November 6, 2003
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
EU may dump WTO accord on Singapore, UPI, November 5, 2003
The European Union reportedly will consider abandoning efforts for a World Trade Organization accord on the so-called Singapore issues. The Kyodo News Agency said Wednesday it had obtained a paper prepared by the European Commission, the EUs executive body, ahead of the commissions meeting Friday in Brussels. Kyodo reported the paper said, Given what happened in Cancun and the refusal of some WTO members to follow through on the commitment made at Doha to launch negotiations (on the Singapore issues), this paper considers what alternative approaches may be available for each of the Singapore issues.
EU SUGGESTS GIVING WTO CHIEF MORE POWERS
The News (Jang), November 2, 2003
The European Commission, disappointed after global trade talks collapsed, has suggested giving the head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) more powers to improve how the WTO works, diplomats said on Friday . EU diplomats said the Commission presented a paper raising the idea of giving the WTO director-general more power to organise ministerial meetings and oversee the negotiations with a view to helping avoid a repeat of the Cancun collapse.
RESUME TRADE TALKS: WTO CHIEF
Business Standard, November 6, 2003
World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi today called for a resumption of stalled multilateral talks in the backdrop of a stagnation in global trade flows in the first half of 2003. During the current year, the WTO estimated the growth of world merchandise trade to remained unchanged at 3 per cent.
EU SLAPS $200 MILLION TRADE SANCTIONS ON US IMPORTS
AFP, November 05, 2003
The European Commission today announced that it would slap tariffs worth hundreds of millions of dollars on American imports. The move could see EU member states impose $200 million (£120m) of duties on American products coming into the bloc beginning in March 2004. The trade sanctions are an attempt by the commission to overturn a US corporate tax scheme that allows American firms to benefit from reduced export taxes. The tax scheme, known as the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) scheme, was ruled illegal by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in January 2002 as it was seen as giving an unfair advantage to American exporters.
WTO GREEN ROOM MEETS ON NON-AG MARKET ACCESS; SINGAPORE ISSUES FORTHCOMING
Market Access informal mirrors Cancun, pre-Cancun discussions, Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, October 30, 2003
On 28 October, approximately 30 WTO Members gathered for the first green room-style informal meeting since Cancun on non- agricultural market access (NAMA) . Many developing countries particularly African Members said that the Derbez text did not take into account proposals submitted earlier in the process by poorer countries .
WTO: MEMBERS MEET INFORMALLY TO CONSIDER AG
Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, October 30, 2003
On 24 October, Chair Perez del Castillo and Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi held an informal Ambassador plus one green-room consultation with a smaller group of key Members to discuss how to revive the multilateral farm trade negotiations .The agriculture talks form part of a process set out by General Council (GC) Chair Ambassador Carlos Perez del Castillo (Uruguay) on 14 October and endorsed by the GC on 21 October, wherein Members have indicated some willingness to engage in Geneva. The process involves a focus on four key areas: agriculture, NAMA, cotton and the so-called Singapore Issues of investment, competition, transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation.
CHALLENGE PROGRAM TO ADDRESS WATER SHORTAGE, AG SUBSIDIES & THE WTO
Dire Food Shortages Predicted For Sub Saharan Africa: New Research Program Tackles Global Water Scarcity, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Press Release, November 2, 2003
As one of the international communities responses to the growing global water crisis, the Challenge Programs research agenda will unite international and national research institutes, NGOs and local communities across the globe in an effort to find innovative ways of producing more food by using less water . If present trends continue the livelihoods of one third of the worlds population will be affected by water scarcity by 2025 .Agricultural subsidies in North America and Europe determine where food is grown and policy decisions taken in the World Trade Organisation are possibly the single most dominant factor shaping the global demand for food and consequently the amount of water required to grow that food, explains Prof. Rijsberman, adding, The Challenge Program will analyse the effect of decisions coming out of from the WTO to see what the negative impacts will be on farmers
CANADA AND CHEAP DRUGS
Canada to introduce bill allowing cheap drugs to poor countries, CBC News, November 4, 2003
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien says Canada will become the first industrialized country with legislation to get cheaper, generic drugs to countries that need them. The prime minister received a standing ovation in the House of Commons Tuesday [November 4, 2003] after announcing the government will introduce the bill to change the countrys patent and drug laws. Canada will be the first country to introduce legislation to implement the WTO agreement, said Chrétien. We hope our quick response will encourage other countries to follow our example.
