People, Trade & the Environment
Tools & Information for Activists


March 10, 2003


1. World Trade

  • IRAQ TENSIONS POSE THREAT TO WTO TALKS
  • WTO GLOOM ON TRADE TALKS
  • IMPASSE DURING WTO SEPTEMBER MEET LOOMS
  • EU MOVES ON ‘SINGAPORE’ ISSUES
  • EU EYES TRADE SANCTIONS FOR US COMPLIANCE
  • EGYPT TO HOST END-JUNE MINI-MINISTERIAL
  • WTO AGREEMENT ON TOBACCO
  • “ADVERSE IMPACT” OF WTO - CHINA’S TRADE MINISTER
  • 52 WTO MEMBERS CALL FOR PROGRESS ON MARITIME TALKS
  • “WTO HURTS EDUCATION” - SOUTH AFRICA EDUCATION MINISTER
  • PAKISTAN LINKS MEMBERSHIP TO CAPACITY TO NEGOTIATE
  • US REJECTS PAKISTAN BID ON GARMETS
  • TRADE/INVESTMENT/ENVIRONMENT WORKSHOP [NOTES]

Canadian Wheat

  • WHEAT BOARD REPS GO TO GENEVA
  • WTO ASKED TO PROBE CANADA WHEAT RULES
  • US REQUESTS WTO PANEL ON CANADIAN WHEAT
  • CANADA REFUTES U.S. COMMERCE DEPARTMENT’S PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF WHEAT SUBSIDY
  • US FOCUS ON WHEAT BOARD ‘INDECENT’ - PETTIGREW
  • US IMPOSES NEW DUTIES ON CANADIAN GRAIN
  • AURTRALIA WHEAT MONOPOLY UNDER FIRE

2. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank

  • 60% POVERTY IN PAKISTAN - WORLD BANK
  • IMF REPORT ON ALBANIA: POVERTY AND ENERGY BILLS
  • MALI DEBT SERVICING REDUCED BUT NOT ELIMINATED - IMF
  • IMF SUSPENDS LIBERIA’S VOTING RIGHTS IN THE FUND
  • BOLIVIA DEMANDS WORLD BANK ACKNOWLEDGE PRIVATE WATER DEBACLE

3. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)

  • CANADA’S FTAA POSITION: RECENT ANALYSIS * USTR DETAILS TRADE VISION
  • US 2003 TRADE POLICY AGENDA AVAILABLE ON-LINE
  • U.S. DEBT $2.7 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS
  • FTAA SECRETARIAT: A ‘GOLD MINE FOR LAWYERS’
  • MEXICAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN CANADA
  • INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK CRITISIZED AS UNACCOUNTABLE
  • CANADIAN MANUFACTURERS AND EXPORTERS CALL FOR NORTH AMERICAN HARMONIZED TAXES
  • NEW FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS, NEW RIGHTS FOR INVESTORS
  • USTR PUBLISHES SIGNAPORE FTA TEXT
  • BRAZIL PEASANTS END LAND TRUCE
  • COMPLIANCE WITH TRADE AGREEMENTS - REPORT

4. Environment

  • UN WARNS OF FUTURE WATER CRISIS
  • NEW REPORT SHOWS NEGATIVE IMPACTS, THREATS OF WATER PRIVITIZATION
  • EU SEEKS CONTROL OF WATER SUPPLY IN THIRD WORLD - PAPER
  • INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST DAMS AND FOR RIVERS, WATER AND LIFE: MARCH 14
  • US REFUSES SOME SHRIMP IMPORTS TO SAVE TURTLES
  • EU SLAMMED FOR NEW GMO PLAN
  • ‘NO EU COUNTRY SHOULD BE GMO FREE’ - EU COMMISSION
  • ENGOS DEMAND EU MOVE AHEAD ON POLLUTER PAY DIRECTIVE
  • UN ADVISOR CALLS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PRPECTION IN POOR COUNTRIES
  • HUMAN RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENT WORKSHOP [NOTES]

