Submerged within the mind-numbing verbiage of the World Trade Organization treaties and their interpretations are a handful of principles that subordinate all other values容nvironmental sustainability, consumer and worker safety, public health, freedom of labor and human rights葉o maximizing trade. The provisions and interpretations articulating these principles impede nations from enforcing their own laws to protect the public good. They imperil rights and protections won by citizens over the last century and undermine national and local democracy and transparency.
Most of these strictures are not intrinsic to international trade. Rather, they have resulted from the veiled efforts of the most powerful nations and corporations, who use WTO rules and rulings as crowbars to wrench open markets and batter down laws defending the quality of human life and the environment.
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