People, Trade & the Environment
Tools & Information for Activists
March 3, 2003
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
* EU WTO NEGOTIATION POSITION LEAKED
* CANADA'S ANTI-DUMPING POSITION
* FEW HAPPY AS WTO TALKS RESUME IN GENEVA
* WTO SPLIT ON HOW TO CUT IMPORT DUTIES
* CAMPAIGNERS SLAM WTO PLAN FOR FARM TRADE REFORM
* LEAKED EU SERVICES DOCUMENTS: "ARE OUR SERVICES SAFE?"
* WTO PATENT RULES 'SHOULD BE SCRAPPED'
* EU LIST OF COUNTERMEASURES AGAINST US
* ZOELICK [USTR] PRESSES CONGRESS FOR ACTION ON WTO CASES
* EU AND LEBANON MOVE TOWARD FREE TRADE
* CANADAIAN REPORT FROM MINI-MINISTERIAL
* CANADA EXTENDS WTO EA CONSULTATION DEADLINE
* BUSH EXTENDS GLOBAL GAG RULE TO AIDS FUND
* DFAIT INFO ON WTO MINISTERIAL IN CANCUN (NGO PARTICIPATION)
* WTO AGREES TO "CONFLICT DIAMOND" WAIVER
2. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
* WORLD BANK PRESIDENT COMMITS ONGOING SUPPORT TO AFGANISTAN
* AFGANISTAN'S DEBT PAYMENTS TO THE IMF
* IMF REPORT ON CANADA: STRONG ECONOMY, AGING POPULATION
* IMF PAKISTAN POVERTY PLAN REVIEW
* IMF REPORT ON HAITI - POOR WITH A HUGE DEBT LOAD
* WORLD BANK WATER STRATEGY
* ENGO SLAMS WB WATER STRATEGY
* CONFERENCE ON ACCESSIBILITY TO INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL
* DEBT RELIEF SCHEME 'TOO OPTOMISTIC' - WORLD BANK
* IMF COUNTRY REPORT ON SPAIN
* IMF COUNTRY REPORT ON THE UK
3. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
* BRAZIL BLOCKS CANADA'S BID FOR EARLY OAS SUMMIT
* CHRETIEN ON TIES TO MEXICO
* WHY MEXICO'S SMALL CORN FARMERS GO HUNGRY
* CANADA AND MEXICO SIGN BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
* STUDY ON DEMOCRACY IN MEXICO
* EDC FINANCING FOR SIEMENS
* PETTIGREW CONGRATULATES EDC ON WINNING AUDITOR GENERAL AWARD
* CEC CONSULTATION ON FRESHWATER
* HERITAGE COMMITTEE EXPECTED TO KEEP CANADIAN CONTENT RULES
* CEC SOURCE-BOOK ON ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION
SOFTWOOD LUMBER DISPUTE
* SIDES TRY TO SALVAGE SOFTWOOD TALKS
* FINANCE MINISTER SAYS TRADE CHALLENGE NEEDED OVER SOFTWOOD
* SOFTWOOD TALKS MOVE TO EXPORT TAX
* PETTIGREW ANSWER ON SOFTWOOD QUESTION: NEGOTIATIONS WITH US HALTED
* PETTIGREW ON PROGRESS WITH THE PROVINCES ON SOFTWOOD
* SOFTWOOD TALKS LUMBER TO A HALT
* PETTIGREW ON WHY CANADA WON'T WITHDRAW THE WTO CASES
* IMPACT OF SOFTWOOD DISPUTEON WORKERS: HR MINISTER
* STATE OF ONTARIOS FORESTS: A CAUSE FOR CONCERN
* VANCLIEF ON MONSANTO AND GMO WHEAT
* WHEN WILL CANADA SIGN GMO-BIOSAFETY PROTOCOL?
* US ENVIRONMENT GROUPS SUE OVER CLEAN AIR ACT
* WATER BRIEFING KIT: 'DAMMED RIVERS, DAMNED LIES'
* [US] ADMINISTRATION REVEALS PLANS TO FAST-TRACK FREE TRADE DEALS
* EU TRADE COMMISSIONER GOES TO WASHINGTON
* AUSTRAILIAN FARMERS WILL SUFFER UNDER FREE TRADE
* ETHIOPIAN LEADER ATTACKS WEST'S FAILURE TO GIVE AID
* UN FOOD RELIEF CHIEF CALLS FOR MORE SUPPORT
* CSIS PAINTS ANTI-TRADE MOVEMENT AS MENACE
* QUESTION ON COMPENSATION FOR KANANASKIS
* US CLAMPDOWN PUSHES MIGRANTS INTO CANADA
* HUNGER STRIKE AGAINST TACO BELL
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
**** EU WTO NEGOTIATION POSITION LEAKED *****
"Leaked documents reveal UK Government hypocrisy over trade agreement danger
Activists post confidential EU trade demands on web", World Development Movement Press Relesase, 25 February 2003
International trade activists have today posted on the Internet a leaked copy of the European Union's entire negotiating demands under a controversial international trade agreement. The leaked documents, running to thousands of pages, reveal the EU's confidential negotiating demands of 109 other members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for opening up international trade in services under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), currently being negotiated in Geneva.
