November 27, 2003
FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) - PROTEST, CIVIL LIBERTIES
FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) - NEGOTIATIONS
WTO (World Trade Organisation) - NEGOTIATIONS
WTO (World Trade Organisation) - DISPUTES
1. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas)
FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) - PROTEST, CIVIL LIBERTIES
LEGAL UPDATE FROM MIAMI
As of November 27, 2003, three people are remaining in custody. Police misconduct reports are being received by John Rogers (mail to 9055 SW 158th Street, Miami FL 33157). Also, reports are being accepted by Amnesty International (Kris Roehling, firstname.lastname@example.org, 404-876-5661, ext 18). It is believed that at least four women were sexually assaulted while in jail. Jail support has been called-off.
AMNESTY URGES PROBE OF POLICE CONDUCT
November 27, 2003, Miami Herald, by Amy Driscoll
Amnesty International on Wednesday called for an independent investigation of police conduct during last weeks anti-free-trade protests in Miami, joining several groups who say excessive force was used. Earlier Wednesday, a civil rights coalition of labor, environmental and antiglobalization interests showed a videotaped compilation of police-protester clashes and offered firsthand accounts from arrested protesters. The tape, compiled by videographers at the scene, contained footage of one protester kneeling on the ground, apparently praying, as an advancing line of police in black riot gear bowls him over. Another sequence shows a woman using a cardboard sign Fear totalitarianism written on it as a shield as police shoot what appear to be rubber bullets at her. A close-up shows the face of one protester, blood streaming from the side of the head.
COALITION DENOUNCES POLICE ACTING AGAINST PROTESTERS, RESIDENTS
Diverse Coalition Denounces Unprecedented Militarization of Miami, Brutal Police Tactics Applied Against Activists, Residents, South Floridians for Fair Trade and Global Justice Press Release, November 25, 2003 Many demonstrations, rallies and vigils were disrupted and participants detained, attacked and arrested both during and on their way to and from events. The most recent evidence shows that approximately two hundred and 250 people were arrested. While in custody more than five people were denied medical care, food and/or water for over 14 hours. There are 10 cases of sexual harassments and four cases of sexual assault. Thirty people endured serious hand cuff abuse. Ten people were pepper sprayed or beaten while handcuffed; as well as, 10 death threats and six other threats of bodily harm. Video footage of abuses will be shown.
LEGAL OBSERVERS TARGETED BY POLICE: NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD
Miami Herald, by CORALIE CARLSON, November 23, 2003
Lawyers Guild: Eight observers arrested at FTAA talks, four beaten
Associated Press Writer Heidi Boghosian, the guilds executive director, said her group of legal observers had been unfairly targeted by police, a claim disputed by Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss.
URGENT CALL TO ACTION: FTAA PROTESTERS BRUTALIZED
Press Release: Stop The FTAA, November 24, 2003, 11:22 am
Protestors were attacked by police wielding batons, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber, wooden, and plastic bullets and other chemical agents. Over 100 protestors were treated for injuries; 12 were hospitalized. Police dispersed large groups of peaceful protestors with tear gas, pepper spray and open fire. Small groups leaving the protests were harassed, arrested and beaten. This campaign of fear and intimidation culminated in the closure and militarization of downtown Miami. There were confirmed reports of military tanks patrolling the streets after dark on Thursday night
STEELWORKERS SLAM MIAMI POLICE
USWA criticizes Miami police, The South Florida Business Journal, by Robin Londner, November 25, 2003
From Pittsburgh, United Steelworkers of America (USWA) is calling for a Congressional investigation into a massive police state the union said was created to intimidate union members and others critical of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and limit their rights during FTAA meetings in Miami last week. USWA also said it condemns the use of federal Iraq reconstruction funds to subsidize homeland repression at FTAA meetings.
UNION: POLICE BROKE PROTEST PROMISE
Miami Herald, by Amy Driscoll, November 26, 2003
Miami police reneged on their promise to give safe passage to 25 busloads of seniors who attempted to attend Thursdays AFL-CIO rally against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the leader of a retired union workers group charged Tuesday .It is despicable when in good faith you have what is referred to as the greatest generation and Im a Korean War veteran myself come down here in good faith and jump through every hoop the city of Miami asked us to jump through, Fansetta said. Calling Miami Police Chief John Timoney a junkyard dog in charge of a department that violated senior citizens rights, he said the retired union workers had negotiated with police for months to ensure smooth entry into the protest area.
