For over a decade, trade liberalization has been presented as the path to development and the goal of all civilized nations. Its terminology became the accepted language of economics and its concepts formed the backbone for restructuring entire societies.
Today, that consensus has broken down in both developed and developing countries. But the terms stubbornly persist, and thereby constitute an obstacle to devising new workable models of international trade rules and laying out viable alternatives to the arcane, dysfunctional free trade system.
That said, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the WTO or any other multinational to re-think the terms of trade policy, or the reality of "free trade", if its outcome would be less favorable for the world's wealthiest corporations.
As Carlsen notes in one of her previous articles titled Playing the WTO Game:
The objective of this game is free trade for corporations—not development . The moment a playing country sits down at the table, other objectives are automatically subordinated or even cast aside by the globalization game as defined and imposed by the WTO. Despite the fact that the current round of negotiations is called “The Doha Development Round,” in practice, development and its pillars—national industrialization, food sovereignty, social welfare and equity—are discarded. Instead, market access, liberalization, international commerce and investment, and privatization become the guiding principles.
She goes on in the article to list the major players in the WTO "game", as well as the rules which govern the contest. In particular, she explains in detail just how stacked the deck is against developing countries, and the numerous advantages possessed by the US and EU. For example, the US has by far the largest market as well as the dominant export capacity. Carlsen points out that the US and EU share the basic strategies of "forcing open new markets for its goods, extending intellectual property rights, and transferring sectors from the public to the private realm" while at the same time doing as little as possible in terms of "reduc[ing] agricultural subsidies, eliminating protections for [their] economically and politically strategic sectors, and [making] real progress on . . . safeguards and exemptions for poor countries." On the other hand, she also harshly critiques both the strategy as well as the ascribed motivations of the G-20. Most importantly, she lays out in detail exactly what is at stake in this process.
I would highly reccommend closely reading both articles in their entirety to gain a better perspective of what exactly is being decided upon at the WTO meetings which are being assiduously ignored by the media. In my estimation, Carlsen is one of the most astute observers of the WTO and internation trade issues and her voice deserves to be heard by every person concerned with promoting economic justice.