For a copy of the document go to:
***** CANADA'S ANTI-DUMPING POSITION *****
"Submission from Canada Respecting the Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of the GATT 1994 (The Anti-Dumping Agreement)" DFAIT Press Release
The following communications, dated 27 January 2003, has been received from the Permanent Mission of Canada...In view of this, Canada is pursuing a two-pronged approach to negotiations in the area of anti dunping" 1. The examination of key provisions of the anti-dumping agreement with a view to strengthening the disciplines so as to achieve greater international convergence of methodologies, greater predictability in the application of the rules, and to eliminate undue disruptions to international trade; and 2. identify options for addressing government activities and policies that may serve to promote injurious dumping practices....
***** FEW HAPPY AS WTO TALKS RESUME IN GENEVA *****
World Bank's DevNews, February 25, 2003
Talks on the thorny issue of reforming global farm trade resumed at the WTO Monday in a bid to narrow wide differences over a draft proposal deemed too ambitious by some and not ambitious enough by others, reports AFP. The 26-page document calls for the elimination of all export subsidies over a nine-year period. It also calls for cuts in import tariffs and domestic support. The talks' chairman, Hong Kong ambassador Stuart Harbinson, unveiled his blueprint of a framework for negotiating new rules in agriculture earlier this month. The final version is scheduled by March 31....The demands under the WTO's service sector talks target 109 countries, including the 50 least developed, and would allow European firms to charge for providing water to some of the 1.2 billion people living on less than a dollar a day.
***** WTO SPLIT ON HOW TO CUT IMPORT DUTIES *****
Associated Press, 27 Feb 2003
With positions entrenched more than ever ahead of a rapidly approaching deadline, World Trade Organization members clashed Thursday on how to cut import tariffs on farm goods. U.S. agriculture negotiator Allen Johnson said that existing proposals fell far short of the sweeping import duty cuts demanded by Washington and other big agricultural producers like Australia and Canada. In a position shared by the European Union, Japan and large developing countries like India, tiny Switzerland which wants to protect its mountain farmers protested that U.S. demands were unreasonable.
***** CAMPAIGNERS SLAM WTO PLAN FOR FARM TRADE REFORM *****
Sapa-AFP, February 24 2003
Fifty non-governmental organisations from around the world on Monday condemned a draft plan for WTO negotiations on farming trade reform, saying it ignored promises to place development issues at the heart of the talks. "The current draft is a threat to rural livelihoods in Africa," Thomas Barasa, of Resource Oriented Development Initiatives in Kenya, said.
***** LEAKED EU SERVICES DOCUMENTS: "ARE OUR SERVICES SAFE?" *****
Friends of the Environment Press Release, 25 February 2003
Leaked documents today revealed that the European Union is putting pressure on developing countries to open up public services, such as water, as part of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement on trade in services . The agreement could have devastating impacts for developing countries, but Friends of the Earth today warned that it would also have far-reaching consequences here in the UK potentially putting the regulation of service sectors, including water, waste and energy at risk.
***** WTO PATENT RULES 'SHOULD BE SCRAPPED' *****
SciDev.Net, by Natasha McDowell
A report initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has urged governments to negotiate the replacement of the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) agreement on intellectual property with an alternative system fairer to developing countries. The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement requires all WTO members to set minimum standards of legal protection and enforcement for intellectual property, such as patents on medicines. But the agreement has attracted significant controversy since it came into effect in 1995, with many arguing that the rules are detrimental to the interests of developing countries. This criticism is set out in detail in a report published last month Making Global Trade Work for People that was commissioned by the UNDP...
***** EU LIST OF COUNTERMEASURES AGAINST US *****
"Foreign Sales Corporations: European Commission submits to Member States draft list of products that could be subject to countermeasures", EU Trade Commission Press Release, 26 February 2003
The Commission has today communicated to EU Member States a revised draft list of products that could be subject to countermeasures in the FSC [Foreign Sales Corporations] case....[I]t covers products in the amount of US $ 4 billion, as awarded by the WTO last August....On 30 August 2002 the European Union was granted by the WTO the right to impose countermeasures in the form of tariffs on imports of certain goods from the US.
***** ZOELICK [USTR] PRESSES CONGRESS FOR ACTION ON WTO CASES ****
Reuters, February 28, 2003
US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick warned Congress Wednesday that it must act quickly to avoid up to $4 billion in European Union retaliation in a long-running trade spat over US tax breaks for exporters....But members of the Ways and Means panel, which shares jurisdiction over both tax and trade issues with the Senate Finance Committee, showed little agreement on how to change US international tax law to comply with the WTO rulings.