TRADE PROTESTERS PLAN LEGAL ACTION
November 25, 2003, Palm Beach Post, by John Pacenti, Staff Writer
Now that the tear gas has dissipated, civil libertarians are gearing up to sue the city of Miami on a variety of constitutional issues, alleging massive police misconduct during protests of the Free Trade Area of the Americas conference. The American Civil Liberties Union says it will file a lawsuit in the next few weeks claiming illegal searches and seizures. The organization is compiling anecdotes from protesters claiming police randomly stopped them without probable cause and searched their belongings.
EDITORIAL: SILENCING THE MAJORITY ON TRADE
The Capital Times, November 22, 2003
President Bush and his business allies claim that the Free Trade Area of the Americas trading and investment agreement they are trying to negotiate would be good for the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere. But the people Bush says the FTAA would benefit disagree strongly. The next time President Bush starts touting the virtues of corporate-dictated free trade, the Washington press corps might want to ask: If the FTAA really offers all the benefits you claim, why was an army required to keep the people out of the discussion in Miami?
MINISTERIAL DECLARATION AND DRAFT TEXT
FREE TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICAS, EIGHTH MINISTERIAL MEETING
We, the Ministers Responsible for Trade in the Hemisphere, representing the 34 countries
FTAA - Free Trade of the Americas, Draft Agreement
BRAZILS RODRIGUES HAS LITTLE HOPE FOR FTAA TALKS
Reuters, November 26, 2003
Brazils agriculture minister Wednesday said he did not expect substantial advances in future talks to build a free trade area in the Americas and was more optimistic about a pact with the European Union. The comments by Roberto Rodrigues, one of Brazils key players in the trade talks, came after the United States Tuesday rejected calls it compensate commercial partners for its domestic farm subsidies as part of a plan to build the worlds largest free trade area.
FTAA MINISTERIAL LEAVES FUTURE WIDE OPEN; US MOVES TOWARD NEW BILATERALS
Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, November 26, 2003
The eighth Ministerial meeting of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) wrapped up early on 20 November with the adoption of a Declaration that by all accounts avoided tough decisions and left many options on the table. The Ministerial followed lower-level talks between the 34 future FTAA parties (see BRIDGES Weekly, 19 November 2003), and saw particularly tough negotiations between FTAA co-chairs Brazil and the US. As delegates failed to broach their wide differences, they chose to adopt a broad and vague declaration in order to prevent a failure such as the breakdown of WTO negotiations in Cancun in September and keep the talks alive.
TRADE MINISTERS GET OUT OF DODGE
The Nation, by Sarah Anderson, November 21, 2003
It was as though US and Brazilian trade negotiators feared that if they spent one more minute in Miami, the fragile image of harmony they have struggled to project would shatter in a million pieces .Caving in to pressure from Brazil and other nations, US officials agreed to allow countries to pick and choose which parts of the final FTAA they will sign on to, in addition to some minimal, as yet undetermined mandatory obligations.
If the reaction of the big-business community is any barometer, the new FTAA Ã la carte approach is good news for free-trade critics.
VENEZUELA MOVES TOWARD MERCOSUR
Pravda, November 24, 2003
After a new failure in speeding up the creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Miami last week, new political and economical alliances arise in the Latin American scenario. The United States have changed their strategy and now look to negotiate separately with each of the trade blocks or individual states in the hemisphere, to wrap up as much consensus as possible, looking forward to 2005 deadline to close the agreement. With the above in mind, US negotiators have launched two separate talks within South America: the first one, with the Andean Community (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia), and the second one with Mercosur block (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay). Washington has already signed a separate free trade deal with Chile, but now dismisses talks with Venezuela, worlds fourth largest oil exporter, and member of the Andean countries.
NO GREEN TREATY IN TRADE TREATY OF THE AMERICAS
Tierramerica, by Stephen Leahy, November 25, 2003
The environment is notably absent from the negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas. The costs of this omission could be enormous, but analysts say there is little chance that effective green clauses will be included in the hemisphere-wide treaty .In spite of the clear linkage between trade and the environment, the green agenda is being ignored in the scramble to create a pan-American trade deal, critics say.
ATLANTA BIDS FOR FTAA HQ: NEXT G8 TRIAL RUN
Governor Sees G8 as Trial Run for Luring Free Trade Group, for GlobalAtlanta, by Anoushka Leahy, November 21, 2003
Gov. Sonny Perdue last week called the G8 Summit, to be held in June at Sea Island, a trial run for Atlantas efforts to lure the Free Trade Area of the Americas secretariat to the city. Speaking to members of the states business community at a breakfast, Nov. 18, he said the summit would bring world leaders and some 7,000 government staff members from 75 countries, as well as 3,000 journalists, to coastal Georgia, posing enormous logistical and security challenges for the G8 planning committee.
