LONDON (UK) / CANCUN (MEXICO) – With two weeks to go before the World Trade Organisation?s (WTO) Ministerial meeting in Cancun, a new report reveals the key role transnational corporations play in shaping the policy of the WTO.

‘Business Rules: Who pays the price?’ will be released on August 28, 2003 and was produced by Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental federation, and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

Media representatives can preview the embargoed report here.

Friends of the Earth International is highlighting the WTO meeting which it believes could have devastating impacts on people and the environment around the world.

Through a series of eight case studies, this report strips back the rhetoric of free trade and the “pro-development agenda” and reveals the reality of the WTO system.

Companies named and shamed include Pfizer, Suez, Halliburton, Monsanto, Endesa, Shell, Philip Morris, and Exxon Mobil. The corporate lobby groups include the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the European Services Forum (ESF), the US Coalition of Service Industries (USCSI), the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

“Transnational corporations through their powerful lobby groups are playing a central role in setting the ‘free trade’ agenda,” said Raul Benet in Cancun. “They are using their financial and political muscle to steer decisions in the most powerful countries in the WTO: the US, the European Union, and Japan,” he added.

The aim of transnational corporations is to make greater profits by opening up new markets and creating a set of pro-business rules in the WTO. For ordinary people and the environment this is bad news.

The case studies highlight the environmental and social impacts that the corporations and lobby groups have on few key areas: food, health and environmental standards, access to essential medicines, control over foreign investment and access to essential services.


In Cancun, Mexico: Raul Benet +52-55-51438927 (mobile)
In London, UK: Ronnie Hall +44-796-7017281 (only valid until Sept.2)
In Amsterdam, Netherlands, Olivier Hoedeman +31-20-6127023 (CEO