Lori Wallach

Lori  Wallach
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
Director, Global Trade Watch
Washington, DC

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Lori Wallach is Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division. Public Citizen, founded in 1971, is a nonprofit citizen research, lobbying and litigation group based in Washington, D.C. Launched by Wallach in 1995, Global Trade Watch is…

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Full Biography

Lori Wallach is Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division. Public Citizen, founded in 1971, is a nonprofit citizen research, lobbying and litigation group based in Washington, D.C. Launched by Wallach in 1995, Global Trade Watch is a leader in the global citizen movement for fair trade and investment policy. Working closely with civil society, scholars, and activists in developing countries and with U.S. congressional, environmental, labor, and other allies, Wallach has played an important role in fostering the growing debate about implications of different models of globalization on jobs, livelihoods and wages; the environment; public health and safety; equality and social justice and democratically accountable governance.

A Harvard-trained lawyer, Wallach has promoted the public interest regarding globalization and international commercial agreements in every forum: Congress and foreign parliaments, the courts, government agencies, and the media. Described as “Ralph Nader with a sense of humor” in a Wall Street Journal profile, “the Trade Debate's Guerrilla Warrior” in the National Journal, and “Madame Defarge of Seattle” by the Institute for International Economics, Wallach has testified on NAFTA, GATT-WTO, and other trade issues before over 30 U.S. congressional committees, numerous other countries’ legislatures, the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Global Trade Watch serves as a hub for an international network of citizen groups working on globalization issues. Wallach’s work in “translating” arcane trade legalese – indeed, entire proposed international commercial agreements – into relevant, accessible prose has had significant national and international impact.

Wallach and Global Trade Watch have been U.S. leaders in successful fights against proposed “Fast Track” legislation in 1997 and 1998 and, working with international partners, the defeat of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), the proposed “Millennium Round” of WTO negotiations at the 1999 Seattle WTO Ministerial, the proposed WTO expansion at the 2003 Cancun WTO Ministerial and the derailing of the proposed FTAA hemispheric NAFTA expansion. Global Trade Watch’s leadership in the campaign against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) NAFTA expansion contributed to creating a U.S. debate over that economically modest pact that required two-years, the U.S. President’s continued personal intervention and a major corporate campaign to eek out a one-vote margin of passage. CAFTA specifically and trade generally proved a prominent political issue in the U.S. midterm 2006 elections with more than 100 candidates for House, Senate and Governor campaigning on “fair trade.” Current projects include efforts to stop NAFTA expansions to Peru, Colombia and Panama, as well as replace Fast Track with a new mechanism that restores Congress’ constitutional authority in trade policy-making. Other projects include empowering state legislators in numerous states to enact new procedures and policies which provide them a voice in international ‘trade’ negotiations which affect their authority and work with a global network on the WTO and especially WTO service sector privatization and deregulation negotiations.

Wallach has served as a trade commentator on CNN, ABC, CNBC, C-SPAN, and regularly appears on such programs as All Things Considered and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Wallach’s most recent book is Whose Trade Organization? A Comprehensive Guide to the WTO (The New Press, 2004). She has also contributed to numerous anthologies including Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World Is Possible.

Wallach was a founder of the Citizens Trade Campaign, a national coalition of consumer, labor, environmental, family farm, religious, and civil rights groups representing over 11 million Americans, and now serves on its board. She also is a founding board member of the International Forum on Globalization, on whose board she also serves.

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