Swift death to those caught by the net

We all know speed kills, in whatever form you use it, and the speed of the Internet has its own risks. The super speed of the net is credited with bringing down the Multilateral Agreement on Investment – that recent attempt by transnational business and global technocrats to proclaim their right to operate above any national law.

The MAI was leaked to the net and, within 24 hours, an international cry of outrage pummelled the Organisation for Economic Cooper-ation and Development into abandoning its campaign to allow unfettered expansion of multinationals.

Well, in this greedy-growth era, you can’t keep a good greed down.

Word is out again on the – you guessed it – net identifying a cloned MAI coming out from the Trans-atlantic Economic Partnership, and the Millennium Round of the World Trade Organisation – two pushes to rush through agreements benefiting American and British-based multinationals.

According to Christian De Brie, Le Monde Diplomatique (May 1999) as spotted by a Canadian university world-watcher who dumped it on the net, the TEP, on the pretext of removing technical barriers to trade between the USA and the European Union, aims to reach a general commitment to unconditional access to the market in all sectors and for all methods of supply of products and services, including health, education and public contracts.

Apparently, says de Brie, the TEP, on behalf of the European Commis-sion, is fronting for a powerful lobby group of the multinationals formed four years ago – the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD).

In this alphabet soup world of global lobbying, the EC, probably in response to the netlash the MAI received first time round, is hotfooting the establishment of three more discussion groups: the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, the Trans-atlantic Labour Dialogue, and the Transatlantic Environment Dialogue, to assuage consumers, trade unions and ecologists respectively.

The forums will adhere to ground rules set by the TABD. Hmmm.

Talks will take place behind closed doors and must work to a December 1999 wrap-up date. The business led outcomes are to be mutual recognition agreements (MRA) that seek to reduce all standards and regulations controlling industrial goods, services, public contracts, intellectual property, etc to a lowest common denominator.

Any existing laws in Europe contravening the MRA will have to be abolished. American states are somehow exempt.

The plot thickens.

Documents signed between the US and the EU on 18 May indicate, according to de Brie, that the aim is to rule the Transatlantic today and the world tomorrow.

It appears the 131 members of the WTO at their Millennium Round, in Seattle in December, will be suddenly presented with new agenda items revising the 1994 Marrakesh accords on agriculture, services and industrial property.

Remember our shock-horrors about the US terminator seeds monopoly?

Agreement at the Millennium Round gives such greedy-growth corporations total freedom.

More information is available from Globalisation Watch, Paris – an URL should happen soon.

May the speed of the net mercy kill again.

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