Monday, 20 December 2010

The significance of non-state actors in trade negotiations

It is argued that 3rd world debt is rooted in trade. According to the World Development movement, “if industrialised countries had not stacked the terms of trade so heavily in their favour, Southern countries would not have fallen so deeply into debt.” Many commentators believe it is a great injustice that instead of correcting the imbalance in world trade, northern governments have added more problems to the dilemma. For instance, in the past, northern countries have encouraged poor countries to export raw material to the west, ensuing in their further integration into debt. This was initially seen by many economists to be the best way for all the developing countries to produce wealth for the reason that commodities make up a large section of their income. However in practise this in fact had the opposite effect of the theory. Its major disadvantages included, poor countries having to rely on one or two basic exporting products since they were rarely allowed a range of difference thus resulting in dangerous economic affects if their major commodities were traded at low prices. This particular theory was dependant on consistent supply and demand and failed to take into account the inevitable drop in commodity prices hence making it a short term solution. Furthermore, raw materials do not produce as much wealth as manufactured goods.

NGOs now play a very important role in influencing trade negotiations and the World Development Movement (WDM) is an NGO that has campaigned on trade issues since 1995. In 2004 they stopped the UK and EU passing an agreement in the WTO which would have meant developing countries being forced to allow private countries taking over vital services such as water and banking. Ethical trading is also another significant focus of many NGO's and trying to make sure that companies adhere to internationally agreed labour standards. Another one of their past campaigns saw WDM campaign for the rights of Costa Rican workers on a banana plantation. The workers were “victimised” for joining free trade unions and after WDM supporters sent thousands of letters and organised events such as dumping a tonne of banana skins in front of the Del Monte office in the UK, Del Monte were put under enough pressure to sign a historic agreement allowing an independent trade union to freely organise on the plantation. These campaigns are examples of just how important the role of NGOs have become in international policy making and policy implementation.


1 comment:

  1. In this blog is correctly stated that NGOs play important role in international policy making and trade negotiation.
    Furthermore, there is a good example of role NGO - World Development Movement - in influencing trade negotiation in banana business in Costa Rica. he picture is well chosen and it suits into this blog.

    However, there is too much critics of Northern states for debts of Southern countries, although there is correct statement that orientation of developing countries to export one or two export commodities (such as banana) is one of barriers of their economical development.

    Moreover, in this blog should be more described role of NGOs in diplomacy and international trade.