October 8, 2003
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
Reuters, October 1, 2001
We have one opportunity left. If we miss it, then bye-bye round, Uruguayan ambassador Carlos Perez del Castillo said in reference to the WTOs Doha Round of free trade negotiations which are supposed to finish by the end of next year .There is no point in even calling a meeting in December if there is no chance of success. We do not have much time, he said .Top negotiators from both the European Union and the United States left Cancun in angry mood and Perez del Castillo said that it was unlikely that either would take the lead in trying to restore life to the talks.
SUPACHAI CALLS OFF MEETINGS OF NEGOTIATING COMMITTEES
Financial Express, by AMITI SEN & S VENKITACHALAM, October 6, 2003
In a dramatic development, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has cancelled all meetings of negotiating groups scheduled to begin this week. The meetings had been lined up to continue the negotiations which remained inconclusive in the ministerial meet in Cancun, Mexico, in September. Director general of WTO Supachai Panitchpakdi has decided that the meetings will be held only after finalisation of broad direction of negotiations in consultation with stakeholders. The consultations will be jointly carried out by the director general (DG) and general council chairman Carlos Perez del Castillo.
EU FLOATS IDEAS TO REPAIR CANCUN BREAKDOWN
AFP, October 6, 2003
The European Union has some ideas for how to deal with the breakdown of trade talks in Cancun last month, including a two-speed WTO and plurilateral or bilateral initiatives if multilateral accords are out of reach. In a paper provided to AFP for consultation, the European Commission, the EUs executive branch, criticized countries or groups of countries it held responsible for the Mexican meltdown in early September. The text, which proposed ways of keeping the Doha round of trade talks alive, prefigures a comprehensive reflection paper to be released in November. At that point it may have become clearer if other members of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) are seriously interested in returning to the negotiation table, the commission wrote.
DOHA TO MISS DEADLINE: WTO OFFICIAL
Doha Trade Talks Likely To Miss Deadline, Says WTO Official, Agence France-Presse, October 7, 2003
The conclusion of the Doha round of trade talks aimed at liberalizing global commerce will probably have to be extended beyond a Jan. 1, 2005 deadline, WTO deputy director general Roderick Abbot said Oct. 6. He added that is was more than likely the WTO will continue the current round of talks until the middle or end of 2006. If on Dec. 15 when the organizations general council meets in Geneva there is still no progress on the Cancun text, a realistic calendar will impose itself and the deadline will be pushed back, Abbot said.Ê
POST-CANCUN DIVISIONS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
Post-Cancun: EU, US Adamant On More Divisions Within Third World, Financial Express, by MALCOLM SUBHAN, October 6, 2003
Divide and win. Divide the developing countries and win access to their markets. This was the strategy the worlds two leading trading entities, the 15-nation European Union (EU) and the United States, had adopted before the Cancun summit. And it clearly is the strategy they plan to follow after the failure of the recent WTO ministerial meeting. Neither the EU nor the US had anticipated the emergence of the G-22, whose core membership consists of India, China, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa. But neither do they expect it to last . It was not the show of strength displayed by the G-22 that led to the breakdown of the negotiations at Cancun. The ministerial had ended in disarray after Kenya and some of the smaller African countries walked out over the Singapore issues. But they also walked out because they had feared that the G-22 was preparing to strike a deal with the EU and the US over agriculture.
NO HELPING ILLICIT DRUG FIGHT: WTO TO EU
WTO to Rule Illegal EU Trade Aid to Nations Fighting Narcotics, Bloomberg, October 3, 2003
The World Trade Organization is set to rule illegal the European Unions tariff exemptions for 3.9 billion euros ($4.6 billion) of imports from poor, mostly Latin American nations fighting narcotics production because the measures discriminate against other developing countries . The WTO ruling could force a broader overhaul of the EUs preferential tariff system, under which the 15-nation bloc imported 52 billion euros of goods last year. It could also prompt trade-policy changes in the U.S., which offers its own duty preferences to Latin American nations battling illegal drug production.
CAN A FOOD LABEL USE A GEOGRAPHIC NAME? WTO RULING TO COME
WTO panel to judge Australias case on EU food labelling rights, ABC, October 3, 2003
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has established a dispute panel to judge Australias challenge to European laws on food labelling. Australia and the United States are testing the right of the European Union to control geographic names for foods. The WTO has established a single panel to hear the challenge by Australia and the United States to Europes right to register and protect geographic names for cheese, beer, wool, processed meat, fruit and cork.
