People, Trade & the Environment
Tools & Information for Activists
February 24, 2003
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
* WTO ALLOWS $385 MILLION IN PUNATIVE TARIFFS AGAINST CANADA
* ARBITRATOR AUTHORIZES BRAZIL TO IMPOSE UP TO US$248 MILLION
* WTO ALLOWS MEA REPRESENTATIVES TO ATTEND NEGOTIATIONS
* TOKYO MINI-MINISTERIAL FAILS TO DELIVER RESULTS
* PARLIAMENTARIANS DEBATE TRADE
* KENYAS TRADE MINISTER FRUSTRATED
* PAKISTAN WONT HIT TELECOM DEREGULATION TARGET
* MP LINKS CANADIAN DAIRY TO SOFTWOOD DEBACLE
WTO & Agriculture
* WTO PLAN SHAKES CANADIAN POSITION
* WTO DRAFT AG PLAN REVEALS WEAKNESS IN CANADIAN TRADE POSITION
* US FARMERS ACCUSE US GOVERNMENT OF DUMPING
WTO & Access to Drugs
* WTO DEADLOCKED OVER DRUGS FOR POOR STATES
* MINING COMPANIES CONSIDER HEALTH BENEFITS FOR WORKERS
2. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
* WHEN HEAT IS A LUXURY: WORLD BANK REPORT
* IMF DEAL WITH BULGARIA INCLUDES LABOUR REFORM AND WORKFARE
* MARKET ACCESS: WHATS IN IT FOR AFRICA
3. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
* CANADA FILES DEFENCE IN UPS CHAPTER 11 CHALLENGE
* INDECISION DELAYED SOFTWOOD PACKAGE
* QUESTION TO PETTIGREW: SOFTWOOD UPDATE
* SOFTWOOD SHIPMENTS SOAR WHILE PROFITS SINK
* SIDES TRYING TO SALVAGE LUMBER TALKS
* CEC/UNEP TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT MEETINGS
* ANTI-NAFTA PETITION PRESENTED
* STATEMENT OF CONCERN FOR FRASER VALLEY ENERGY PROJECT
* US SUES CANADIAN COMPANY OVER MAGNETIC CANCER CURE
* CANADA URGES G7 TO CUT SUBSIDIES
* G7 MINISTERIAL - FINAL STATEMENT
* G7 WILL TAKE NECESSARY MEASURES IN CASE OF WAR
* BUDGET 2003: MONEY FOR ENHANCING CANADA-US TRADE AND HIPC
* FEDERAL BUDGET SPURS PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC SERVICES
* CHINA PUSHING FOR FREE TRADE ZONE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
* SLAVE TRADE MOST RAMPANT IN ASIA-PACIFIC
* INDIA CALLS FOR NON-ALIGNED NATIONS TO LEAD INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL REFORM
* CHILEAN NGOS SEEK INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FOR PATAGONIA
* BRAZILIAN GOVT CONFRONTS TRANSGENIC CROPS DILEMMA
* MEXICOS MAIZE UNDER THREAT FROM GENETIC MODIFICATION
* DEVELOPMENT OF BIOTECH CROPS IS BOOMING IN ASIA
* WORLD CONFERENCE CALLS FOR FEMINIST REFORM OF UNIONS
* AID DELAYS DEEPEN ERITREAS DRAUGHT CRISIS
* CONFERENCE: 100 MILLION TOBACCO JOBS
* UNDP RELEASES CONTROVERSIAL REPORT ON GLOBAL TRADE
* CHRETIEN TO VISIT MEXICO
* PROPOSAL FOR WINDMILLS IN LAKE ONTARIO
People, Trade and the Environment is a publication of the Sierra Club of Canada. This digest is available on-line at http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/trade-env/people-trade-environment/
Many thanks to Maeve Sullivan and others for their research and assistance. For information or comments, to subscribe or unsubscribe, please contact: Sarah Dover, email@example.com
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
***** WTO ALLOWS $385 MILLION IN PUNATIVE TARIFFS AGAINST CANADA *****
Published in the National Post, February 18, 2003
WTO arbitrators re-confirmed yesterday that Brazil has the green light to impose $385-million in punitive tariffs against Canada in a dispute over aircraft subsidies. Brazil had asked permission to slap more than $5-billion in countermeasures. But the WTO said Brazil made assumptions that were not sustainable. The dispute focuses on Brazils complaint about subsidies granted by Canada to obtain contracts for Bombardier with some US airlines. WTO experts ruled Canada had granted export subsidies by providing loans below market rates to the airline and recommended Canada withdraw the subsidy by last May. But Canada did not comply.