CANADA ADVISED TO SEEK BILATERAL TRADE ACCORDS
Globe and Mail, by STEVEN CHASE, November 22, 2003
Canada should follow the lead of the United States and accelerate its pursuit of one-on-one trade deals in the Western Hemisphere after this weeks move to water down free-trade area of the Americas talks, experts say. The FTAA as an idea, as a subject to be warmly endorsed in communiquÚs, remains alive, but . . . its days are probably done in terms of providing a forum for serious negotiations, Bill Dymond, executive director of the Centre for Trade Policy and Law in Ottawa, said yesterday.
THE DAY THE FTAA DIED - NAOMI KLEIN
Globe and Mail, by Naomi Klein, November 25, 2003
And yet, despite the Bush brothers best efforts, the dream of a hemisphere united into a single free-market economy died last week. It was killed not by demonstrators in Miami, but by the populations of Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia, which have let their politicians know that if they sign away any more power to foreign multinationals, they may as well not come home.
BRAZIL SAYS TOUGHEST FTAA TALKS TO COME
Reuters, by Natuza Nery, November 21, 2003 Brazils agriculture minister on Friday said a Miami meeting to build an Americas free trade area was neither a victory nor disaster but set the stage for tough talks on whether a pact could be built. Roberto Rodrigues said the 34 nations in the Americas all but Cuba still had to hammer out a deal to build the worlds biggest trade zone and tackle thorny issues like compensation for U.S. domestic farm subsidies . I think the countries saved the Miami meeting but they didnt save the FTAA, said Jank, a professor at the University of Sao Paulo.
WALDEN BELLO: US BACKS DOWN TO AVOID ANOTHER CANCUN
Focus on the Global South, by WALDEN BELLO, November 25, 2003
The Bush administration was in Miami last week to dictate terms to the countries of North and South America, but those who thwarted the US and Europe at Cancun were again successful. Washington has tried to paint the meeting of ministers of the Free Trade of the Americas in Miami last week as a success, but this was far from the case.
For more from Walden on FTAA (November 20, 2003 article):
A WELCOME FAILURE
Mother Jones, November 24, 2003
Ultimately, Miami had become another meeting that failed to meet its goals. Instead, of announcing the creation of the NAFTA of the Americas, trade ministers signed onto a deal dubbed FTAA light, providing a core agreement for all countries to sign, but allowing each nation to opt out of the most controversial measures. While this watered-down deal is expected to meet the 2005 deadline, does it really deserved to be celebrated as some long-awaited victory?
2. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
WTO (World Trade Organisation) - NEGOTIATIONS
WTO HEAD WELCOMES BRAZIL PLAN
Reuters, November 22, 2003
Key players in world trade should meet in early December as proposed by Brazil to inject new momentum into deadlocked global talks, the head of the World Trade Organization has said .Brazil last month called for a meeting between the European Union, the United States and the G20 group of developing countries that faced up to rich nations at the failed WTO meeting in Cancun, Mexico, over farm subsidies and other issues.
NO NEW ISSUES - INDIA ECONOMIC SUMMIT
Economic Summit seeks openness in WTO negotiations, Business Standard, November 26, 2003
The India Economic Summit, which concluded today, suggested that no new issues should be added to the Doha Agenda of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and called for making the global trade body transparent. The summit suggested the formation of a decision-making body within the WTO, which will consist of 20 most populous countries, 20 richest nations and 10 countries elected by the remaining 108 member countries. This group of 50 countries will formulate decisions that will be binding on the group of 40 (20 + 20) nations.
ELECTION POSTURING STALLING PROGRESS AT WTO
Poll spectre looms over WTO talks, Business Standard Economy Bureau, November 25, 2003
With World Trade Organisation members refusing to budge from their stated positions, the special session in Geneva next month could also go the Cancun way in the backdrop of elections in many member countries, including the Untied States .Countries like India and the Philippines, where Parliamentary elections are due in the near future, are also not willing to offer any concessions. They believe such a move will be seen as a retrograde step in the domestic constituency. Trade economist Arvind Pangariya is of the opinion that things will progress only after the US elections are over. This means the WTO will not be able to stick to its December 31 deadline for the completion of talks.
AFRICAN MEMBERS BREATHE LIFE INTO G-20 TRADE BLOC
Business Day (Johannesburg), November 24, 2003
NEW life appears to have been breathed into the Group of 20 (G-20) a trade-related cluster of more than 20 developing countries formed prior to Septembers failed Cancun world trade talks, to battle agricultural subsidies and protection in rich markets. Key members of the group have come together to form a new post-Cancun strategy suggesting that recent reports of the G-20s demise were much exaggerated. The group appeared to be losing momentum last month, when five South American countries withdrew from it, but that setback has been reversed thanks to new support among African countries.