OFFICIAL CDN SUMMARY OF CANCUN EVENTS
Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference, Cancun, Mexico (September 10-14, 2003), Summary of the WTO 5th Ministerial Conference, DFAIT web site
The WTO 5th Ministerial Conference in Cancun ended without conclusion on September 14, when Conference Chairman and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez determined that it would not be possible to reach consensus across the agenda and closed the meeting. A short statement was released reaffirming the Doha Declaration, indicating that work must continue in Geneva, and calling on the General Council to meet at Senior Officials level no later than 15 December. The timing of the next Ministerial Conference was not confirmed.
ZOELLICKS AMERICA WILL NOT WAIT FOR THE WONT-DO COUNTRIES OP ED
Financial Times, By ROBERT B ZOELLICK, US Trade Representative, September 22, 2003
Many countries - developing and developed - were dismayed by the transformation of the WTO into a forum for the politics of protest. Some withstood pressure to join the strife from larger developing neighbours. Of course, negotiating positions differed. But the key division at Cancun was between the can-do and the wont-do. For over two years, the US has pushed to open markets globally, in our hemisphere, and with sub-regions or individual countries. As WTO members ponder the future, the US will not wait: we will move towards free trade with can-do countries.
WTO & AGRICULTURE
Group of 22 that blocked WTO in Cancun to meet in Argentina, AFP, October 8, 2003
Ministers of the 12 regional members of the Group of 22 that held out for lower WTO agricultural tariffs in Cancun are to meet in Buenos Aires, Argentinas foreign ministry told AFP Thursday. Foreign and trade ministers from the 12 Latin American members of the Group of 22, along with their counterparts from China, South Africa and Egypt, are to meet next week. Argentine Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa offered to host the meeting on October 10 in Buenos Aires. The goal is to set a common policy in opposing the high subsidies that more developed countries refused to lower, leading to a breakdown in the World Trade Organization talks in Cancun, Mexico last month.
RULING AGAINST CDN WHEAT EXPORTS
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, October 3, 2003
Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the good news is the International Trade Commission has ruled unanimously today that U.S. tariffs on Canadian durum are illegal. The bad news is the ITC split two to two on wheat tariffs so the United States will doubtless continue its ongoing harassment against wheat farmers as political considerations trump common sense. Does the government intend to launch an appeal on the 14% tariffs that harasses our wheat farmers and will it help by picking up some of the legal tab which is now running in excess of $10 million? Mr. Murray Calder (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade, Lib.): We are carefully reviewing the U.S. decision and then we will examine our WTO and NAFTA options under the context of deciding the most effective steps to take.
Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have said prior to this that we would take every step that we possibly could, including launching panels in both NAFTA and WTO if that is seen necessary. We have very successfully demonstrated in the past that the Canadian Wheat Board works and acts within WTO compliance. We have proven that in the past and I am confident we can prove it in the future.
EU MAY START TO LIFT GMO BAN BEFORE YEAR END
Reuters, October 3, 2003
The European Unions food safety chief said yesterday the 15-nation bloc could begin to lift its five-year de facto ban on most genetically modified organisms (GMOs) before the end of the year. ÊEU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne said member states would vote on allowing a new type of genetically modified maize for use in food, BT11 sweet corn produced by Swiss firm Syngenta AG SYNZn.VX , in the test case.
2. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
Inclusion of World Bank, IMF opposed: Both are creators of poverty, say activists, Bankok Post, by Kultida Samabuddhi, October 8, 2003
Grassroots activists from Asia-Pacific countries yesterday expressed objection to the inclusion of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in the United Nations action plan for reducing poverty. The World Bank and the IMF are creators of poverty. It is unacceptable to let them take part in formulating a poverty reduction strategy, said Sarath Pernando from Sri Lanka. Mr Pernando was among 50 NGO representatives participating in a two-day discussion in Bangkok to make recommendations to the UN Millennium Developments action plan to halve extreme poverty by the year 2015.
BROKE ARGENTINA SAYS IT WILL NEED MORE CREDIT
Reuters, by Cesar Illiano, October 7, 2003 Argentina will still have to tap international capital markets to make service payments, even if cuts the face value of its defaulted debt by 75 percent, Treasury Secretary Carlos Mosse said . This debt burden rivals the one that choked growth in the mid-90s, contributing to the governments default in December 2001 and the economys subsequent collapse. Today more than half of all Argentines live in poverty.