5. Other

  • US AND EU TRADE - JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE
  • EU TRADE AGENDA - SPEECH
  • DIAMOND DAY ON PARLIAMENT HILL
  • “MILKING IT” - SMALL FARMERS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE: A GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP RESOURCE
  • ‘TAKE CARE OF THE SALMON’ - CASTRO TO CANADA
  • MARTIN SHIPPING COMPANY ACCUSED OF ILLEGAL DUMPING
  • ‘DON’T TAX HEALTHY FOOD’ - LOBBY GROUP
  • CANADIANS NOT FOOLED BY LABELS ON BOTTLED WATER
  • PM TO SEND $100M TO 6 AFRICAN NATIONS
  • HEALTH PRIVITIZATION HURTS WOMEN
  • EU AND MERCOSUR ACCELERATE FREE TRADE TALKS

6. Glossary



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, sdover@magma.ca



1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)



IRAQ TENSIONS POSE THREAT TO WTO TALKS

International News, March 9, 2003

The strong disagreement between the United States and two leading members of the European Union over a possible war in Iraq could damage efforts to reach a new world trade agreement, analysts said on Friday. “Certainly it doesn’t make it easy to concentrate minds on trade negotiations,” Hugo Paemen, former EU ambassador to the United States, told Reuters.

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/mar2003-daily/09-03-2003/business/b15.htm

WTO GLOOM ON TRADE TALKS

Reuters, March 6, 2003

World Trade Organisation chief Supachai Panitchpakdi has warned the body’s 145 member countries that the year-old Doha Round of free trade talks is running into deadlock. Supachai, a former deputy prime minister of Thailand who succeeded New Zealand’s Mike Moore, told a meeting of the round’s supervising trade negotiations committee that agriculture was the main problem, although wide differences on other issues also had to be overcome.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/

IMPASSE DURING WTO SEPTEMBER MEET LOOMS

Manila Times, by Arnold S. Tenorio, March 8, 2003

A deadlock in negotiations looms large in the runup to the September meeting of the World Trade Organization, as problems related to the implementation of earlier trade agreements raised by the Philippines and other developing countries remain unresolved. “One year after the 4th Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, which launched the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), progress in the negotiations may have been achieved overall, but it is markedly uneven across the different mandates,” read a government document furnished The Times.

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2003/mar/08/business/20030308bus7.html

EU MOVES ON ‘SINGAPORE’ ISSUES

Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 5 March 2003

On 27 February, an EU paper on considerations for modalities for the Singapore issues investment, competition policy, transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation was made available to WTO Members….Many developing countries have opposed negotiations on the Singapore issues, and have questioned whether the WTO would be an appropriate forum for this. Also, a coalition of European NGOs sent EC Trade Representative Pascal Lamy a letter in mid-February rejecting the interpretation that a negotiating mandate exists, and opposing an expansion of the negotiations.

http://docsonline.wto.org

http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/03-03-05/wtoinbrief.htm

EU EYES TRADE SANCTIONS FOR US COMPLIANCE

The Washington Times, by Jeffrey Sparshott, March 5, 2003

The European Union is considering trade sanctions against the United States that would target politically sensitive regions and products as it tries to get the Bush administration and Congress to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling….The European Union last week announced, but did not publicly release, a $4 billion list of U.S. products that could be targeted for sanctions. The 15-nation bloc is gauging U.S. progress on compliance with a 2002 WTO ruling that affects the way American companies are taxed on their exports.

http://www.washtimes.com/business/20030305-71344174.htm

EGYPT TO HOST END-JUNE MINI-MINISTERIAL

Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 5 March 2003

Egypt has indicated that it will host a ‘mini-Ministerial’ gathering to further trade negotiations sometime between 28 June and 3 July this year. The meeting will take place in Sharm El Sheikh, and serve to prepare for the WTO fifth Ministerial conference in Cancun, Mexico in September. According to Egyptian officials, the meeting will attract the same ministers as invited to previous events in Sydney and Tokyo. In addition, however, they would probably push for greater attendance from African and Arab Members to have them put forward their particular objectives and concerns.

http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/03-03-05/wtoinbrief.htm#2

WTO AGREEMENT ON TOBACCO

“Director General Supachai Welcomes WHO Tobacco Agreement”, WTO News, 3 March 2003

WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi welcomed today a public health agreement to control the supply and consumption of tobacco which was reached 1 March by the 171 World Health Organization member states.

