organization was created in 1995. It is a global alliance of 135 governments that regulate international trade in an ever-expanding global economy. It aims to ease trade between its members, making sure trade disputes are resolved efficiently. The body supports free trade and attempts to eradicate tariff barriers while making certain that its members all enjoy the same trading rights. In order to ensure this, it establishes binding trading rules between countries and reduces subsidies in order to make trade more competitive. The WTO is both lawmaker and enforcer, making sure that trade between its members flows smoothly. One example of this is the recent overruling of the European ban on U.S. hormone-treated beef. Such regulation though has brought about protests from Environmentalists and Labor Unions. Environmental issues have been br... ... middle of paper ... ...trol policies concerning their own health; along with the possibility that regulations which took years to gain nationwide approval may be superseded in an instant by an entity that they cannot democratically control. This fear can be seen in the sentiment of the protests in Seattle, marked in their faces, their beliefs and their words: "Hey, hey, ho, ho, GMOs have got to go!" References Golden, Frederic. "Who's Afraid of Frakenfood?" Time 29 Nov 1999 Hornblower, Margot. "The Battle in Seattle." Time 29 Nov 1999 Lacayo, Richard. "Rage Against The Machine." Time 13 Dec 1999 Web Resources Karon, Tony. "A WTO Primer." 1 Dec 1999: http://www.pathfinder.com/time/daily/special/look/0,2633,35294,00.html Karon, Tony. "The Battle in Seattle: A Challenge to Politics As Usual." 3 Dec 1999: http://www.pathfinder.com/time/daily/special/look/0,2633,35449,00.html

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