***** EU AND LEBANON MOVE TOWARD FREE TRADE *****
"EU-Lebanon: entry into force of the Interim Agreement", EU trade Commission Press Release, 1 March 2003
...EU-Lebanon Interim Agreement...Commissioner Lamy also expressed his satisfaction: I am particularly pleased that Lebanon has opted for the fast track by seeking through this Interim Agreement an early start to the transition to free trade. This demonstrates that Lebanon is determined to meet, sooner rather than later, its commitments on approximating its trade and economic legislation with that of the European Union. It is also a step in the right direction towards Lebanon's accession to the WTO.
*****CANADAIAN REPORT FROM MINI-MINISTERIAL *****
"Informal meeting of WTO Trade Ministers held in Tokyo", DFAIT Press Release
Minister Pettigrew and Minister Vanclief attended an informal meeting of WTO Ministers hosted by Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, and Japan's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr. Tadamori Oshima, in Tokyo February 14-16. The meeting brought together current trade and agriculture ministers from a broad range of member countries to discuss progress in WTO negotiations, launched at the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, November 2001. These negotiations are scheduled to conclude by January 2005.
***** CANADA EXTENDS WTO EA CONSULTATION DEADLINE *****
"Initial Environmental Assessment of the new World Trade Organization (WTO) Negotiations", DFAIT Web Site
On November 22, 2002, the Government of Canada released its Initial Environmental Assessment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Negotiations. This is the first of three reports that will be prepared for the Strategic Environmental Assessment, which will help negotiators to better integrate environmental considerations into the negotiating process....The Initial Environmental Assessment was released for a sixty-day public comment period, which has been extended until July 31. Comments received will be used to help prepare the next report -- the Draft Environmental Assessment. The Government of Canada will continue to seek input from Canadians throughout the assessment. The Final Environmental Assessment report will be released after the conclusion of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations in 2005.
***** BUSH EXTENDS GLOBAL GAG RULE TO AIDS FUND *****
Women's News, by Allison Stevens, February 25, 2003
Women's rights advocates are condemning President George W. Bush for using his promised AIDS relief package to expand the so-called global gag rule. Calling the move the latest battle in the administration's war against women, many groups are mounting a campaign to draw attention to what they say are the Bush administration's plans to further restrict abortion rights. Also, women's right advocates were joined by a powerful ally last weekend. An editorial in The Washington Post scolded Bush for "sending out a confused message on its global AIDS initiative" and warned him against sacrificing any portion of the AIDS package on the altar of controversial abortion politics.
***** DFAIT INFO ON WTO MINISTERIAL IN CANCUN (NGO PARTICIPATION) *****
"Canada and the WTO: Ministerial Conferences", DFAIT Web Site
Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico (September 10-14, 2003) Information for Canadian Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
Procedures for registration to attend the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancún, Mexico from 10 to 14 September 2003 are now available on the WTO web site.
***** WTO AGREES TO "CONFLICT DIAMOND" WAIVER *****
Diamonds, Trade Network, by Sheryl Katz, March 2, 2003
Breaching its own free trade principles, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has agreed to allow 11 Kimberley Process members to halt trade in rough diamonds with non- Kimberly participants. Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and the U.S requested a waiver from The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) rules to be able to refuse trading in rough diamonds with non- Kimberly participants. The WTO Council for Trade in Goods recognized the extraordinary humanitarian nature of this issue and the devastating impact of conflicts fuelled by trade in conflict diamonds on the peace, safety and security of people in affected countries and the systematic and gross human rights violations that have been perpetrated in such conflicts.
2. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
***** WORLD BANK PRESIDENT COMMITS ONGOING SUPPORT TO AFGANISTAN *****
"World Bank President Commits Ongoing Support to Afghanistan: Urges donors not to lose sight of this important post-crisis example", World Bank Press Release, February 27, 2003
World Bank President James Wolfensohn has assured Afghanistans leadership that his institution remains committed to the countrys reconstruction and has urged donors to recognize that Afghanistan is indeed a test case of post-crisis reconstruction....President Karzai is currently appealing for new support for the countrys budget for the forthcoming fiscal year beginning March 21. He has asked that $600 million be channeled through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund....Wolfensohn said the long-term recovery of Afghanistan would be driven by the private sector but for this impetus to kick in, the country needed to provide security, the rule of law and a viable financial sector.
***** AFGANISTAN'S DEBT PAYMENTS TO THE IMF *****
"Arrears Clearance by the Islamic State of Afghanistan", IMF Press Release, February 27, 2003
The Islamic State of Afghanistan (Afghanistan) settled its overdue financial obligations to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). With the settlement of these arrears, which totaled SDR 8.1 million (about US$11.1 million), Afghanistan is now current on all its financial obligations to the IMF.
