SOCIAL CHARTER

A set of social rights that has been agreed upon between a group of countries that are removing trade and investment barriers between them. The goal of a Social Charter is to ensure that standards rise, rather than falling when countries with different levels of labour and environmental protections form a trade agreement. Social Clause

A legal clause which when inserted into the text of the regulations in a trade agreement, asserts that parties agree to respect basic worker rights and abide by minimum labour standards.

WTO

The WTO is a group of 134 countries that make trade rules and settle trade fights. Canada is a member of this global group. It serves mostly business leaders who only care about profits It sucks because when the WTO looks at our free health and education, it sees governments getting in the way of the almighty right of companies to make money, even off of sick people. It is the most powerful global group ever, and it meets in secret to make sure that rich corporations get what they want from governments. The WTO and related trade agreements are intended to be an economic constitution for the planet, yet they are written by and almost entirely for, the world's largest corporations In late 1999, protest spilled over the WTO at the Battle of Seattle, when 50,000 protestors virtually shut down the ministerial meetings and finally awakened media interest to the threat the WTO posed to the environment and citizens alike.

FREE TRADE

It is an agreement that is made between countries to open up their borders and allow companies to sell their goods across them. Through free trade the cards are stacked in favour of corporations and business's looking for cheap costs. Powerful companies blackmail cash strapped governments in developing countries into competing with each other by lowering standards and wages Then Canadian business leaders lobby the government to cut spending on health care and programs that keep workers afloat during times of unemployment in the name of making Canada more attractive and competitive Free trade has limited our access to decision makers. At the same time, free trade has increased the rights of corporations.

NAFTA

Makes Canada, Mexico and the United States one big open market Makes it easier for rich companies to make more money in North America, but no mention of rights for people who work for rich companies NAFTA has created the notorious Maquiladora zones in Northern Mexico Investors and their lawyers have taken NAFTA clauses and exploited them to fight for lost profits and lost business opportunities because of environmental or health measures

OAS

Organization of American States Club of governments from North and South America (minus Cuba), that was created in the 1940's. It's based in Washington, but holds General Assembly meetings in different countries every year. Pays lip service to human rights Remember the big Demonstration in Windsor last year, people were protesting the meeting of these guys.

MAI

Multilateral Agreement on Investment Would have been a charter of rights and freedoms for global corporations, placing the rights of rich companies above the rights of you and me, let alone our government. Would have kissed environmental protection, social programs and the kitchen sink goodbye Provoked protests all over the world temporarily put the breaks on it. Canada played a major role in secretly negotiating the MAI at the OECD-a deal designed to enshrine NAFTA rules on investment as a model for trade agreements with the rest of the world. In 1998 the MAI collapsed under the weight of public protest, and was rejected by France and Australia as a threat to democracy.

Maquiladora/ Free Trade Zones Cordoned off factories and farms protected by the Mexican military where labour and environmental standards do not exist. Mexican laborers slave in unsafe factories, often working with toxic substances for pitiful wages and long hours. Wages are often as little as $1.70/hour There will be an increase in the number of Free Trade Zones in the Western Hemisphere Globalization In a nutshell globalization can best be defined as: the rush to break down trade barriers, open up each nation's investment, services and resource sectors to the world's biggest companies, strip away impediments to the smooth operation of those companies and allow for the global flow of capital. It is about running the world like a business, keeping a sharp eye on the bottom line and trying to cut out fat in the form of, say subsidies to struggling farmers in Jamaica or free education for University students in Mexico.

Sustainable Economy Sustainable economies are those in which both producers and consumers carry their own costs, rather than dumping them on other people.

Structural Adjustment Implementation of a set of neo-liberal economic policies, including deregulation of trade and commerce and cutting back on the role of the state. Euphemism for the complete overhaul of a nation's economy by the global institutions, namely the world bank and IMF that lend money with powerful strings attached Based in Washington, financed by wealthy countries and by billions in interest payments from poor, developing nations Lenders bind borrowing nations to a list of free-market conditions that include cuts to public sector jobs and social spending, deregulation, privatization and measures to increase imports, usually at the expense of national industries.

Corporate Codes Voluntary measures taken by a corporation that are intended to symbolize that particular corporation's commitment to environmental, human and/or labour rights. Problem is that the corporations treat these codes as public relations measures rather than real commitments to change. Industry will pay lip service to codes but may not change its behaviour where profits are at issue Code enforcement mechanisms are more likely to be secretive and prone to conflict of interest problems than are government regulations Most codes lack the independent monitoring requirements viewed as essential by many code analysts. The majority of large Canadian businesses operating abroad do not have codes containing reference to even the most basic human rights standards. Companies appear to be reluctant to share their codes with the public, even when they report having codes containing human rights language.

GATT

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade WTO: World Trade Organization: replaced the GATT in 1995 as regulator of world trade The GATT had virtually no institutional framework and nothing about concerns such as fair labour practices.

GATS

General Agreement on Trade in Services one of the numerous deals promoted by the WTO, the goal is to open us as many public services as possible to corporate competition Applies to all measures of governments. Deals with the environment, culture, natural resources, health care, education and social services Even covers unwritten practices of the government Restricts actions of governments regarding protection of services through legally enforceable constraints backed up by trade sanctions Today, negotiations at the WTO are continuing under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). On the table are health care, education and water.

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