***** ARBITRATOR AUTHORIZES BRAZIL TO IMPOSE UP TO US$248 MILLION *****
Arbitrator authorises Brazil to impose up to US$ 248 million in countermeasures in aircraft dispute, WTO Press Release, 17 February 2003
The WTO, on 17 February 2003, released the Decision by the Arbitrator in the case Canada Export credits and loan guarantees for regional aircraft. The Arbitrator determined that the appropriate amount of countermeasures that Brazil could apply pursuant to Article 4.10 of the Subsidies Agreement was US$ 248 million. Noting ongoing consultations, the Arbitrator gave the opinion that a mutually satisfactory agreement between the two parties addressing the issues dealt with in this case in their broader context would be the most appropriate solution in the dispute.
***** WTO ALLOWS MEA REPRESENTATIVES TO ATTEND NEGOTIATIONS *****
EU welcomes WTO move to allow UN Environment Programme and Multilateral Environment Agreements to attend negotiations, EU Trade Press Release, 20 February 2003
The EU today warmly welcomed the World Trade Organisations decision to allow officials from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) to attend WTO negotiations on the environment on an ad hoc basis. EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said: The Doha Development Agenda is supposed to support sustainable development. That is why we must make sure that organisations with environment expertise such as UNEP and certain MEAs can be present at these talks.
***** TOKYO MINI-MINISTERIAL FAILS TO DELIVER RESULTS *****
BRIDGES Weekly Trade Digest, 19 February 2003
Trade ministers from 22 countries, meeting in Tokyo from 14-16 February for a second mini-Ministerial since the launch of the Doha round of trade negotiations in November 2001, made little progress in resolving a number of ongoing deadlocks at the WTO. The threat of war in Iraq loomed over the meeting, and the rifts between the US and the EU over the war also complicated the trade talks. Ahead of the meeting, WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi warned that we are facing imminent gridlock. Only tightly focused political energy can avoid it. Highlighting negotiations on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) and access to essential medicines for poor countries, and special and differential treatment (S&D) for developing counties, he said failure to make real progress on [these issues] has deepened suspicions among developing countries that the Development part of the Doha Development Agenda may be little more than a slogan.
***** PARLIAMENTARIANS DEBATE TRADE *****
BRIDGES Weekly Trade Digest, 19 February 2003
A Parliamentary Conference on the WTO met in Geneva from 17-18 February, with 140 parliamentarians from 65 countries in attendance. Organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the European Parliament (EP), the conference focused on access to markets, development dimension of the multilateral trading system, technical assistance and capacity building, agriculture, subsidies, and special and differential treatment. Carlos Westendorp, President of the Parliamentary Commission of Industry, Foreign Trade, Research and Energy of the EP, said we are convinced that we have to give a parliamentary dimension to the WTO in order to increase its transparency and improve the democratic legitimacy of its activities.
***** KENYAS TRADE MINISTER FRUSTRATED *****
Kenya: Trade minister expresses frustration with WTO conference, KBC radio - Nairobi, (BBC Monitoring), 19 Feb 03
Trade and Industry Minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi has dismissed the just-concluded World Trade Organization ministers conference, saying it did not reach a consensus on the issues raised by African countries
.He said the West had continued to drag its feet on matters regarding agricultural subsidies and access to cheap generic drugs under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Treaty.