***** IMF REPORT ON CANADA: STRONG ECONOMY, AGING POPULATION *****
"Canada: 2003 Article IV Consultation--Staff Report; Staff Statement; and Public Information Notice on the Executive Board, IMF Report, February 25, 2003
...Canada's strong policy framework has brought impressive results....Indeed, the Canadian economy has proven exceptionally resilient in the face of the recent global slowdown....Nonetheless, a number of policy challenges remain...Longer-term demographic pressures - It will be important to sustain public debt reduction and to reform health care systems, in order to prepare for the fiscal consequences of population aging.
***** IMF PAKISTAN POVERTY PLAN REVIEW *****
"IMF Completes Fourth Review of Pakistan's PRGF-Supported Program, Approves US$118 Million Disbursement to Pakistan", IMF Press Release, February 28, 2003
...Mr. Eduardo Aninat, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman, made the following statement: "The Fund commends the authorities for making further progress on stabilization, in a difficult economic and political environment.... the financial situation of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) fell far short of the objectives, reflecting insufficient adjustment of tariffs to surging costs, difficulties in collecting bills in certain regions of Pakistan, and too little progress in reducing line losses...."
***** IMF REPORT ON HAITI - POOR WITH A HUGE DEBT LOAD *****
Public Information Notice (PIN) No. 03/23, IMF
IMF Concludes 2002 Article IV Consultation with Haiti While there seems to have been some progress in reducing poverty during the past decade in Haitithe poorest country in the Western Hemispheresocial indicators worsened again in the past two years as a result of the continued economic deterioration.... While Haiti remains current on her obligations to the Fund, external arrears are increasing, including to the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.... In this regard, priority was attached to pressing ahead with the privatization program in the energy, telecoms, and transportation sectors, and improving public infrastructure. Directors emphasized that good governance would be an essential element in sustaining a recovery, and that the authorities' cooperation with the World Bank on the initiative to strengthen governance in key public institutions is crucial.
***** WORLD BANK WATER STRATEGY *****
"World Bank Endorses Water Resources Strategy", World Bank Press Release, February 27, 2003
The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank yesterday unanimously endorsed a new Water Resources Strategy aimed at providing more effective assistance to countries, using water as a vehicle for increasing growth and reducing poverty in a socially and environmentally responsible manner....There is a large and growing demand for greater World Bank engagement with water. Currently, about 16 percent of all World Bank lending is for water with about 4 percent going for water resources management, and similar amounts for each of the main water-service sectors (potable water and sanitation, irrigation and drainage, and hydropower). Lending is projected to continue to grow over the next three years.
***** ENGO SLAMS WB WATER STRATEGY *****
"World Bank Water Strategy is Reactionary, Dishonest and Cynical: Rich Pickings for the Dam Lobby, Harm for the Poor and Environment", International Rivers Network Press Release, 27 February 2003
...The Strategy says the Bank needs to shrug off its critics and boost spending on big dams, inter-basin transfers and other water megaprojects....Over the past decade water managers and analysts have been slowly moving away from prioritizing water and hydropower megaprojects. They have increasingly realized that focusing on huge water projects for water supply, flood control and electricity is expensive, frequently ineffective and socially and environmentally damaging. The new approach to meeting water needs prioritizes small-scale, affordable technologies such as harvesting rainwater and recharging groundwater, flood management through measures such as better warning systems, wetland restoration and flood shelters, and reducing demand for water through better management and improved technologies.
***** CONFERENCE ON ACCESSIBILITY TO INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS *****
"The International Legal Studies Program at American University Washington College of Law and the World Bank Inspection Panel are pleased to invite you to attend a conference on ""Public Accessibility to International Financial Institutions: A Review of Existing Mechanisms and Interim Experiences"
Friday, April 11, 2003, from 9:00a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the American University Washington College of Law
The purpose of the event is to disseminate information on accountability mechanisms in multilateral financial organizations...
***** DEBT RELIEF SCHEME 'TOO OPTOMISTIC' - WORLD BANK *****
World Bank DevNews, 27 February 2003
An international debt relief initiative for the world's poorest countries became the victim of unrealistic expectations as a result of political pressure, the World Bank has oncluded, reports the Financial Times. A study by the Bank's internal review department said the debt relief initiative was supposed to be one of many things that would make it possible for the 40 or so countries never again to default on their debts. But political pressure gave the impression the initiative would do this on its own.
***** IMF COUNTRY REPORT ON SPAIN *****
"Spain: Selected Issues", IMF, February 28, 2003
The selected issues paper presented here focuses on the issue of the conduct of fiscal policy in Spain, made topical by the entry into effect of the Budgetary Stability Law (BSL) in 2003. This Law (establishing that all public entities must formulate and execute their budgets in balance or surplus), along with the new permanent financing arrangement with the sub-national levels of government, provides a new institutional and legal framework for fiscal policy.