UNCTAD CRITICIZES FREE TRADE POLICIES
MercoPress, October 7, 2003
Latin American governments should restructure debt burdens and play a more active role in economic development, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has urged. In its latest annual trade and development report, Unctad sharply criticised the market-friendly and trade-oriented policies adopted during the 1990s and said they had contributed to a premature de-industrialisation in the region. Arguing that the Washington Consensus was embraced with particular enthusiasm in Latin America, Rubens Ricupero, secretary general of Unctad, said that after some initial signs of success, familiar structural constraints have resurfaced .Unctad is the UNs main forum for development issues discussions and a frequent critic of IMF and World Bank policies.
LATIN AMERICA DISPARITIES WORSEN: WORLD BANK REPORT
Reuters, October 7, 2003 Latin America and the Caribbean need deep reforms to close huge income gaps between the rich and poor and to improve the lifestyles of people of indigenous and African descent, the World Bank said on Tuesday.
The bank finds that, on average, income inequality in the region has worsened with the richest one-tenth of the population earning 48 percent of total income, while the poorest
WORLD BANK LIKELY TO FUND LARGE DAM PROJECTS IN 3RD WORLD
PRNewswire, October 7, 2003
The World Bank is considering the funding of large-scale water projects in developing countries, including Pakistan, India and the Philippines, to expand its operations, reversing its 1995 decision of not funding large dams. A Water and Power Ministry official told reporters that the revival of the banks policy to fund big water projects would help the country construct the Kalabagh and Bhasha dams, besides bridging the financing gap in the execution of the ongoing projects. The Kalabagh and Bhasha dams together have a construction cost of over $6 billion.
THE LESS REGULATION OF BUSINESS THE BETTER - WORLD BANK TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
World Bank Faults Tight Regulation as Economic Obstacle, Dow Jones Newswire, October 7, 2003
The World Bank, hoping to spur officials in developing countries to consider reforms, plans to release a new survey finding that the least amount of business regulation fosters the strongest economies, Tuesdays Wall Street Journal reported.
3. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
Markets Must Open, U.S. Warns, Tico Times, by Tim Rogers and Fabi½n Borges, October 7, 2003
Speaking directly and somewhat ominously, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick warned Costa Rica this week that it must open its services markets - telecommunications, electricity and insurance - if the country hopes to be included in the U.S.-Central America Free-Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The administration of President Abel Pacheco, meanwhile, remained adamant that it will not open the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) or the National Insurance Institute (INS). The apparent standoff has cast strong doubts on the future of the trade negotiations - scheduled for completion in December - and raised the possibility of Costa Rica being left out of CAFTA. Pacheco has said Costa Rica will not sign the trade agreement if it means privatizing ICE.
NAFTA COUNTRIES MEET: FINAL STATEMENT
NAFTA COMMISSION JOINT STATEMENT, October 7, 2003
Canada and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners today announced several practical steps to ensure that the Agreement continues to stimulate trade and investment in North America .The main theme of the meeting was a celebration of 10 years of success since NAFTA entered into force on January 1, 1994 . Among the key outcomes of the Montreal meeting were the following: To further improve the transparency and efficiency of the Chapter 11 (Investment) dispute settlement process, the three ministers approved guidelines for submissions from non-disputing parties and a standardized form for Notice of Intent to submit a claim .The ministers agreed to work to rebuild momentum in the World Trade Organization negotiations following the setback at the Cancun Ministerial meeting. They re-affirmed their commitment to the Free Trade Area of the Americas process and the successful negotiation by January 2005 of a high-quality, comprehensive agreement.
CANADA LAUNCHES NAFTA CHALLENGE OF U.S. WHEAT RULING
DFAIT Press Release, October 3, 2003
The Government of Canada today launched a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) challenge of an August 29, 2003 countervail ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce that imports of certain types of Canadian wheat are subsidized. The government is also considering various legal options following a further decision in this dispute by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Looking at two different kinds of Canadian wheat imports, the ITC ruled today that imports of durum wheat did not injure the U.S. industry. It did, however, find that imports of hard red spring wheat harm the U.S. industry. As a result, the U.S. will impose duties on imports of hard red spring wheat.
WHEAT BOARD TO APPEAL RULING
CWB to appeal ITC ruling on spring wheat, CWB news release, October 3, 2003
The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) announced it would move swiftly to appeal todays ruling by the International Trade Commission that imports of Canadian spring wheat cause injury to American farmers. Despite a vote of two-two by ITC commissioners on injury, punitive tariffs of 14.15 per cent on Canadian spring wheat will be maintained. The commissioners voted unanimously (four-zero) to remove tariffs of 13.55 per cent on durum wheat.