The Framework Convention of Tobacco Control, the first international agreement of its kind, will be endorsed by the WHO’s annual assembly in May.

http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news03_e/sp_who_tobacco_agr_3march03_e.htm

“ADVERSE IMPACT” OF WTO - CHINA’S TRADE MINISTER

“Foreign Trade Minister Warns of Real Adverse Impact of WTO Membership”, Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2003

Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng warned Friday that the real negative impact of China’s WTO membership lies ahead and there should be no let-up in the efforts to cope with it. “In the first year into the WTO, many people did not feel the adverse impact as had been expected,” he said. “Nevertheless, the real adverse impact is yet to come,” said Shi, who is attending the on-going annual session of the national legislature.

http://china.org.cn/english/2003/Mar/57705.htm

52 WTO MEMBERS CALL FOR PROGRESS ON MARITIME TALKS

“52 Members Seek Progress in Maritime Transport Talks”, Jiji Press, March 6, 2003

Geneva, March 6 ()Japan, the European Union and 50 other members of the World Trade Organization issued a joint statement Thursday seeking progress in WTO talks on liberalizing maritime transport services. They thus called for active participation in the negotiations by the United States and other WTO members that are reluctant to promote liberalization in the sector.

http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/

“WTO HURTS EDUCATION” - SOUTH AFRICA EDUCATION MINISTER

“WTO could harm SA education”, News24, March 4, 2003

The outcome of the current World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks could negatively impact on the transformation of South Africa’s education system, says Education Minister Kader Asmal. In an address to parliament’s trade and industry portfolio committee on Tuesday, the minister said the designation of education as a service by the WTO was, in itself, problematic. “Education is surely not a commodity to be bought and sold.”… Four countries - Kenya, New Zealand, Norway and the United States - had, to date, requested South Africa ensure there were no limits whatsoever on service providers from those countries.

http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/Politics/0,6119,2-7-12_1328368,00.html

PAKISTAN LINKS MEMBERSHIP TO CAPACITY TO NEGOTIATE

“Pakistan links implementation of WTO rules with invitation”, Daily Times (Pakistan), March 9, 2003

Pakistan may not accept the rules drafted at the ministerial meetings of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if Pakistan is not extended an invitation and given proper representation, Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan said here on Sunday. “Pakistan has informed the WTO’s director general in Geneva of its decision since it has not attended any ministerial meetings during the past few years,” the minister said, adding that Pakistan would not be bound by any decisions made at meetings it did not attend.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_3-3-2003_pg7_21

US REJECTS PAKISTAN BID ON GARMETS

“US rejects RP bid on garments payment”, Manila Bulletin Online, by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat, March 4, 2003

The Philippines is consulting the law office of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva after the U.S. government rejected the Philippines request for the continued granting of flexibilities in its exports quota for garments valued at $230 million until 2004 to compensate local garment manufacturers from the continuing impact of the unilateral implementation of its rules of origin (ROO). “The U.S. response is they have already paid us,” Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II said. The U.S. compensation to the Philippines started in 1997 and had been renewed a couple of times.