WTO & AGRICULTURE
TWN Info Service on WTO Issues, October 28, 2003
The peace clause in the WTO agriculture agreement which prohibits action against subsidies is scheduled to expire at the end of 2003. Below is a paper by Bhagirath Lal Das (an international authority on trade and WTO issues) on the implications of this and the position that developing counties can take.
WHEAT BOARD, CDN GOVERNMENTS TO APPEAL NAFTA RULING
Canadians Appeal U.S. Tariffs to NAFTA, by Julianne Johnston, AgWeb, November 5, 2003
The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) has teamed up with the Government of Canada and the provincial governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta in an attempt to reverse part of the ruling that has closed the US border to Canadian exports of hard red spring wheat. The coalition filed the first papers in their appeal to a NAFTA panel on the finding that sales of Canadian hard red spring wheat into the US during the period of investigation were unfairly subsidized.
EU TRADE NEGOTIATOR UNYIELDING ON [U.S.] SUBSIDIES
Sanctions Certain if U.S. Retains Tariffs, Lamy Says, Washington Post, by Jonathan Weisman, November 5, 2003
The European Unions top trade negotiator concluded two days of tough talks with Bush administration officials and key lawmakers yesterday, delivering a firm promise of swift retaliatory sanctions if the United States does not lift its steel tariffs and repeal long-standing export subsidies by the end of the year.
[U.S.-AUSSIE] TRADE DEAL HINGES ON U.S. FARMS
The Australian, by Malcolm Farr, October 20, 2003
The US had to make big concessions on agricultural exports from Australia before a free-trade deal could be signed, Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday. We do need a movement of significance by the Americans in relation to agriculture, he said of a special deal which has to be wrapped up by December or be postponed by US elections. But the Prime Minister had greater hope for trade deal with Thailand, which would open up a big market for Australian car makers and wine producers.
2. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
BBC News, November 6, 2003
Brazil has reached a preliminary deal with the International Monetary Fund to extend its current loan. The $30bn agreement was due to expire at the end of this year, but the extension will give Brazil access to a $14bn standby loan next year.
IMF WARNS EU TO CUT SOCIAL SPENDING, REDUCE TAXES
EU must cut benefits, taxes says IMF, Business World, November 3, 2003
Europe needs more structural economic reform if EU enlargement is to succeed, said IMF managing director Horst Koehler, highlighting that benefits and taxes ought to be reduced. Benefits systems in Europe are too generous and taxes too high to expect vibrant, employment-rich growth over the medium term, he said at the opening of an annual East-West conference on economic transition within central European countries.
DEFENCE SPENDING 14 TIMES HIGHER THAN AID
World Bank Implores U.N. for Aid to Poor, Associated Press, October 30, 2003
World governments spent 14 times more money on defense last year than they did on aid to developing countries, an imbalance that must be corrected if poverty is to be alleviated, the head of the World Bank said Thursday. James Wolfensohn told a U.N. General Assembly meeting on trade, aid, debt and investment that nations spent $800 billion on defense but only $56 billion on development aid.
3. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
Stop FTAA web site
CHANGING TACK, BRAZIL PITCHES FLEXIBLE FTAA APPROACH
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES, by GERALD JEFFRIS, November 3, 2003
In an apparent shift from a hard-line stance against some U.S. trade positions, Brazil is proposing a more flexible approach on Free Trade Area of the Americas talks this month. Brazilian FTAA Coordinator Tovar da Silva Nunes said the proposed model, similar to one already presented by Canada and backed by fellow Common Market of the South, or Mercosur, members Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, would enable countries to sidestep resistance from sensitive sectors while still allowing agreement on a broad-based accord.
BRAZIL PRESIDENT, BUSINESS LEADERS VISIT MOZAMBIQUE
AFP, November 5, 2003
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrived in Mozambique yesterday during his five-nation African tour aimed partly at rallying support for his campaign against wealthy nations farm subsidies. Mozambique, like Brazil a former Portuguese colony, is one of the 22 developing countries that sank a World Trade Organisation summit in Cancun, Mexico, in September when nations of the north refused to budge on the subsidies they dole out to farmers. Lula, accompanied by several ministers and more than 100 business leaders, will also be looking at business opportunities for Brazilian companies in Mozambique during his two-day visit.
TAKING HEALTH CARE OFF [THE FTAA] TABLE
The Toronto Star, by Carol Goar, November 3, 2003
Roy Romanows health-care blueprint is about to be put to its second big test .Test #2 will be even more important. This month, trade ministers from 34 countries meet in Miami to negotiate the terms of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA). Romanow has expressed grave concern about the impact of globalization on medicare.
