Dutch banks summoned before tribunal in Vienna
Besides the official EU-Latin-American summit also a social counter summit will be organized. At the counter summit Dutch ABN-AMRO-, ING- and Rabobank will be summoned to testify about irrisponsible persuit of profit.
On May 12, the government leaders of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean countries will meet each other in Vienna. Although the summit is intended for mutual coordination of political, social and economic interests, the focus is on negotiations concerning the association treaties of the European Union with Latin-American trade blocs. European financial sector in particular has a large interest in binding agreements on liberalization and deregulation of the Latin-American market. European companies are strongly lobbying to extend possibilities for investment and thereby increase their profit earning possibilities.
The social counter summit, Enlazando Alternativas 2, is organized at the same time as the official summit. The central aspect of the counter summit is the Tribunal over the negative impact of the presence of European multinational corporations in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an example ABN-AMRO, ING Bank and the Rabobank will be summoned here on Thursday, May 11.
Myriam Vander Stichele of the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) prepared the ‘case’ against the Dutch banks: “The presence of foreign banks is often promoted as beneficial to the efficiency and quality of the financial industry. Statistics show however, that developing countries experience big problems when opening the financial market. The high profit targets of banks lead to reduced access to credit for small producers and entrepreneurs, a weakening of the local financial sector and an outflow of profits to foreign countries.”
Although all these mentioned Dutch banks signed the ‘Equator Principals ’ the carrying material of the citation shows their involvement in controversial projects. For instance, the ING supported a heavily criticized company of pulp paper in Uruguay. The three banks invested in Brazilian soya (which is an export industry causing large scale deforestation and climate changes, and disturbing the market for small producers) and they invested in the world’s largest chain supermarket Wal-Mart, known for violating the employees rights. Since the year 2000 ABN-AMRO is actively reducing operating costs, for instance in Brazil, by dismissing employees and outsourcing. The way the bank treats its Brazilian employees, leaves much to be desired.
The onus is examined in the tribunal by a team of experts. They will decide if the banks will be officially charged in a follow-up Tribunal for irresponsible pursuit of profit.
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