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World Trade Organization (WTO)
Tailored for Sharks
Press communique
by TNI , Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI)
31 December 2013

“Tailored for Sharks: How rules are tailored and public interest surrendered to suit corporate interests in the WTO, FTAs and BITs trade and investment regime”
Published by Transnational Institute and Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI)

Download the full report here:

The recently concluded 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has produced its first agreement since its establishment in 1995. Trade observers have been quick to call this a historic agreement but have failed to point out that the WTO’s Bali Package is highly imbalanced in favor of developed countries and Transnational Corporations (TNCs). At the center of the Bali Package is a legally binding agreement on Trade Facilitation that removes public interest customs and border procedures to put in place easier trade flows, clearly benefitting the TNCs that dominate the export-import market, but at exorbitant costs to developing countries. Data from the 2013 World Trade Report indicates how the largest TNCs dominate the global trade flows- 80% of US exports are handled by 1% of export corporations while 85% of EU exports are handled by 10% of export corporations. The asymmetry globally is even more striking - 81% of exports are concentrated among the top five exporting corporations in developing countries.

However, this is not the first WTO agreement to benefit TNCs. The 60+ agreements in place since the establishment of the WTO have rules that are tailored to fit the interests of TNCs. This new publication from Transnational Institute and Serikat Petani Indonesia details how the WTO rules provide more favorable treatment for the TNCs and how the all powerful WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) guarantees that ruling.

The DSM is the central pillar of the WTO and makes it, to date, the only multilateral trading agreement with the mandate and capacity to legally enforce its free trade rules and issue compliance rulings that can involve imposing trade sanctions on governments found to have not complied.

This report makes the case for why TNCs are the real beneficiaries of the current global trade rules and how the DSM has dismantled public policy and pushed complicit governments to surrender their sovereignty for the sake of corporate interests. As the newly appointed Brazilian Director General of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo said in a Brazilian TV interview last May “I believe TNCs love the WTO and they really want the WTO to be able to lower barriers to trade, because they won’t be able to do it alone. They really won’t! They need that these negotiations take place in the WTO, for example trade facilitation. What we are negotiating in Bali now is of great interest for TNCs. I know this also because in my former position as Brazilian Ambassador in Geneva I received visits from CEOs, from important people representing TNCs that want to facilitate trade.”

For more information, please contact: lydafernanda at


Transnational Institute

Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI)