1. The Uruguay Round was the only one of the seven negotiation Rounds in the history of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) signed in 1947, which instead of promoting changes to international trade and the general prosperity of the signatory countries, was followed by a social and economic crisis without precedent for the developing countries. At the end of the Uruguay Round, an ominous study by the World Bank found that 64% of the effects of the Round benefited the developed countries [1], despite the massive propaganda effort that was made giving priority by the developed countries to hide this from the developing countries [2].

2. In fact, in the almost five years following the founding of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995, world prosperity remained more than ever in the hands of the developed countries, particularly the United States of America (U.S.A.) and the European Union (EU). Over more than fifty years of the rhetoric of free trade from GATT and the WTO, the world agricultural industry, which is the industry upon which the developing countries traditionally rely, remained very distorted by the enormous amount of subsidies employed by the EU, the U.S.A. and Japan.

3. As a result, over the past five years the wealth of the developed countries increased, along with their degree of participation in world trade; world financial instability and an international economic crisis began; increasing the poverty and desperation of the developing countries. According to data from the WTO both Latin America and Asia have had worse results in the trade of goods in the four years following 1995 than over the same previous period [3]. The prices of agricultural goods, the exportation of which depends mainly on developing countries, have fallen by almost 30% since 1998 according to data from the WTO and by almost 16% in 1999 [4]. In fact, according to data from the WTO, agricultural products account for 19% of African countries exports and for 36% of Latin American countries´ [5] exports [6].

4. This crisis caused economic and social instability in vast areas of the world. In Russia, trade was the main reason for change. The African situation remained serious, and even successful domestic economies, as was the case with South Africa, were not able to gain access to the main markets for their goods and services. The situation in Latin America became critical with armed militia movements in Mexico, Peru, Colombia and, to a certain extent in Brazil. The excellence of MERCOSUL initiative is on the point of collapse due to disagreements between Brazil and Argentina, caused by the enormous currency devaluation that took place in Brazil in 1999. Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador are going through serious constitutional crises.

5. As for Asia, it was a victim of the remarkable disagreements in the global economy, started by Japan, which had been in recession since the end of the Uruguay Round. It is also important to note that the recent international financial crisis even affected the Asian countries with a balanced fiscal policy, such as South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. On the other hand, China remained within the borders of the WTO despite its sizeable economy and enormous population.

6. From the point of view of the developing countries, in commercial terms up until now, the influence of the WTO has not been good, as during this period the concentration of wealth and global trade with the developed countries has increased. In the same way the modest concessions made in agriculture and textiles, it was not enough to give a competitive advantage to the developing countries, as they were made on the basis that the developed countries would maintain control of the respective markets. The inclusion of the new areas allows the developed countries access to the service sectors of the developing countries, but does not permit the developing countries access to the service sectors of their developed partners, something that was brought to a conclusion with horizontal barriers of a common immigration policy [7]. The investments treaty did not deal with the contentious issue of the scandalous fiscal fraud carried out by the developed countries at the expense of the developing countries, in the protection of their financial sectors, through the administrative systems of tax havens [8].

7. The agreement on intellectual property subordinates the authorities of developing countries, to those of the developed countries with the unjustified renunciation of sovereignty, despite the so-called “pipeline” principle. The agreement on the founding rules permits institutionalised protectionism in the free trade areas and its use to remove traditional trade barriers. The allowances of the treaty are not fair for the developing countries. The anti-dumping treaty did not limit the use of domestic legislation, principally with the United States but also with a number of other developing countries [9]. The practice of financial and technological “dumping”, common with companies from developed countries, was not limited.

8. Even the dispute resolution system of the WTO, upon which so many hopes had been pinned, left a lot to be desired in the years in which it was functioning. The root of its problems lay with the lack of adequate judicial laws, compromising the legality and effectiveness of the system. Its arbitration system lacked the legal terminology and the basic legal institutes, such as the reconvention. Their problems still derive from the lack of transparency in the rule played by the Secretariat and its legal department in the panel´s work. The General Director´s election system of the WTO has been hardly criticised because of its lack of transparency [10]. In this way it seems clear that the Uruguay Round results need an improvement and a perfection before the international community launch itself into the cold and uncertain waters of a new Round, under the penalty of the incurable loss of credibility in the multilateral system. So why initiate a new Round, at this moment?

9. During the WTO ministerial conference, to be held in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., from 29 November until 3 December 1999, it is hoped that a new negotiation of the trade multilateral system will be initiated. At this time, the initiative came from the European Union. In the case of the Uruguay Round, for the first time, there was a proposal from Japan and not from the U.S.A. The U.S.A., after pretending a discord for some weeks, came up with a trying agenda to the new proposed Round, which they suggested it to be called Clinton Round. The European Union objective with the Millennium Round is to ensure the maintenance of their relative competitiveness, through the new mechanisms to be created to compensate the effects of the decreasing use of agricultural subsidy of the developing countries. U.S.A, EU and Japan share the same general purpose, which is to maintain itself as an important commercial power.

10. Among the developing countries, India which is traditionally the most alert regarding the hegemonic and neo-colonialist measures, was initially against a new Round because of the belief that the implementation of the agreed subjects in the Uruguay Round was more important. Later, however, India agreed to negotiate the agriculture and the services sector, a position also adopted by Colombia. South Africa instigated the developing countries to a bigger union in defence of common interests. It is certain that some sectors, object of certain treaties of the Uruguay Round are subject to a revision in the year of 2000 such as the agriculture; textile and services, which must be included in the new Round agenda [11]
. The group of 15, as a result of a preparatory meeting in Bangalore, India, on 17 and 18 of August 1999, established three lines of action to the Millennium Round. The first would be the removal of iniquities of existing treaties to re-establish the balance between rights and obligations. The second concerns the distortion sectors of agriculture and the textile products. The third is pertinent to the exception to the developing countries. The G-15 also refused the inclusion of social and environmental dumping subjects regarding international trade the inclusion of social and environmental “dumping” themes in the issues referring to international trade.

11. For the commercial partners, in the sphere of the WTO, the U.S.A. presented a fairly sympathetic agenda to the ministerial conference on themes including; agriculture, sanitation measures; technological barriers to trade; services; intellectual property; customs evaluation; rules of origin; pre-unloading inspection; investments; subsidies, textiles and all the materials featured in the Uruguay Round [12]. The real agenda of the U.S.A. for the new Round is still only discussed internally in that country, and must include the labour or social “dumping” issue; the environmental issues; electronic trade; the multi-lateral investment accord; government purchases; and, in agriculture, the issue of the legality of genetically modified products [13]. All of these issues represent enormous risks for the developing countries, in that they will be treated not objectively, fairly or altruistically, but rather as a way to obtain commercial advantages for the U.S.A. and for the promotion of its hegemonic interests.

12. The effect of the social “dumping” argument is not to look after the well-being of the workers in the developing countries; on the contrary, it will lead to the loss of competitiveness for the country and to increased unemployment [14]. The objective of the multilateral investments accord is to ensure the free flow of finance and the guarantee of exchange convertibility for the removal of capital, and of the carrying out of fiscal fraud and organised crime by the North American banks, managers, councillors and, above all, the beneficiaries of more than half of this spurious capital [15]. The issue of environmental policy does not aim for the preservation and recuperation of the environment but does prevent the developing countries from bringing agricultural areas into production which have been unused due to the collapse of their industrial markets due to the scandalous subsidy policy employed by Europe and the U.S.A. The issue of electronic trade aims to stop the purchasing country from imposing a tax on the consumption of this good, as the U.S.A. considers itself more of a seller than a purchaser of this good. The reason for the inclusion of the theme of “governmental purchases” is to re-inforce the commercial hegemony of the U.S.A. The objective of the promotion of the legality of genetically modified goods is in technology and the production of goods, even though the environmental and medical effects of such technology are still not yet known.

13. As for the EU, it has shown that it is learning quickly and, more so than the U.S.A. who presented a vague and unspecific agenda full of things such as, “continue efforts to increase the level of freedom of trade in goods and services and avoid falling back into protectionism” and, occasionally throwing out the helping hand of the beneficent demagogue with cynical phrases such as, “measures which will benefit the less developed countries” [16]. The real agenda of the EU is the maintenance of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which involves $300 billion dollars worth of subsidies annually, causes celebrations with European agricultural producers and condemns a large part of the global population to poverty. With the exception of agriculture, the tendency is for the EU and the U.S.A. to share the same agenda against the developing countries, as happened with investments; services; labour; the environment; government purchases; electronic trade, etc. The differences only come up in the details and with specific things, or, in other words in working out who ends up with which part of the cake.

14. Japan has not yet presented a specific agenda, like the EU, but it will probably support all the measures that lead to a heightening of the legality of the multilateral system, in which it could be a powerful ally of the developing countries. Canada frequently, but not always, shares the same point of view as the U.S.A. In agriculture it can be expected that the Canadians will be in favour of greater liberalisation. Canada will also defend a multilateral regime for competition or the right to competition, which centralises risks and opportunities for the developing countries. Risks in which certain partners will want to appeal against the unfair decisions of concentration and competition which are prejudiced against local authorities and the opportunities to regulate important issues such as financial and technological “dumping”.

15. Brazil and Mercosul regarded agriculture as a priority, trying to co-ordinate the issue within the scope of the Cairns Group [17]. In fact, according to data from the WTO, agriculture accounts for 82% of the total exports of Paraguay, 61% of Uruguay, 53% of Argentina and 35% of Brazil, which makes the explanation for the priority obvious. However the Brazilian agricultural agenda, if it exists, has not yet been made public. In the same way, other points of the Brazilian and Mercosul agendas have not yet been subjected to national public opinion. What is certain is that Brazil will present, on July 26, 1999, three reports to the WTO for the preparations that are being made for the 1999 ministerial conference relevant to the topical points of the anti-dumping accord; the accord on subsidies and compensatory measures; and the respect of the accord on trade related goods (TRIMS) investments.

15.1.- As far as the anti-dumping agreement is concerned, Brazil suggests a better criteria for the definition of products and calculation of margins, as well as an alteration to articles 15 and 17. In the first, the guaranteeing of the preferential treatment of the developing countries was stipulated but has not yet been implemented. In the second, the intention is to increase the arbiter´s power in order to analyse the accordance of one measure to the terms of the anti-dumping agreement.

15.2.- In the subsides and compensatory measures agreement, Brazil alleges that there is no clause allowing for special treatment and permitting the use of incentives by developed countries originating from specific needs, related to economic, financial and social measures. It asks for clarification of the language and revision of the proceedings used in the calculation of compensatory measures. It also asks that developing countries be permitted to finance their exports in competitive conditions comparable to those in place in the developing countries.

15.3.- Concerning the agreement on investment measures related with trade, once again, Brazil complains the non existence of special and differentiated treatment related to measures of economic, financial and social politics and proposes that the flexibility to implement policies of development be granted, in order to reduce the disparity in comparison to developed countries.

16.- The Brazilian position shows, as usual, a lack of strength, and besides, its comments are not very consistent. This is made worse by the late presentation of comments, and by the poor English in which it was written, that can at least be corrected by the complementation of proposals using the reserve. It is also very strange that a request concerning the full revision of the dispute settlement system has not yet been drawn up taking into to account that the three items of the Brazilian proposal came from defeats or imminent adverse arbitrate decisions. The defeats occurred in the areas of milk, against EU, subsides, in the area of aircraft industry, against Canada, who, with grave consequences, hindered Brazil from equalising its risks in international interest rates, and the imminent defeat of automobile policy, against the EU, U.S.A. and Japan. In this in particular, it must be reinforced that the little credibility of the dispute settlement system and the disastrous experience that it had in that country, led Brazil to adhere to some dreadful agreements of voluntary reduction, against its own interests, such as with the steel anti-dumping issue in the U.S.A., that might have been ended with the conclusion of the Uruguay Round.

17.- It is also strange that Brazil has not dealt with, in the area of TRIMS, the question of financial flow, raised previously by the President of the Republic, and his Chancellor, in another forum. In fact, the tax heaven´s regime in almost all developed countries works as instrument of fraud against internal legal order in the developing countries causing grave imbalances. Brazil has not presented any opposition to the inclusion of environmental, labour, electronic commerce and information technology areas in to the multilateral system. In the same way, Brazil didn´t raise the problem of the conflict of international treaties, which occurs in areas such as: intellectual property, labour, environment, and mainly in the monetary areas demonstrated in the equalisation of interest rates and in the dispute against Canada. Brazil also didn´t cover the important situation of environmental piracy and the benefits of biological diversity under trade measures related to intellectual property. At least Brazil did not raise the problem of the free flow of the rendering of service and the textile question, both of great importance.

18.- Brazilian authorities have to, firstly, avoid that in the ambit of the Millennium Round we suffer a defeat of disastrous dimensions, in the same way as occurred in the Uruguay Round. The social, economic, and political order of Brazil will not support such a terrible situation. Secondly, it´s an opportunity to correct the poor treatment that afflicted us since the creation of the WTO. For this, we need discernment, courage and competency.