SUGAR, CITRUS: AT ODDS WITH BUSH
Sugar, citrus industries at odds with Bush over free trade, The Miami Herald, by PETER WALLSTEN, November, 3, 2003
Floridas citrus and sugar industries aim to leverage the states key role in President Bushs reelection bid as they shield themselves from a free trade pact Bush favors .The industry is usually happy to help Gov. Jeb Bush and his brother, President Bush, both of whom have benefited from millions of dollars in campaign contributions from sugar companies and their executives. But this message was sure to make the Bush family cringe. This industry, so closely tied to our community, is threatened by a proposal being made by the administration of President Bush, the narrator warns sternly, predicting job losses and economic devastation if plans proceed for a ``Bush free trade plan.
PRE-MIAMI FTAA TALKS
Before the talk, officials call for a pretalk, The Miami Herald, October 31, 2003ÊÊ
In a run-up to the Miami trade summit, key officials will meet near Washington next week to try to forge a consensus on the scope of the FTAA talks. U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick has proposed a last-minute mini-ministerial for Nov. 8, about a week ahead of the Miami trade summit, in an attempt to bridge differences with Brazil over the scope of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.
IRAQ BILL INCLUDES MILLIONS FOR MIAMI MEETING
Pail Beach Post, by Alex Navarro Clifton, November 4, 2003
Buried in a bill that provides money for the war in Iraq is an $8.5 million federal boost for Miami to host the Free Trade Area of the Americas conference later this month.
Passed in the House last week and the Senate Monday, the FTAA money is a single line within the massive Iraq bill.
BUSH TRADE POLICIES ANGER LATIN AMERICA
Newsday, by Andrew Reding, October 31, 2003
On the campaign trail, and after moving into the White House, George W. Bush promised a special relationship with Latin America. Instead, as dramatized by the forced resignation of the president of Bolivia and by the alliance forged by the presidents of Brazil and Argentina to resist Washingtons one-sided trade demands, U.S. hemispheric policy is in tatters.
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT ON FTAA
Current FTAA Negotiations : 8th FTAA Ministerial Meeting
8th FTAA Ministerial Meeting - Miami, Florida, November 20-21, 2003
Ministers responsible for Trade in the Americas will be meeting in Miami on November 20-21, 2003 for the 8th Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Ministerial Meeting. This meeting will mark the half-way point in the final phase of the negotiations, which are scheduled to conclude by January 2005. The Ministerial will provide an opportunity for Trade Ministers to review progress to date and to provide guidance and instructions to the Negotiating Groups and other FTAA entities. The Americas Business Forum (ABF) and the Americas Trade and Sustainable Development Forum (ATSDF), organized respectively by business and non-governmental organizations, will be held on the margins of the Trade Ministerial. People who want to obtain additional information about these events (e.g. agenda, registration, hotels), are invited to click on the links above.
U.S. SPEEDS THE PACE OF FTAA
MercoPress, November 5, 2003
United States is speeding the pace of the Free Trade Association of the Americas, FTAA and anticipated that the mini-summit of this coming weekend in Washington will help define the final accord, expected to become effective January 2005. Just in case it promised bilateral trade agreements to all those countries of the region who contribute to liberalize trade.
MINISTER GRAHAM: FOREIGN AFFAIRS, TRADE AND NAFTA
NOTES FOR AN ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE BILL GRAHAM, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, TO THE CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, BUSINESS SUMMIT 2003, October 30, 2003
For that reason, it may be smarter for us to focus on building on the success of NAFTA by continuing the reduction of barriers to investment and trade in goods and services; by looking at particular spheres where its clearly in our interests to deepen regulatory cooperation with the United States; by harmonizing standards; and by finding more effective ways of dealing with U.S. trade remedies that disrupt our highly integrated markets in steel, energy and lumber. Just this month, for instance, we and our NAFTA partners set up a new commission to promote more openness and integration in the North American steel trade market, which will touch on all these areas .
CENSUS DEAL BOMBS WITH CANADIANS
Council of Canadians Pres Release, October 20, 2003
The Council of Canadians is calling on Canadians
to take a stand against the federal governments contract with Lockheed Martin
to deliver the 2006 census. U.S. weapons giant Lockheed Martin recently signed a multi-million dollar deal to play a key role in the collection of data for the 2006 census. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Canadian
government must give equal consideration to U.S. corporations when contracting
out services such as the census. This includes corporations with questionable
records like Lockheed Martin.
