Time for Nigeria to leave WTO

Because WTO is stifling our industrialization, we should leave it.

Conceived by John D. Rockefeller III in a 1973 book ”The Second American Revolution,” he called for a radical reduction of the power of governments around the world. Giving credence to him, Milton Friedman in a book in 1980, ”Free to Choose,” called for untrammeled free markets and free trade. And with the full support of the International Chambers of Commerce in Paris, soon their western nations had begun to work out the details of globalization as the newest weapon to plunder economies of developing countries. Created in the image of the Darwinian survival of the fittest world, since 1995 the World Trade Organization has become that weapon to shock and destroy weaker nations’ industrialization.

Confronted with stagnating domestic markets, declining absolute profits, and the need to evacuate redundant dollars overseas, the Rockefeller-led neoliberal globalists believed it’s time for global economic restructuring in a way that breaks down all barriers to international trade and investment flows. Explicitly calling for the retirement of the Keynesian social welfare state, they insisted on the use of labor as corporate shields. Also, in their call for the independence of central banks around the world, they couldn’t be more resolute in demanding for the further consolidation of the reserve currency power of the dollar with US financial establishment carrying the imperial flag.

In their endeavor that WTO should be used to drain the resources of the periphery toward the center, they made sure nothing should stand on the way of corporate monopoly. And for that to happen, these modern-day feudalists insisted on having a new international legal stand that favors vertical integration enough to create artificial barriers. For their monopolist jihads to take over weaker economies around the world, they also needed the absolute market controlling power patent protection could provide them. So, having been denied any form of oxygen to remain in business, millions of small and medium businesses have gone out of business in most developing countries.

Most severely affected were small farmers, who, given the fierce competition from giant agribusinesses, did not waste time in surrendering. In other words, taking full control of developing countries’ food and agriculture became the greatest weapon WTO handed to the west. ”Control food and you control the people…” Henry Kissinger insisted that besides being a tool for economic and political control, it should be an instrument of depopulating developing countries. For these very reasons, shaping the WTO rules on food and agriculture has been dominated from the onset by the QUAD countries (the US, Canada, Japan, and EU), who usually meet behind closed doors to decide policy for the rest of the member countries. When the QUAD countries are not controlling agricultural policy direction, giant agribusinesses are. That explains why the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) was written by Cargill, ADM, DuPont, Nestle, Unilever, and Monsanto, where they put in place a policy that destroy national laws and safeguards against the pricing power of western agribusiness giants.

As though not enough, agricultural chemical giants like Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow Chemical went as far as transforming themselves into a world agrochemical cartel (similar to the oil cartel under the Rockefeller Standard Oil group a century ago). To reap the immense benefits of maintaining monopoly cartel, they have become world’s controllers of patented genetically-modified seeds made possible by WTO’s enforcement of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). So, using TRIPS to maintain product superiority, while making sure that member countries were forced to remove tariffs, import quotas, export subsidies, and any form of domestic subsidies, the QUAD countries succeeded in having their cake and eating it. In the meantime, in the name of R&D, they have heavily subsidized farmers and agribusinesses, using the backdoor.

Thus, in the name of ‘leveling the playing field,’ the developed countries have created a new international trading system that is rigged in their favor — first favoring subsidy for R&D, and later demanding that the patents made possible by their disproportionate investment in R&D, be protected. That is why the ongoing debate that greater opening of agricultural markets in the QUAD countries is beneficial developing countries is a fallacy. The reason is obvious. Given that most developing countries have been turned into net importers of food and agricultural products, rather than opening the agricultural markets in the west benefiting them, it should be hurting them since they no longer import subsidized agricultural products from the west. In other words, by eliminating subsidies — as western nations insisted — they have successfully increased developing countries’ import bills.

The foreign investment US President Andrew Jackson in 1832 called worse than an occupying army and as a result refused to renew the Second Bank of USA has since been forced down the throats of developing countries of western countries thanks to the TRIMS (Trade-Related Investment Measures) agreement, which restricts the WTO member countries from regulating foreign investors. Given that most developing countries only receive, not give foreign investment, why should they decide for themselves whether or not they want foreign investment, and in what form? Not allowing the regulation of foreign investment has allowed western foreign investors to constantly destabilize economies of developing countries through manipulating and speculating on their capital markets as well as predatory investment in sensitive and strategic sectors of the economies.