***** IMF COUNTRY REPORT ON THE UK *****
"United Kingdom: 2002 Article IV Consultation - Staff Statement; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion; and Statement by the Executive Director for the United Kingdom", IMF
3. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
***** BRAZIL BLOCKS CANADA'S BID FOR EARLY OAS SUMMIT *****
Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, February 25, 2003
Canada wants the Organization of American States to hold an extraordinary Summit this year to discuss the growing chaos in South America, but Brazil is effectively blocking the idea, officials said Monday. The 34-nation OAS is due to hold its next Summit of the Americas in Argentina in early 2005, but the officials said Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien felt the grouping needed to take stock of increasing disarray in some member states. Diplomats said Brazil - already locked in a protracted dispute with Canada over subsidies to aircraft manufacturers - was reluctant to let Canada take the lead on problems mainly affecting South America.
***** CHRETIEN ON TIES TO MEXICO *****
"Notes for an address by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to the National Autonomous University of Mexico", PMO, February 27, 2003
...NAFTA has served us well and has served as a catalyst for cooperation in other sectors: the environment; labour; energy and agriculture to name a few. As a result, Mexico is the Latin American country with which Canadians have the most substantial and profound political agenda....This political agenda benefits from the fruitful and frequent meetings between our countries.... We also have momentum toward establishing a Free Trade Area of the Americas, to promote trade and economic prosperity that is sustainable and fairly shared.... Canada has developed a strong belief in the value of a multilateral approach to global problems. Multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the Organization of American States are essential to managing our evermore integrated world. It is through these organizations that we can work together toward a more secure hemisphere.
***** WHY MEXICO'S SMALL CORN FARMERS GO HUNGRY *****
New York Times, by Tima Rosenberg, March 3, 2003
...According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minneapolis, American corn sells in Mexico for 25 percent less than its cost. The prices Mr. Hernández and others receive are so low that they lose money with each acre they plant. In January, campesinos from all over the country marched into Mexico City's central plaza to protest. Thousands of men in jeans and straw hats jammed the Zócalo, alongside horses and tractors....But they are unlikely to get what they want: a renegotiation of the North
American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta, protective temporary tariffs and a new policy that seeks to help small farmers instead of trying to force them off the land....
[web site not available]
***** CANADA AND MEXICO SIGN BILATERAL AGREEMENTS *****
PMO Press Release, February 27, 2003
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien today announced that Canada and Mexico had reached nine new agreements, which will enhance co-operation on trade, communications and efforts to combat money laundering and organized crime....[such as] Export Development Canada (EDC) and Petroleros Mexicanos (PEMEX) signed a letter of offer for a US$ 200 million loan. The funds will be used by PEMEX Exploration & Production to purchase Canadian goods and services for its investments in the Strategic Gas Programme and 23 other Pidiregas projects, which aim to increase Mexicos oil and natural gas production capacity.
***** STUDY ON DEMOCRACY IN MEXICO *****
"Rights & Democracy Presents Its Study on Democratic Development in Mexico", Rights & Democracy News Release, March 3, 2003
Rafael Reygadas, professor and researcher at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana de Mexico, will present the study, which he has coordinated and titled "Self-Made Citizens: Building Democracy Through Human Rights in Mexico," published by Rights & Democracy in collaboration with Alianza Cívica and the Instituto Federal Electoral.
The study focuses on three areas of human rights organizing: 1) maquiladora workers in the state of Coahuila who are asserting their rights as human beings, women and workers; 2) a Mixtec community in the state of Oaxaca that is striving for recognition of its land rights and identity; 3) the residents of the borough (delegación) of Iztapalapa, Mexico City, whose demands around economic, social and cultural rights have turned into an ongoing struggle for the right to participate in political life, that is, to be directly involved in the development and adoption of public and social policies that affect them.
***** EDC FINANCING FOR SIEMENS *****
"EDC financing for Siemens Westinghouse exports in Mexico", EDC Press Release, February 28, 2003
Export Development Canada (EDC) is providing US $36 million in financing for the sale of gas turbine generator equipment and related services by Siemens Westinghouse to the Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE).
***** PETTIGREW CONGRATULATES EDC ON WINNING AUDITOR GENERAL AWARD *****
DFAIT Press Release, February 26, 2003
"I commend EDC on its corporate disclosure policy addressing transparency and accountability, which reflects the Government of Canada's position on the need for more openness in trade."
***** CEC CONSULTATION ON FRESHWATER *****
"CEC seeks public comment on freshwater management program options", CEC Press release, 28 February 2003
The Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is seeking public input on whether to recommend to the CEC Council that the CEC undertake two proposed projects as part of its 2004 work program. These two projects involve examining: (1) affordable techniques to restore aquatic ecosystems; and (2) examples of sustainable watershed management practices in North America.