***** PAKISTAN WONT HIT TELECOM DEREGULATION TARGET *****
Commitment to WTO unlikely to be fulfilled: Issuance of new telecom licenses, Dawn, 19 February 2003 Pakistans commitment to the WTO that new telecom licenses will be given to operators before January 1, 2004 is not likely to be fulfilled as 10 to 15 months will be required to issue licenses after the cabinet approves the draft deregulation policy, an informed source told Dawn
.Mr Leghari said efforts were being made to ensure transparency and fairness in the deregulation policy on telecommunication. The government, he added, was committed to announcing an investor-friendly policy, in which interests of all the stakeholders, including the investors and the end users, would be ensured.
***** MP LINKS CANADIAN DAIRY TO SOFTWOOD DEBACLE *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Mr. Guy St-Julien (Lib): Mr. Speaker, on February 14 in Val-dOr, I met with a number of farmers
about their concerns over the federal governments delay in recognizing their right to recover their production costs as well as ensuring greater protection against imported dairy products. Foreign countries such as the United States and others have created substitutes to get around tariff quotas. These substitutes are used increasingly in food production but, because of current labelling rules in Canada, consumers are unaware of the composition or origins of such foods. After softwood lumber, Bush is now imposing illegal butter oil on us. The Canadian government must close the U.S.-Canada border to such products and put the truth back into food labelling for the health of Canadians.
WTO & AGRICULTURE
***** WTO PLAN SHAKES CANADIAN POSITION *****
Western Producer, by Barry Wilson, 24 February 2003
The chair of agricultural negotiations at the World Trade Organization has published controversial proposals that Canadian critics say would lead to the destruction of supply management and the Canadian Wheat Board
.It suggests phasing out export subsidies over six to nine years, reducing tariffs by an average 60 percent over the implementation period with at least a 45 percent cut for each commodity and sharp cuts in domestic subsidies. State trading enterprises such as the Canadian Wheat Board would face a phase-out of monopoly export powers, the ability to guarantee financing of export sales and the option of selling at less than domestic purchase prices.
***** WTO DRAFT AG PLAN REVEALS WEAKNESS IN CANADIAN TRADE POSITION *****
CNW, February 20, 2003
A draft report by the World Trade Organization (WTO) underscores the need for Canada to take a more proactive stance on agriculture trade reform, says the association representing one of the countrys biggest buyers of Canadian farm products, the $42-billion foodservice industry. While the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) views the report released last week by WTO agriculture chairman Stuart Harbinson as a small step forward, it has two serious concerns about the current state of WTO negotiations
Even if tariffs were reduced by 45%, as suggested in the Harbinson report, dairy and poultry producers would still be protected by tariffs 16 times higher than other protected industries such as textiles with a 9.9% tariff.
***** US FARMERS ACCUSE US GOVERNMENT OF DUMPING *****
U.S. Farm Group Accuses United States Of Dumping Farm Products On World, Urges Tariffs, Associated Press, by John Rice, February 19, 2003
A U.S.-based farm activist Wednesday accused U.S. companies of damaging poor farmers abroad by dumping below-cost crops on their markets. Mark Ritchie, president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, said cheap crops hurt both U.S. and foreign farmers. The low prices for grain, corn in particular, has created a crisis for farmers in the United States just as it is creating a crisis for farmers here in Mexico, he told a news conference.
WTO & ACCESS TO DRUGS
***** WTO DEADLOCKED OVER DRUGS FOR POOR STATES *****
Dawn/The Guardian News Service, by Sarah Boseley & Charlotte Denny, 21 February 2003 It took just two hours on Wednesday for representatives from 145 countries to abandon their latest attempt to decide how and even whether the poorest people in the world should get access to affordable medicines
.The 2002 deadline for the WTOs agreement on trade and related property rights (Trips) is long past and no one would want to take a heavy bet now on a deal before trade ministers meet in Cancun, Mexico, in September. Yet if the issue of medicines for the poor is not settled by then, there is talk that Cancun could be another Seattle, where anger at the rich worlds refusal to make concessions to the poor spills out on to the streets.