NAFTA PARTNERS GIVE CAUTIOUS OK TO CDN GENERIC DRUG PLAN
U.S., Mexico not likely to block generic drug export, Canadian Press, October 7, 2003
Oct. 7, 2003
Trade representatives from the United States and Mexico suggested today they wont block Canadian companies from exporting generic drugs to fight AIDS in developing countries. But U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick and Fernando Canales, Mexicos secretary of the economy, told a news conference Canada must honour international trade rules as it implements the generic drug plan.
ALL ROADS TO THE WTO - CDN SENATOR
Nafta Teaches Canada Some Painful Lessons, Financial Times, By PETER STOLLERY, October 3, 2003Ê
The proper response to the challenge of freeing up global trade is not to adopt second best regional or bilateral agreement models. For true trade liberalisation, all roads must lead to the WTO. Peter Stollery is the Chair, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee
FREE TRADE IN AMERICAS FAIL TO MAKE PROGRESS
AP, October 4, 2003
Ross Wilson, who is the head of the administrations negotiating team, said that discussions over the past week had failed to bridge wide disagreements that are threatening to doom a meeting in November in Miami of trade ministers from the 34 nations trying to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas. The United States is pushing for a comprehensive free trade agreement that would take effect in January 2005 to phase out tariffs on manufactured products and farm goods and also remove other types of trade barriers in such areas as services and investment. However, Brazil, South Americas largest economy, has objected to this approach, arguing that the FTAA should be more limited in scope, covering only trade in manufactured goods and farm products initially.
24 COUNTRIES BACK VENEZUELAS PROPOSAL FOR FTAA FUND
China View, October 6, 2003
A total of 24 countries have expressed support for Venezuelas proposal to create a fund in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) to cope with adjustments in national economies, reports from Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago, said on Monday.
MIAMIS BID FOR FTAA HQ MAY BE HARMED BY EXCESSIVE SECURITY CRACK DOWN
Ensure public safety and free speech: OUR OPINION: MIAMI SHOULD MODIFY PROPOSED RULES FOR PROTESTS, Miami Herald Editorial, October 5, 2003
As written, though, the proposal [for security during the FTAA summit] is overly broad and too specifically targeted at a single event. It provides too little assurance that people who are lawfully expressing themselves, or not protesting at all, wont get lumped in with the troublemakers who intend harm. At stake, moreover, is South Floridas bid to eventually land the FTAA headquarters and its boost to our international appeal and economy. A disastrous ministerial meeting could dash our chances
HEMISPHERIC TRADE PACT STALLED IN TALKS
WASHINGTON TIMES, by Jeffrey Sparshott, October 4, 2003
The United States and Brazil during talks this week remained at odds over a hemispheric trade agreement, raising doubts about completing one of the Bush administrations biggest projects to liberalize commerce. The Bush administration has described the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement as the cornerstone of its economic policy for the hemisphere. The accord would create the worlds largest market, with a combined output of about $13 trillion and almost 800 million consumers in 34 countries. But just weeks before a crucial meeting to push an agreement toward a January 2005 deadline, officials gathering in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago remained unable to agree on the basic structure of an agreement a necessary starting point before negotiations can truly get under way.
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, October 2, 2003
Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-GrÅceLachine, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the Prime Minister on having received a major award earlier today. The Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy presented the Prime Minister with the award for advancing the environmental agenda. This is the first time in the 33 years of the institute that this particular award has been given.
McGUINTY OPEN TO USING ADAMS MINE GARBAGE SITE - NDP
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, October 1, 2003
Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, yesterday Dalton McGuinty said he may allow Torontos garbage to be dumped into the Adams mine, as if dumping toxic garbage into a porous hole is a good idea. It is a bad idea. It was bad when Mike Harris wanted to do it and bad now, because it will pollute farms, first nations and the watershed, including the Ottawa River. Yet the federal Liberals refuse to conduct a federal environmental assessment.
CANADIANS KEEP MMT ISSUE ALIVE
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, October 1, 2003
Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (LambtonKentMiddlesex, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I wish to present a petition on behalf of the constituents of LambtonKentMiddlesex who call upon Parliament to protect the health of seniors and children and to save our environment by banning the disputed gas additive MMT as it creates smog and, hence, global warming.