***** HERITAGE COMMITTEE EXPECTED TO KEEP CANADIAN CONTENT RULES *****
Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, February 27, 2003
The Canadian Heritage committee will not back down on Canadian content and foreign ownership rules in its report on reforming the Broadcasting Act. The report, expected at the end of the month, appears set to defy the appeals of private broadcaster Leonard Asper, President and CEO of CanWest Global Communications Corp., who had argued the rules should be changed to allow more flexibility and profitability for private broadcasters. The Committee will spend the next six weeks hammering out its final report. It will recommend ways to enhance the broadcast of Canadian news, arts and entertainment in a world of multinational media companies, the Internet and satellite television.
***** CEC SOURCE-BOOK ON ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION *****
"CEC publishes source-book for accessing government-held environmental information in North America", CEC Web Site
The latest volume of the CEC's North American Environmental Law and Policy series - number 10 - updates our survey of North American laws, policies and practices related to public access to government-held environmental information.
SOFTWOOD LUMBER DISPUTE
***** SIDES TRY TO SALVAGE SOFTWOOD TALKS *****
Reported in the National Post, Globe and 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.
***** FINANCE MINISTER SAYS TRADE CHALLENGE NEEDED OVER SOFTWOOD *****
"Canada should turn to WTO, NAFTA in softwood spat: Manley", CP, Feb 26, 2003
SURREY, B.C. (CP) - The stalemate of negotiations with the United States on softwood lumber duties leaves Canada with no choice but to pursue a resolution at international trade tribunals, Finance Minister John Manley said Wednesday.
Negotiating a settlement to lift the crippling duties would be ideal, Manley told a group of business leaders in this Vancouver suburb, but Canada won't settle for an unfair deal. "A negotiated settlement is faster, saves on costs and gives certainty," he said. "But we can't give away the store." Canada has a strong case and will win its challenges at the World Trade Organization and under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Manley said.
***** SOFTWOOD TALKS MOVE TO EXPORT TAX *****
Reported in the National Post, Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Canadian and US softwood lumber negotiators were still at the table yesterday, trying to hammer out details of a tentative package that would see Ottawa impose a temporary export tax on Canadian lumber shipments. Both the Quebec government and its industry were unhappy with the latest proposal on a long-term solution from Grant Aldonas, the top US negotiator, on how far the four major timber producing provinces would have to go to get unfettered access to the $30-billion a year US market.
***** PETTIGREW ANSWER ON SOFTWOOD QUESTION: NEGOTIATIONS WITH US HALTED *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, February 25, 2003
Mr. Bill Casey: Mr. Speaker.... Hon. Pierre Pettigrew:...Canada has never accepted the 27% tax on Canadian softwood lumber. We have been saying for a long time that we believe it is a punitive tax that should not have been applied. This is why right now we have six cases before the WTO and NAFTA. We challenged the American right to Impose that tax on us. However we tried to find a long term policy based resolution. Mr. Aldonas did a great job trying to identify what policy reforms in our provinces could bring relief of that tax. Unfortunately, the negotiations this morning met a stopping point.
***** PETTIGREW ON PROGRESS WITH THE PROVINCES ON SOFTWOOD *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, February 25, 2003
Mr. Peter Stoffer: Mr. Speaker...Hon. Pierre Pettigrew: Mr. Speaker,...I meant to say that the negotiations had been suspended this morning. This is far more important than doing cheap political points on the fact that a minister used an expression in his second language which was not exactly what he wanted to say. What we are encountering right now is very serious. There has been much progress on the provincial policy reforms. That is done. These policy bulletins will continue. We still have some progress to make on the Quebec side and I hope that will proceed.
***** SOFTWOOD TALKS LUMBER TO A HALT *****
Reported in the Ottawa Sun, Ottawa Citizen, National Post, Globe & Mail, Montreal Gazette, Le Droit, February 26, 2003
Talks aimed at resolving the softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the US have broken off, with Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew blaming "excessive" demands by the US lumber industry. Negotiators managed to make progress over the last few weeks on some key points, Pettigrew said yesterday. But they were unable to crack two key issues: An interim export tax to be imposed by Canada on softwood shipments to the US pending longer-term measures to loosen cross-border trade. And the question of whether any of the $1 billion in duties the US has collected since the dispute began will be returned to Canadian companies.
**** PETTIGREW ON WHY CANADA WON'T WITHDRAW THE WTO CASES *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, February 26, 2003
Mr. John Duncan: ...In pursuit of free trade in lumber, I again ask the minister, will he pledge not to withdraw Canada's legal challenges? Hon. Pierre Pettigrew: Mr. Speaker, I can be absolutely clear that as long as the Americans will have that punitive 27% tax against Canadian exporters of softwood lumber, we will be going both to the WTO and NAFTA. We are there with six cases. We have a good chance of winning....This has been at the heart of our strategy, gaining leverage against the American administration with our strong cases before NAFTA and the WTO. We will maintain our action both at the WTO and at NAFTA as long as the Americans are harming our exports. We want free trade in softwood lumber and unfettered access for Canadian exporters to the American market.