JAPAN SUBMITS TO WTO LIST OF RETALIATORY TARIFFS AGAINST US
Japan Today, November 26, 2003
Japan submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday a list of retaliatory tariffs to be imposed against the United States if the U.S. does not lift the steel import curbs it put in place in March 2002, Japanese trade officials said. The total value of the possible retaliatory measures presented to the WTO amounts to about $85 million, the officials said. (Kyodo News)
EU RETALIATION AGAINST US STEEL TARIFF MAY START NEXT WEEK
New Zealand Herald, November 25, 2003
The European Union could unleash sanctions worth more than US$2 billion ($3.1billion) against the United States over illegal steel duties by the end of next week, several days earlier than previously thought, trade sources said on Monday.
WTO TO ADOPT STEEL RULING
AFP, November 25, 2003
THE WTO will adopt a ruling against US steel tariffs on December 1, enabling the EU to slap billions of dollars in sanction on US goods five days later unless Washington complies with the decision. The ruling, which found US tariffs on selected steel imports flouted international rules and should be amended, would be adopted on the same day the World Trade Organisations dispute settlement body meets .In June 2002, the 15-nation bloc warned it would automatically slap tariffs worth $US2.2 billion ($3.05 billion) on a range of US imports five days after the formal adoption of the WTO decision, namely December 6.
WTO [STEEL] RULING TO OPEN WAY TO US-EU TRADE WAR
Green Left Weekly, by EVA CHENG, November 26, 2003
A trade war is threatening to sweep across the Atlantic as the United States lost an appeal at the World Trade Organisation on November 10 against a July WTO dispute panel ruling that tariffs of up to 30% that US President George Bush declared in March last year on many steel imports are contrary to WTO rules .Because of the huge size of its common market, the EU has economic clout comparable to Washington and can afford to retaliate. Japan, South Korea, Brazil and China are among the other complainants, but they have not indicated what, if anything, they will do to retaliate against the US.
EUROPE GROPES FOR CONSENSUS ON GMO CROPS
Reuters, November 26, 2003
Europe struggled to reach common ground on genetically modified (GM) crops Tuesday, with Britains top adviser unable to provide clear guidelines for their use in the U.K. while an upcoming EU vote to lift a five-year ban on biotech products is too close to call .In a keenly-awaited report, the UKs Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission (AEBC) called for strict rules governing the sowing of GM crops, but without clear proposals it makes a vital government decision next year much more difficult .The AEBC said its members could not agree whether the acceptable limit of GM material in food should be set at 0.1 percent, as demanded by Britains increasingly influential organic food lobby, or 0.9 percent as suggested by the biotechnology industry and the EU Commission.
3. NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
Green Left Weekly, by DAVID BACON, November 26, 2003
In a few weeks, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be 10 years old .In one of lifes ironies, successive secretaries of the US Department of Labor among NAFTAs most ardent supporters have kept close track of the treatys high cost in US jobs. By 2002, the department had certified that 408,000 workers qualified for extensions of unemployment benefits, because their employers moved their jobs south of the border. Most observers believe this is a vast undercount. According to NAFTA at Seven, a report by the Economic Policy Institute, NAFTA eliminated 766,030 actual and potential US jobs between 1994 and 2000 because of the rapid growth in the net US export deficit with Mexico and Canada.
MORE THAN $2 MILLION TO MITIGATE ON SOFTWOOD
Canada Economic Development invests $430,794 to mitigate the impact of the softwood lumber crisis and diversify the economy in the GaspÚ and Canada Economic Development invests $1,776,600 to mitigate impact of softwood lumber crisis in Chaudiere-Appalaches, November 26, 2003
WHEAT BOARD APPEALS EXPORT RULING
Regina Leader-Post, November 25, 2003
The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) is appealing an International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling Oct. 4 that exports of Canadian hard red spring wheat caused injury to U.S. farmers. A wheat board spokesperson said Mondays action is just the first step in the lengthy process of appealing a trade ruling under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
UNEP and UNESCO Call Emergency Meeting to Save Great Apes, UNEP Press Release, November 26, 2003
Twenty five million dollars is urgently needed to lift the threat of imminent extinction from humankinds closest living relatives, delegates to an international crisis meeting on the great apes were told today at UNESCO headquarters in Paris .Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director. The clock is standing at one minute to midnight for the great apes, animals that share more than 96 per cent of their DNA with humans. If we lose any great ape species we will be destroying a bridge to our own origins, and with it part of our own humanity, he said .Every one of the great ape species is at high risk of extinction, either in the immediate future or at best within 50 years.