***** MINING COMPANIES CONSIDER HEALTH BENEFITS FOR WORKERS *****
Published in the Globe and Mail, February 19, 2003
Faced with the statistics that suggest more than a quarter of their workers may be infected with HIV-AIDS, some Canadian mining companies operating in Africa are considering supplying free drugs to fight the deadly scourge. We already have several programs around HIV - education programs, handing out condoms to employees - a number of those things we have instituted already, said Brenda Radies, a spokeswoman for Vancouver-based Placer Dome Inc. Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. has also considered the strategy at its operations in Tanzania, said spokesman Vincent Borg. Such a step would see the Canadians companies join dozens of South African and multinational corporations that are providing antiteroviral medicines to infected employees in Africa.
2. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
***** WHEN HEAT IS A LUXURY: WORLD BANK REPORT *****
When Heat Is a Luxury: New report finds that heating can be made more affordable to Europe and Central Asias poorest, World Bank Press Release, February 24, 2003
For many poor people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, fully heated homes have become a luxury rather than a necessity
.The poor are more likely to use cheaper but dirtier fuels such as coal, wood, and kerosene, which have high social and environmental costs, including health problems, air pollution, and deforestation, said Anke Meyer, who co-authored the report. We know of many families living in apartment blocks in Moldovan or Armenian cities who can only afford to heat one single room with a homemade wood- or coal-fired stove. And still, as a share of their household budget, the poor typically spend almost twice as much on heating as those who are not poor, she added.
***** IMF DEAL WITH BULGARIA INCLUDES LABOUR REFORM AND WORKFARE *****
BulgariaLetter of Intent, Supplementary Memorandum of Economic Policies, IMF Press Release, January 22, 2003
We will continue efforts to amend the labor code in order to deregulate labor relations. In particular, revisions would aim to decentralize collective labor negotiations to the enterprise level and increase the role and responsibility of involved parties, including through adequate representation of employers and employees in the tripartite councils. We will initiate public discussions to push forward amendments to reduce procedural costs of dismissing workers, and facilitate more flexible forms of employment, organization of work, as well as wage agreements. Finally, we envisage providing up to 100,000 community services jobs for long-term unemployed through our expanded active labor market policies. A work test has been introduced for the first time and refusal to take public works jobs will result in losing eligibility for social assistance for one year.
***** MARKET ACCESS: WHATS IN IT FOR AFRICA *****
Unrestricted Market Access For Sub-Saharan Africa: How much is it worth and who pays?, World Bank Development Research Group
[Note: QUAD refers to Canada, EU, Japan and US, and SSA-37 refers to a subset of 37 Sub-Saharan African countries]
Unrestricted access for all products to the entire QUAD market would produce significant benefits for SSA-37 a $2.5 billion (14 percent) increase in non-oil exports and a $1.8 billion (1.2 percent) increase in welfare. Most of the gains would come from preferential access to the highly protected Japanese and European markets for agricultural products. In contrast, some of the less ambitious initiatives that have been announced would have hardly any effect. For instance, the elimination of barriers only in the United States market or only on industrial products in the Japanese market would not result in any meaningful gains for SSA-37.
3. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
***** CANADA FILES DEFENCE IN UPS CHAPTER 11 CHALLENGE *****
United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS) v. Government of Canada
Statement of Defence of the Government of Canada - February 7, 2003
***** INDECISION DELAYED SOFTWOOD PACKAGE *****
Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, February 18, 2003
The federal government was poised to announce - but then abruptly cancelled - a $600-million softwood lumber aid package last Summer, which included a controversial $400-million loan program for struggling companies, according to a document obtained yesterday. Political aides and bureaucrats had prepared news releases and other documents for an elaborate announcement on Aug. 8 involving several Ministers who would reveal the details simultaneously in Quebec, Ontario and BC. But all went silent just days before the target date because of Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwals inability to convince his Cabinet colleagues, or top BC government and industry officials, that the loan program wouldnt exacerbate the Canada-US trade battle. A scaled down program totalling $247-million was announced on Oct. 8.
***** QUESTION TO PETTIGREW: SOFTWOOD UPDATE *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, Friday, February 21, 2003
Mr. John Duncan: Mr. Speaker, U.S. car buyers have filed an antitrust class action lawsuit against Canadian and U.S. automakers, alleging collusion to raise prices only in the U.S. U.S. consumers have expressed similar concerns that the Canada-U.S. softwood discussions will lead to agreement to increase softwood lumber prices only in the U.S. What is the Minister of Trade doing during the current talks in Washington to ensure that Canadian forest stakeholders and his own department are not involved in violations of U.S. antitrust law?
Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, clearly this is a very important dimension to the discussions that are taking place right now. The chief executive officers of our softwood lumber industry are in Washington because, as a government, we want to work closely with them and consult with them. What we are trying to do in the present negotiations with Mr. Aldonas is identify a resolution to the present dispute. This will be done by correcting and improving our forestry management practices and eliminating the countervailing and antidumping duties that is being applied to our softwood lumber in the United States right now.
***** SOFTWOOD SHIPMENTS SOAR WHILE PROFITS SINK *****
Published in the National Pose, February 21, 2003
Canadian lumber shipments hit record levels in 2002 even though much of the product wasnt making much money for its producers, speakers at the Canadian Lumbermens Association Convention said yesterday. Producers say they are losing money or profiting little on their exports to the United States, due to low prices and a punishing duty of 27.2 per cent imposed by the United States since last May 22. And economists are forecasting even lower lumber prices in 2003. Total softwood lumber shipments hit 30.9 million board feet, compared with 27.5 million in 2001 when there was a slight dip in a trend that has generally been on the rise for the last 25 years.
***** SIDES TRYING TO SALVAGE LUMBER TALKS *****
Published in the National Post, Financial Post, Globe & Mail, February 24, 2003
Talks aimed at ending the Canada-US softwood lumber dispute continued to inch ahead yesterday after a near collapse on Saturday over the latest draft plan to bring the four timber producing provinces in line with US demands. Industry and government sources said the Quebec delegation threatened to abandon the Washington talks because of conditions being imposed on the provinces to reform their timber management practices. However, Quebec officials said last night that they intended to stay with the talks into the week. The same sources said that Grant Aldonis, the top US Softwood Negotiator, and Doug Waddell, the Canadian Senior Negotiator, were trying to salvage the talks.
***** CEC/UNEP TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT MEETINGS *****
CEC Web Site, February 23, 2003
Trade and Environment in the Americas is a collaboration between the CEC and the United Nations Environment Programme. Its a weeklong series of meeting beginning 24 March 2003 in Mexico City.
***** ANTI-NAFTA PETITION PRESENTED *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, February 17, 2003
Mr. Svend Robinson (NDP): Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by residents from British Columbia and indeed from across Canada, in particular the Citizens Concerned About Free Trade of Saskatoon. They raise concerns about the history of job loss and other adverse impacts of the free trade agreement and the NAFTA. They point to the Liberal Partys 1993 election promise which was broken on this subject. In the name of democracy and the future of Canada, they call upon the House to instruct the government to fulfill its election promise, give the required six months notice to the U.S. and Mexico and cancel the FTA and NAFTA without delay.