GLOBAL ENDANGERED SPECIES NUMBERS RISE
Over 11,000 Species of Animals, Plants Risk Extinction: Experts, The Herald (Harare), by Wisdom Mdzungairi, October 7, 2003
THE curtain on the global meeting to discuss how to preserve the planets natural heritage ended recently with experts warning that more than 11 000 species of animals and plants risk extinction. The conference, focused on the worlds protected nature areas and how poor countries could make conservation pay for itself . The Durban Accord will guide the management of protected areas for the next decade.
PUTIN UNDECIDED ON KYOTO, SNUBS UN APPEALS
Reuters, October 1, 2003
President Vladimir Putin backed away this week from Russias earlier pledge to swiftly ratify a key U.N. pact on curbing global warming - a plan that will collapse without its backing. Delegates at a World Climate Change Conference said it was too early to talk of the possible death of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol despite Moscows long indecision. Putin even joked that a warmer climate might save Russians money on fur coats.
WARMING THREATENS RUSSIAN CROPS: EXPERTS
Scientists Say Warming Could Cut Crops, October 3, 2003
Scientists said yesterday that global warming could slash Russias crucial grain harvests if President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders refuse to endorse the U.N. pact. About 1,000 scientists at a World Climate Change Conference in Moscow ending on Friday were sharply divided over Putins belief that Russians could benefit overall from a world with less bone-chilling winters.
ALASKA PIPELINE ROUTE AGREED IN DRAFT ENERGY BILL
Reuters, October 2, 2003
Republican leaders trying to hammer out a final U.S. energy bill on Monday agreed on the route for a proposed $20 billion Alaskan natural gas pipeline . The Bush administration has insisted that Congress should not dictate the route to oil companies, but let economics drive companies choice.
2003 REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Press Release, October 7, 2003
In her third report to Parliament, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development examines the federal governments actions in response to specific commitments with implications for both human health and the environment. The Commissioners audits deal with issues that affect all Canadians, notably the use of pesticides, and touch upon the governments efforts at measuring progress and reporting on the results of selected programs designed to help Canada meet its Kyoto target.
WATER CRISIS AFFECTS 130 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE AMERICAS
Pan American Health Organization, October 3, 2003
In Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 130 million people do not have safe drinking water in their homes, and only 86 million are connected to adequate sanitation systems, according to figures prepared for Inter-American Water Day, commemorated Oct. 4.
Towards More and Better Jobs, OECD Communique, Meeting of Employment and Labour Ministers, Paris, 29-30 September 2003
OECD Employment and Labour Ministers met in Paris on 29-30 September 2003, under the chairmanship of M. FranŸois Fillon, Minister of Social Affairs, Labour and Solidarity (France) . As a result of the world economic slowdown, unemployment is on the rise in the majority of member countries .Youth have been especially affected by the worsening job prospects. The OECDs assessment is that the recovery currently underway in the United States will be sustained, leading the way for a broader recovery throughout the OECD area. As a result, the labour market situation could improve in 2004.
THE RICH WORLDS DISAPPEARING JOBS
Asia Times Online, by John Berthelsen and Indrajit Basu, October 8, 2003
If the North American Free Trade Act passes, you will hear a giant sucking sound of jobs going south of the border. - H Ross Perot, 1992
In the developed world and particularly in the United States, the scope of jobs disappearing overseas is widening beyond all imagining, to professions that almost nobody expected to be hit, and with far higher incomes than anybody thought possible as globalization bonds with the law of unintended consequences.
WORLD FOOD DAY: OCT 16
International Alliance against Hunger
Each year on 16 October, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations celebrates World Food Day in commemoration of its founding on that day in 1945. The World Food Day/TeleFood theme for this year, International Alliance against Hunger, is a call to action-to encourage all those concerned about the problem of hunger to join forces in a common effort. ÊOver the years, millions of people have graduated from the ranks of the hungry. But 840 million remain crippled by the indignity of not having enough to eat. The goal of cutting by half the number of hungry people by 2015-a target adopted at the World Food Summit in 1996 and reflected in the Millennium Development Goals-still lies out of reach.
Sierra Club of Canada has an active programme on Trade and the Environment. SCC has challenged Chapter 11 through the courts on the S.D.Myers case, played an integral role in the fight against the MAI and works in coalition with the Common Front on the WTO, Common Frontiers and the Canadian Alliance on Trade and the Environment.