***** IMPACT OF SOFTWOOD DISPUTEON WORKERS: HR MINISTER *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, February 26, 2003
Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources answered yesterday that if additional measures were needed to assist victims of the softwood lumber crisis, he would provide them. Entire regions are suffering from this trade war. Industries are in danger, and thousands of families are hit by unemployment. Will the minister open his eyes and realize that phase two of the initial plan is needed now more than ever? Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development): Mr. Speaker, we are preoccupied by the potential negative impact of this trade dispute on the workers in the softwood lumber industry. That is why we have added to the $450 million in EI benefits that are already provided every year through the employment insurance fund....
***** STATE OF ONTARIOS FORESTS: A CAUSE FOR CONCERN *****
Sierra Club of Canada Press Release, February 27, 2003
Today the Sierra Club of Canada released its review of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) State of the Forest Report, entitled: The State of Ontarios Forests: A Cause for Concern. Things in the woods arent looking so good, remarked the Sierra Club of Canadas Executive Director, Elizabeth May and recognizing this comes at a crucial time, as the fate of our forests is currently being determined through the Timber EA process. The Timber Class Environmental Assessment Act (Timber EA) is a set of legally binding rules for forest management on public land that is currently under review by the Ministry of Environment. A declaration order by the MOE is expected in the near future.
***** VANCLIEF ON MONSANTO AND GMO WHEAT *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, February 25, 2003
Mr. Dick Proctor: Mr. Speaker, more than 80% of Canadian customers abroad say they will not purchase any genetically modified variety of wheat, but this has not stopped Monsanto from seeking regulatory approval to introduce GM wheat in Canada. Because there is no effective way to segregate wheat from genetically modified wheat, and knowing that the introduction of this product will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales annually, would the agriculture minister not agree that a market impact test should be completed before genetically modified wheat is foisted upon Canadian producers? Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that there is a submission up for review. That submission will take a considerable period of time, in fact, many months before it is completed. There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, including the one that the hon. member just mentioned, before complete registration or the marketing of that product would take place.
***** WHEN WILL CANADA SIGN GMO-BIOSAFETY PROTOCOL? *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, February 27, 2003
[Motion by Mr. Bernard Bigras] That, in the opinion of the House, the government should take the necessary steps to ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. He said: Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today on Motion M-239, which asks that the federal government take the necessary steps, as soon as possible, to ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.... The objective of the Cartagena protocol is to protect the environment and to ensure the safe transfer, handling and use of living genetically modified organisms resulting from biotechnology, according to the precautionary approach....So far, 44 countries have ratified the Cartagena protocol; the number of countries necessary for the agreement to take effect is 50....In 2000, already close to 16% of the world's cultivated areas were transgenic, with 30 million hectares in the United States, nine million in Argentina and three million in Canada....Mr. Alan Tonks (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment): ...Canada signed the protocol in April 2001. The protocol is not yet in force. However, it has been signed by 110 countries and ratified by 43. It will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it, probably some time in 2003....As the motion has not been designated as a votable item, the order is dropped from the Order Paper.
***** US ENVIRONMENT GROUPS SUE OVER CLEAN AIR ACT *****
"Environmental Groups Sue EPA for Weakening Clean Air Act: Charge Bush administrations new source review changes illegal", Earthjustice Press Release, February 28th, 2003
The Bush administrations changes to a key provision of the Clean Air Act is illegal and will dramatically increase air pollution, threatening the health of millions of Americans, according to a lawsuit filed today by Earthjustice on behalf of a coalition of environmental and public health groups. The groups American Lung Association, Communities for a Better Environment, Environmental Defense, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and the Sierra Club charge that on New Years Eve the Environmental Protection Agency adopted illegal changes weakening the Clean Air Acts New Source Review program. This program requires industrial facilities to install modern pollution controls when they upgrade or modify their equipment and significantly increase their emissions.
***** WATER BRIEFING KIT: 'DAMMED RIVERS, DAMNED LIES' *****
"What the water establishment doesnt want you to know Released", International Rivers Network, February 28, 2003
Over 45,000 large dams have been built to meet the worlds water, energy and flood management needs. However, dams have failed to live up to expectations and have devastated communities and ecosystems. This briefing kit exposes the myths behind large dams and promotes equitable and sustainable solutions for meeting the worlds needs.
***** [US] ADMINISTRATION REVEALS PLANS TO FAST-TRACK FREE TRADE DEALS *****
AP, February 27 2003
An ambitious timetable for reaching new free trade deals has been put to the US Congress by the Bush administration. The White House hopes to complete negotiations with Morocco and five nations in Central America this year and with Australia and countries in Southern Africa in 2004. US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick told the House Ways and Means Committee today that the administration was intent on pushing ahead with a number of free trade negotiations, in the hope success with individual countries would build momentum for bigger deals. The administration is currently involved in 34 nation talks to create the world's largest free trade zone, covering the Western Hemisphere, and global trade talks involving the 144 nations who are members of the World Trade Organisation.