***** STATEMENT OF CONCERN FOR FRASER VALLEY ENERGY PROJECT *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Mr. Chuck Strahl: Mr. Speaker, the National Energy Board has now postponed hearings into the Sumas Energys application to hook up its proposed power plant to the North American power grid in my riding. While any delay in this project is welcome, it also typifies the chaotic process that has haunted this project from the beginning. The people of B.C. are united in their opposition to this project because of concerns for the sensitive Fraser Valley airshed. We also share a disappointment that our federal Minister of the Environment has failed to take the leadership role expected of him, and so the project continues its slow but inexorable march toward completion. Where is the minister when we need him?
***** US SUES CANADIAN COMPANY OVER MAGNETIC CANCER CURE *****
Government sues Canadian company touting Zoetron magnetic cancer cure, by Connie Cass, Associated Press, 20 February 2003
The government is suing a Canadian company that charged hundreds of cancer patients $15,000 each to undergo electromagnetic treatments at a Mexican clinic, saying the company made false claims that may have cost some people their lives. A Tijuana clinic that performed CSCT Inc.s cell specific cancer therapy for at least five years was shut down by Mexican authorities as a result of a cooperative investigation between the three nations, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Thursday. The Canadian Competition Bureau has opened a criminal probe, a Canadian official said, but no charges have been filed.
***** OTTAWA TO SUMMON OIL BOSSES *****
Reported by the Globe and Mail, February 20, 2003
A key Parliamentary Committee plans to call the heads of Canadas biggest oil companies to justify the soaring cost of gasoline, even as further price hikes loom as crude oil pushes toward a 12-year high. The House of Commons Industry, Science and Technology Committee voted this week to summon the heads of Canadas integrated oil companies - which have extraction, refining and retail operations - to justify the record-high prices for gasoline. The Committee also plans to examine the economic damage resulting from high energy prices.
***** MACKENZIE DEAL TO SPARK ARCTIC EXPLORATION PUSH *****
Reported by the National Post, Financial Pose, February 20, 2003
Oil and gas exploration in the Canadian Arctic is expected to ramp-up now that northern Aboriginal Leaders have hammered out a deal that moves ahead plans for a $3-billion Mackenzie Valley pipeline. The Aboriginal Pipeline Group confirmed yesterday it has reached a tentative financing agreement that would provide them with $70-million needed for preliminary design work for the development - and up to $300-million for equity if the line is built. It is understood the deal has been made with TransCanada PipeLines Ltd., which has expressed an interest in building the line, but wouldnt comment yesterday. The deal would clear a major hurdle to the construction of the line and would open the door to development of one the last remaining basins in North America at a time when widespread natural gas declines are boosting prices.
***** CANADA URGES G7 TO CUT SUBSIDIES *****
Reuters, February 24 2003
Canadian finance minister John Manley, called on the Group of Seven (G7) at the weekend to cut farm subsidies. He was speaking one day after French President Jacques Chiracs call for a temporary moratorium on export subsidies at a summit with African leaders. Manley told his colleagues from the US, France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Japan - major traders of food on world markets - that reducing subsidies was the best way to push forward global trade liberalisation talks
.Agriculture accounts for roughly half of global economic output. Developing nations from Africa, Asia and Latin America have long complained that export and production subsidies by rich countries squeezed them out of world food markets.
***** G7 MINISTERIAL - FINAL STATEMENT *****
Statement of G-7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, Paris, France - February 22, 2003
***** G7 WILL TAKE NECESSARY MEASURES IN CASE OF WAR *****
G7 Will Support Global Economy in Case of Iraq War, World Bank Web Site, 23 February 2003
The worlds seven most industrialized countries will take the necessary measures if a conflict in Iraq penalizes the global economy, La Tribune (France, 2/24) reports following the G7 finance ministers meeting in Paris at the weekend. Officially, notes Le Monde (France, 2/23), the thorny issue of Iraq was not on the agenda for the meeting, but sources say US Treasury Secretary John Snow and French Finance Minister Francis Mer did discuss the issue on Friday. And the worlds financial leaders had to discuss the possibility of lowering interest rates and adjusting fiscal constraints and oil policies that could be used in case of a further rise in oil prices.