If a level playing field is what WTO is all about, then, why imposing TRIPS and TRIMS? Shouldn’t the strengthening of the protection of patents and other intellectual property rights mean transferring the cost of R&D to developing nations? The same problem applies to the TRIMS, which restricts the all WTO member countries’ from regulating foreign investments, banning local content requirements, export requirements or foreign balancing requirements. Most important of all, is the insistence by WTO that no member nation should allow its national laws to either prohibit or differentiate genetically modified foods from natural foods especially through labeling, when we all know that genetically modified foods pose serious threats to human health, including potential organ and system toxicity. Mortgaging citizens’ lives in the name of trade is dangerous. If we’re warned that sodium fluoride in toothpastes is a poison (nuclear waste product) and so we should not swallow toothpastes (which reads, ”If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away”), why shouldn’t WTO rules mandate that warning be placed on genetically modified foods or plants since their health safety has not been ascertained?

After more than a decade of democracy, Nigerians are coming to the painful conclusion that rather than bring dividends, it is a ruinous economy we are all witnessing. The truth of the matter is that as we have seen so far, it is not that democracy is the cause of economic malaise, but rather it is our democratic leaders’ refusal to discontinue our membership or at least repeal some of the WTO agreements our military dictators dragged us into in 1995 when they naively singed our economic death warrant. No doubt, one could rightly understand that why the IMF hangman descended on us was because we’re tricked into a floating dollar debt, which Margaret Thatcher and Paul Volcker used to trap into an interest rate that grew by 20% year excluding compounding it; which we only got out with our economy ransacked and our oil wealth plundered for more than a decade.

But joining WTO, could we argue to be under duress? Even if our military naively joined

WTO, should we naively remain in WTO today, especially when we’ve seen the havoc it has caused our local economy since then? If we’re not, why can’t we leave what is more hurting than benefiting us? As a sovereign nation, aren’t we supposed to be pursuing our permanent national interests first and foremost? Are we not seeing that rather than leading us to industrialization, it is massive deindustrialization with unprecedented job losses that we’re having? For how long should we accept our country to remain such a dumping ground for foreign cheap and adulterated products while our own local businesses all go bankrupt?

If not out of business as WTO forced us to keep our borders wide open, where else would have our once booming textile factories, assembling plants, agro-processing, and furniture factories gone to? How can our leaders justify such a dysfunctional economy that shreds millions of jobs each year? Or what causes us to be exporting these millions jobs if not WTO membership? If Abraham Lincoln was right in 1863 when he warned fellow Americans, ”If we buy what is not made in America, we get the goods and lose the money and the jobs; but when we buy made in America, we get the goods, the money, as well as the jobs,” isn’t what is happening to our economy today is because we our leaders not giving us such a warning? If in their quest industrialize past western leaders like King Henry VII of Britain in 1489, Alexander Hamilton of US in 1791, Frederick List of Germany in 1841, and Emperor Meiji of Japan in 1868 insisted on a mix of nationalist industrial policies such as banning, subsidizing, distributing monopoly rights, sponsoring industrial espionage, and other covert interventions, why shouldn’t we follow their own footsteps?

Why have our today’s great nationalists gone into hidden? Should a brave patriot hide while his country is on quenchable fire? Why the fear? How many more businesses should go bankrupt and many millions should be stranded at the job market before our leaders say enough is enough with WTO? If it’s America’s Council on Foreign Relations or Britain’s Round Table that frightens them, why can’t they form a counter secret society that stops their plundering our economy? Because there’s something seriously wrong with the way we think and act, ”The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Rather than continuing electing western protégés, on our part as electorate, we should begin electing true nationalists, nationalists who have our country’s interests and our common prosperity at heart. That is where the inevitable change should begin; and where neutralizing the controlling power Washington and London have over our elected leaders and our unelected bureaucrats. Finally, it’d be wise for African nations to join hands together in coming up with an African-wide position against WTO.

Written by
Odilim Enwegbara
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1 comment
  • Leave WTO? It would be a suicide mission for a country that is tagging along among dominant EU countries. This is not a good advice.