***** EU TRADE COMMISSIONER GOES TO WASHINGTON *****
"Pascal Lamy travels to Washington to discuss trade matters", EU trade Commission Press Release, 28 February 2003
EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will be in Washington between 3 and 4 March to discuss trade issues with the US Administration as well as with key Congressmen.... Some of the issues to be discussed during Mr. Lamys visit include: On-going WTO negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda, The EU-US Positive Agenda ahead of the next EU-US Summit in June, The US Foreign Sales Corporation law (FSC), which has been ruled illegal by the WTO....
***** AUSTRAILIAN FARMERS WILL SUFFER UNDER FREE TRADE AGREEMENT [WITH US]: REPORT *****
ABC News Online
A new report warns that Australian farmers would suffer under a free trade agreement with the United States. The report, prepared for the Federal Government and funded by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, looked at the pros and cons of a free trade agreement with the United States. The report says the economic benefits to Australia as a whole are at best finely balanced and the impacts on Australian farmers are likely to be negative, especially if United States politics prevents free trade in industries such as sugar, dairy and meat.
***** ETHIOPIAN LEADER ATTACKS WEST'S FAILURE TO GIVE AID *****
The Guardian, by Charlotte Denny, February 25, 2003
Ethiopia's prime minister called on the west yesterday to reform damaging trade policies and increase development aid to help his country break its 20-year-long cycle of poverty and famine. Warning that millions of Ethiopians still face the threat of starvation because of the slow response to the current famine, Meles Zenawi said his country could run out of food by June.
***** UN FOOD RELIEF CHIEF CALLS FOR MORE SUPPORT *****
OneWorld US, February 27, 2003
The head of the World Food Programme (WFP) is warning that the international supply of food aid to cope with malnutrition and humanitarian emergencies is not keeping pace with the proliferation of food shortages and related crises around the world. On a four-day trip to Washington to drum up support for his agency's work, James T. Morris, WFP's executive director, said unprecedented challenges, including AIDS and abnormal weather conditions, including both droughts and floods, have made the agency's work much more difficult.
***** CSIS PAINTS ANTI-TRADE MOVEMENT AS MENACE *****
Reported in the National Post, February 24, 2003
A top-secret intelligence document says the violent fringes of the anti-globalization movement remain a security concern for Canada and that "extraordinary caution" is necessary to prevent trouble at international gatherings. Although security agencies have since Sept. 11 focused their efforts extensively on the dangers of Islamic terrorism, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service report says Canada is also threatened by homegrown domestic extremists, notably anti-globalization radicals.
***** QUESTION ON COMPENSATION FOR KANANASKIS *****
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, February 27, 2003
Mr. James Rajotte: Mr. Speaker, during the G-8 summit in Kananaskis last summer, many businesses in the area suffered from lost revenue as a result of security restrictions imposed for the meeting. Prior to the summit, the government promised local businesses full compensation for their losses. To date less than half of the claims submitted have been offered a partial payment, while others have been flatly denied any money. Why is the government not fulfilling its promise? Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services...): Mr. Speaker, ...I am, of course, insisting that my department apply those guidelines as they were pre-agreed prior to Kananaskis. Mr. James Rajotte: Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time the government has reneged on its commitment to local businesses. Businesses here in Ottawa had problems obtaining compensation after damage was done during the G-20 meeting in November 2001. Quebec City had to take the government to court for compensation after hosting the G-7....Hon. Ralph Goodale:...I understand there are approximately five enterprises that may not be satisfied with the status of the matter at the present time....
***** US CLAMPDOWN PUSHES MIGRANTS INTO CANADA *****
Reported in the National Post, February 26, 2003
Hundreds of Pakistanis have inundated a refugee shelter in Buffalo, NY, hoping Canada will help them escape a US crackdown on illegal migrants from Muslim and Arab countries. In the past two months, 1,000 Pakistanis have crowded into Vive la Casa, a non-profit shelter, creating a 40-day wait to file refugee claims at the Fort Erie border crossing. "The word is out. We predict the numbers will continue to skyrocket", said Molly Short, an official with the shelter, which helps migrants establish contract with Canadian authorities. Other migrants desperate to avoid deportation have paid $5,000 to smugglers who promised to deliver them to what they hoped was a safe haven in Canada. The exodus has been prompted by strict security measures , introduced after Sept. 11, requiring male foreign visitors from a list of 25 mostly Arab and Muslim countries to register with the US government.
***** HUNGER STRIKE AGAINST TACO BELL *****
"Farmworkers' Hunger Strike Reaches 5th Day", Indymedia, February 28, 2003
...over 1,000 people converged on Taco Bell Corporate Headquarters in Irvine California to show their solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. More than 70 farm workers and supporters, in one of the largest hunger strikes in US labor history, are pressing for what would be their first wage increase in 25 years. Protesters are asking Taco Bell to agree to pay one penny more per pound of tomatoes, and pass that penny on to the workers. That would effectively double the farmworkers' wages.
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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