*** OVER 12 THOUSAND SPECIES ON RED LIST
Nature Body Warns of Wildlife Extinction Threat, Reuters, November 19, 2003
All are among a total of 12,259 varieties of animal, plant and water life described as critically-endangered in this years version of the IUCNs Red List - the key reference for biologists tracking the state of the planets health.
BILLIONS FACE WATER SHORTAGES AS GLACIERS MELT - WWF
Reuters, November 28, 2003
The worlds glaciers could melt within a century if global warming accelerates, leaving billions of people short of water and some islanders without a home, environmentalists said Thursday. Unless governments take urgent action to prevent global warming, billions of people worldwide may face severe water shortages as a result of the alarming melting rate of glaciers, the WWF group said in a report .Officials from 180 nations will meet in Milan on December 1-12 to discuss international efforts to rein in a rise in global temperatures, blamed by scientists on emissions of gases from factories and cars that are blanketing the planet. Simulations project that a 4.0 Celsius (8.0 F) rise in temperature would eliminate nearly all of the worlds glaciers by the end of the century, WWF said.
EU CARBON SCHEME MAY BE GPPD FOR AIR AND INVESTORS
Reuters, November 27, 2003
Environmentalists will not be alone in celebrating a planned European scheme to cut carbon emissions if, as utilities analysts predict, shareholders in some power companies see the value of their investments rise sharply. The new regime, which will give every generator in Europe stringent emissions targets, is aimed at enabling countries meet their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.Ê
UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: DEC 1-12
MILAN CONFERENCE TO PROMOTE STRONGER NATIONAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, UNEP Press Release, November 26, 2003
The 188 Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Convention are meeting in Milan from 1 to 12 December to assess progress in addressing climate change, and to set the global agenda for the coming year. The fact that 2003 is on track to be one of the warmest years on record should be a warning that we must all take seriously.
Hunger increasing around the world after earlier decline - UN food agency, UN News, November 26, 2003
With almost 850 million people undernourished, global hunger is again rising after dropping during the early 1990s, the United Nations food agency says in its annual hunger report. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the statistics in The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2003, released yesterday, are so poor that the World Food Summits goal of halving the number of undernourished people by 2015 cannot be achieved. Some 842 million people worldwide were estimated by the FAO to be undernourished in 1999-2001, with only Latin America and the Caribbean reporting an overall decrease in the number of hungry since the mid-1990s. Almost all of the undernourished live in developing countries.
END ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: ANNAN
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR TRANSFORMATION IN MENS ATTITUDES TO END ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, Message to Mark International Day also Urges Changes in Oppressive Laws, Practices, Institutions
Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annans message to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November:
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is a call to action on behalf of countless women around the world whose daily lives are marred by violence and abuse. Gender-based violence is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace. This age-old scourge is taking on new dimensions in the twenty-first century.Ê
10,000 CONVERGE TO PROTEST SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS
School of the Americas Watch Press Release, November 23, 2003
10,000 Converge on Ft. Benning; Nuns, Priests, Veterans, Students Arrested after Committing Civil Disobedience to Close School of Americas
in the most diverse demonstration yet of opposition to the School of the Americas, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHISC), a combat-training school for Latin American soldiers. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, disappeared, and massacred by SOA graduates, according to participating groups.
CRITICS ROAST OXFAM
Critic roasts Oxfam: Wants funding pulled, TORONTO SUN, by IAN MCDOUGALL,
November 24, 2003
Federal money should be withheld from Oxfam Canada if the relief agency is going to become a protest movement, says the Canadian Alliance international development critic. It is quite obvious they are moving into political activism, said Deepak Obhrai yesterday after viewing Oxfam Canadas Web site. Oxfam is supposed to be an international development body, not a political activism group.
RACE AND AMERICAN JOBS: ANALYSIS
The Outsourcing of Americas Jobs, FinalCall.com News, by Harry R. Davidson, Ph.D., November 24, 2003
Indentured servitude and slavery provided an essentially free labor force. As a result of the freedom and worker movements, these systems were eventually upgraded to wage slavery. Under this system, workers were paid minimal wages and worked long hours to acquire the bare essentials. Workers were forced to agree to labor to acquire various levels of food, lodging, education, health and transportation .However, as a result of the rising cost of American labor power-brokering, American companies organized to develop counter strategies.
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.