Statement by Tom B.K. Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network On the Outcome of the World Trade Organization 9th Ministerial Conference that ended Saturday, December 07, 2013
Turtle Island, December 09, 2013 - Even though the WTO and its 159 member countries resurrected itself in its first multilateral trade pact in the WTO’s history, I feel it was a desperate fight by rich developed countries such as the United States to revive an economic and trading system that is all about capitalism.
The WTO is all about free trade for the corporations that are destroying our Mother Earth.
The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) historically participated in WTO conferences, mostly in outside strategies rather than inside strategies. IEN took part in the “Battle in Seattle” at the 3rd Ministerial conference in Seattle, Washington in December 1999 and in Cancun, in the 5th Ministerial conference in September 2003.
At the Seattle WTO 14 years ago, IEN and Indigenous groups came together, (to name a few), such as the Seventh Generation Fund, Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism, Eyak Alaska Preservation Council, Interior Alliance of First Nations in Canada and internationally, Tebtebba of the Philippines and Movimiento de la Juventad Kuna of Panama to analyze and articulate our position on the WTO. The Indigenous Peoples’ Seattle Declaration was the outcome document of 1999. The Indigenous Statement from the WTO 5th Ministerial Conference in Cancún, Mexico, in September 2003 was not any different in its listing of all the negative effects of the WTO neoliberal trade agreements on Indigenous peoples.