NAFTA CLAIM AGAINST MEXICO: CORN SYRUP
Corn Products Intl, Inc. Submits NAFTA Claim Against Mexico, by Julianne Johnston, AgWeb.com, October 21, 2003
Corn Products International, Inc. today announced that, under the investment provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it is submitting an arbitration claim for approximately $325 million for compensation for past and potential lost profits and other damages in relation to the Government of Mexicos imposition of a discriminatory tax on soft drinks containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Minister Anderson to Appear Before House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Environment Canada Press Release, November 5, 2003
Honourable David Anderson, Minister of the Environment, will appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on Thursday, November 6, 2003. The Minister will provide the Standing Committee with an overview of major achievements on the environment and sustainable development file, as reflected in the 2003-2004 Supplementary Estimates. [Open to the public]
GOVERNMENT CUTS FUNDS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE/RETROFIT PROGRAM
Climate Action Network Action Alert, November 5, 2003
Climate Action Network (CAN) has learned through some(CAN) members
involved in delivering the much touted home retrofit program that NRCan plans to cutback the payment for doing the Energuide inspections necessary to qualify for the incentive program.
FEDERAL PANEL ON OIL & GAS MORATORIUM WORRIES ACTIVISTS
Oil and gas review hearings show large gaps in scientific data, Sierra Club of Canada BC Chapter Press Release, November 4, 2003
Presentations to a federal scientific review into lifting the West Coast offshore oil and gas moratorium were neither balanced nor comprehensive and showed there are huge gaps in scientific information, say leading environmental groups that attended the sessions. The panel that will make recommendations to the federal government on lifting the moratorium received only partial information about the effects of exploration and development, said the David Suzuki Foundation, Living Oceans Society and Sierra Club of BC.
EU: GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS TRADING DIRECTIVE ENTERS INTO FORCE
EurActiv, October 31, 2003
On 25 October, the directive establishing an EU-wide greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme entered into force. In order to minimise the economic costs of its Kyoto commitments on combating climate change, the European Union is setting up an EU-wide market for carbon dioxide emissions of companies. Under this trading scheme, around 10,000 EU companies will be able (from 1 January 2005 onwards) to buy and sell permits to emit carbon dioxide.
DEADLY INDONESIA FLOOD LINKED TO LOGGING
Deadly Indonesia flood is latest disaster linked to rampant illegal logging, AFP, November 4, 2003
A flash flood that killed at least 83 people in North Sumatra is just the latest Indonesian natural disaster linked to illegal logging and environmental devastation, an activist said Tuesday. Eighty-five percent of (natural) disasters in Indonesia are the result of environmental destruction, Longgena Ginting, executive director of the Walhi environmental watchdog, told AFP.
Agence France Presse, October 28, 2003
Foreign investment into service industries is rising, with new areas such as telecoms attracting interest from more traditional financial and trading services, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said Tuesday. The services sector attracts about 60 percent of total foreign direct investment (FDI) globally up from less than 50 percent a decade ago, the Geneva-based organisation said in a statement.
GOVERNMENT FUNDS FOR MUNICIPALITIES TO ATTRACT FOREIGN INVESTMENT
PARTNERSHIPS TO ATTRACT FOREIGN INVESTMENT, DFAIT Press Release, October 31, 2003
International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew and Industry Minister Allan Rock are pleased to announce that the Government of Canada is contributing almost $900,000 to regional and community economic development organizations to benefit municipalities and help them attract foreign investment to their regions.
CANADA TO CHAIR INTERNATIONAL PROCESS FOR CURBING TRADE IN CONFLICT DIAMONDS
DFAIT Press Release, October 31, 2003
Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham and Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced that Canada has accepted to chair the Kimberley Process (KP), beginning January 1, 2004. The KP is a South African-led international initiative to curb the global trade in conflict diamonds. Conflict diamonds originate in areas controlled by rebel groups and are used to fund military action that targets governments. Tim Martin, director of the Peacebuilding and Human Security Division at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), will succeed South Africas Abbey Chikane as the new chairperson of the Process.
JAPAN-MEXICO TRADE FOUNDERS ON JAPANS FARMERS
Asia Times, by Hussain Khan, October 23, 2003 The failure of bilateral trade talks between Mexico and Japan on October 16 has shocked both sides, particularly Japan. The talks foundered on the question of what to do about Japans farmers, among the most highly subsidized in the world and the power base of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
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.