***** BUDGET 2003: MONEY FOR ENHANCING CANADA-US TRADE AND HIPC *****
Budget 2003 - Budget Plan, Chapter 6, Canada in the World, Enhancing CanadaU.S. Trade
with the U.S. accounting for 87 per cent of Canadas total exports of goods, and nearly $2 billion in trade crossing the CanadaU.S. border daily, further ongoing efforts are required to promote and advance Canadas trade and economic interests in the U.S., especially in new areas of opportunity. Budget 2003 commits $11 million in new funding over the next two years
This years $75-million contribution to the World Bank-administered HIPC Trust Fund brings Canadas total contribution to multilateral HIPC [heavily indebted poor countries] efforts, involving both the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, to over $315 million.
***** FEDERAL BUDGET SPURS PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC SERVICES *****
CUPE Press Release
Theres a few drops in a lot of buckets but at the end of the day, it doesnt amount to much. After ten years of broken promises, Jean Chrétiens legacy budget finally provides some funding for health care, child care, water systems and housing, but the amounts are far short of whats needed or what was possible, given current surpluses. To make matters worse, the budget will open the floodgates to privatization, pushing P3s in urban services and funneling social spending through big business, which means services will suffer to bolster corporate profits.
***** CHINA PUSHING FOR FREE TRADE ZONE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA *****
ABC Radio Australia News, 19 February 2003
Chinas Premier, Zhu Rongji, has told his Thai counterpart that Beijing is eager to push forward the establishment of a regional Southeast Asian free trade zone. He made the comments in talks with Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The Peoples Daily newspaper quoted Premier Zhu as saying that efforts to establish a Sino-ASEAN free trade zone were of important and far-sighted significance. ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, comprises the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Indonesia.
***** SLAVE TRADE MOST RAMPANT IN ASIA-PACIFIC *****
A record 30 million women and children were trafficked over the past 30 years, says UN official, AFP, 21 February 2003
Some 30 million women and children across the Asia-Pacific region have been trafficked over the past 30 years in the largest slave trade in the history, a United Nations (UN) official said yesterday. Think of the scale of the problem: 1.2 million children are trafficked each year, although the actual figure might be higher than that, Mr Kul Gautum, deputy executive director of the United Nations Childrens Fund (Unicef), told a two-day International Symposium on Trafficking of Children.
***** INDIA CALLS FOR NON-ALIGNED NATIONS TO LEAD INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL REFORM *****
IPS, by Kalinga Seneviratne, February 23, 2003
Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has re-ignited the campaign for a Tobin Tax on international capital flows, after he called on the Non-Aligned Movement
***** CHILEAN NGOS SEEK INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FOR PATAGONIA *****
IPS, by Alicia Sánchez, February 23, 2003
Environmentalists in Chile are pressing the government to seek UNESCO world heritage status for part of its southern Patagonia region, to protect the largely untouched wilderness in that area from Canadian mining and minerals giant NORANDAs plans for a massive aluminum smelter and hydroelectric project, known as Alumysa, in the Aisen region, which forms part of Patagonia.
***** BRAZILIAN GOVT CONFRONTS TRANSGENIC CROPS DILEMMA *****
IPS, by Mario Osava, February 21, 2003.
The Brazilian government is moving to stake a balanced and consistent position on genetically modified products in an effort to reconcile the divergent pressures from environmentalists, scientists and the business community. A working group set up this week, with representatives from nine ministries, will have one month to issue a congruent governmental definition on the matter of transgenics.
***** MEXICOS MAIZE UNDER THREAT FROM GENETIC MODIFICATION *****
Genetic Resources Action International, February 20, 2003.
Genetically modified maize planted in Mexico, the crops centre of origin and diversity, has been contaminating the local gene pool, says a biodiversity group, asking: what can be done to clean up the mess?
***** DEVELOPMENT OF BIOTECH CROPS IS BOOMING IN ASIA *****
New York Times, by David Barboza, February 21 2003
Worried about falling behind its global competition, much of Asia is rushing forward with the development and cultivation of genetically modified crops. The three most populous countries in Asia China, India and Indonesia are already planting millions of acres of genetically modified cotton. Several other large Asian countries, including Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, are earmarking billions of dollars for private and government-sponsored research on biotech crops.
***** WORLD CONFERENCE CALLS FOR FEMINIST REFORM OF UNIONS *****
ICFTU Press Release, February 21, 2003
Women attending the 8th ICFTU Womens Conference in Melbourne, Australia,
threw down a challenge to unions throughout the world reform your structures so that they are more inclusive of women and young people and reflect the increasing number of women joining union ranks.
***** AID DELAYS DEEPEN ERITREAS DRAUGHT CRISIS *****
IRIN News, February 20, 2003.
Aid agencies in Eritrea are warning of a deepening humanitarian crisis caused by delays in the international response to the devastating drought gripping the country.
***** CONFERENCE: 100 MILLION TOBACCO JOBS *****
ILO to consider future of employment in the tobacco sector
ILO Press Release, 18 February 2003
Workers, employers and governments meet here on 24 to 28 February to consider, for the first time, the future of the worlds 100 million workers who depend in some way on the production, manufacture and distribution of tobacco and tobacco products for their livelihood
.ILO officials say that overall, of some 100 million persons employed worldwide in all aspects of the tobacco sector, some 90 per cent of these workers are in the developing countries.
***** UNDP RELEASES CONTROVERSIAL REPORT ON GLOBAL TRADE *****
BRIDGES Weekly Trade Digest, 19 February 2003
On 30 January UNDP launched the book Making Global Trade Work For People, the culmination of an independent review of the multilateral trading regime. The comprehensive 341-page study, while supporting the belief that trade can improve the lives of people, calls into question the automatic link between trade liberalisation and human development that is often espoused by those promoting the current international trading system.
***** CHRETIEN TO VISIT MEXICO *****
PMO Press Release, February 24, 2003
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien today announced that he will travel to Mexico City, Mexico on February 27 and 28, 2003, to meet President Vicente Fox and other members of the Mexican government. Canada-Mexico ties are stronger than ever before as a result of our burgeoning trade under the North American Free Trade Agreement and our cooperation on governance, said the Prime Minister. We share a commitment to working together on hemispheric and international issues and working through multilateral institutions, particularly at this time when Mexico prepares to assume the chair of the UN Security Council.
***** PROPOSAL FOR WINDMILLS IN LAKE ONTARIO *****
Company proposes windmill for Lake Ontario, AP, February 20, 2003
A Massachusetts company has proposed building the nations first offshore wind turbine in Lake Ontario, the first step in establishing this port city as the states wind energy center, a developer said Thursday. The nearly 500-foot windmill would be the largest, most powerful turbine yet constructed in the United States, said Brian Braginton-Smith, vice president of project development for UPC Wind Management of South Yarmouth, Mass.
of the NAFTA on Dispute Settlement
DDA Doha Development Agenda
DFAIT Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
ENGO Environmental non-governmental organization
FTA Free trade agreement
FTAA Free Trade Area of the Americas
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
HIPC Heavily Indebted Poor Country
IFI International financial institution
ILO International Labor Organization
IMF International Monetary Fund
LDCs Lesser Developed Countries
MEA Multilateral Environmental Agreement
NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement
NGO Non-governmental organization
TRIPS Agreement Respecting Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
UNDP UN Development Programme
USTR US Trade Representative
WEF World Economic Forum
WHO World Health Organization
WSF World Social Forum
WTO World Trade Organization
GATS General Agreement on Trade in Services
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.
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