Roxas said the Geneva law office was created by the WTO to provide legal advice to developing country members on trade conflicts.

http://www.mb.com.ph/news.php?art=28742&sect=2&fname=BS03030428742f.txt

TRADE/INVESTMENT/ENVIRONMENT WORKSHOP [NOTES]

At the World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 26 January 2003, Organized by the Center for International Environmental Law

Growth in trade, foreign investment, and economic relationships among countries is one of the central features of the process of economic globalization, which is leading to serious social and environmental problems. Trade rules are clashing with environmental standards, undermining national environmental protections. The income gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Forests, fisheries and other treasures of the world’s natural heritage are overexploited as they are subjected to global market demands….

http://www.ciel.org/Tae/WSF_Trade_26Jan03.html



Canadian Wheat


WHEAT BOARD REPS GO TO GENEVA

“Western Canadian farmers strongly defended in Geneva”, CWB news releases, March 5, 2003

In a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland today, CWB representatives told Stuart Harbinson, Chairman of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agricultural negotiations, that the farmers of Western Canada strongly object to the draft agreement that was released last month. The proposal targets western Canadian farmers’ grain marketing system while virtually ignoring the bloated, trade-distorting subsidies embraced by some of Canada’s competitors.

http://www.cwb.ca/en/news/releases/2003/030503.jsp

WTO ASKED TO PROBE CANADA WHEAT RULES

Washington Times, by Jeffrey Sparshott, March 7, 2003

The United States yesterday accused Canada of unfair trade practices and asked the World Trade Organization to scrutinize the country’s system for buying and selling wheat. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative asked the WTO to form a dispute panel that would examine the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), which controls wheat and barley trade in the country’s western provinces. If it finds for the United States, the panel will require that Canada change its trading practices or face sanctions.

http://www.washtimes.com/business/20030307-50574934.htm

US REQUESTS WTO PANEL ON CANADIAN WHEAT

“U.S. Requests WTO Panel in Dispute on Canadian Wheat Board: (USTR says Canada’s unfair trading practices are hurting U.S. farmers)”, Embassy of the USA, March 7, 2003

…The U.S. panel request “challenges Canada’s requirements to segregate imported wheat in the Canadian grain-handling system and Canada’s discriminatory policy that affects the access of U.S. grain to Canada’s rail transportation system,” the USTR office said. During recent bilateral consultations to discuss the issue, “Canada expressed no willingness to make any modifications to its wheat-trading practices,” the USTR explained, so the Bush Administration is pursuing WTO arbitration to help ensure “a fair trading system for U.S. farmers.”

CANADA REFUTES U.S. COMMERCE DEPARTMENT’S PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF WHEAT SUBSIDY

DFAIT Press Release, March 4, 2003

The Government of Canada today refuted the conclusions of U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) in its preliminary findings, which will result in the imposition of duties of 3.94 percent on durum and hard red spring wheat from Canada. “Canadian wheat exports are not subsidized, so we disagree with the U.S. Department of Commerce finding of subsidy, no matter how small,” said International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew. “We mounted a strong defence of our policies and we note that the DOC has set aside most of the U.S. petitioners’ requests. We will continue to defend our policies as the investigations proceed.”

http://webapps.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/minpub/Publication.asp?FileSpec=/Min_Pub_Docs/105927.htm&Language=E

US FOCUS ON WHEAT BOARD ‘INDECENT’ - PETTIGREW

Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, Globe & Mail, Le Droit, March 6, 2003

The fact that the country with some of the highest farm subsidies in the world is attacking the Canadian Wheat Board is “indecent”, said International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew in response to Washington’s plans to impose a 3.94% countervailing duty on Canadian wheat. Ottawa-base trade consultant Peter Clark insisted the Wheat Board should make every effort to co-operate with US investigators, he took particular exception to the finding that Canada subsidises the Wheat Board through discounted bulk freight cars to the railroads. He said that while this might be construed as a subsidy to the transportation sector, the Department of Commerce appears to have no evidence that the savings were passed along to the Wheat Board and grain farmers.

US IMPOSES NEW DUTIES ON CANADIAN GRAIN

Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, National Pose, Financial Post, Globe & Mail, March 5, 2003

The US government slapped punitive duties on imports of Canadian wheat yesterday following a trade investigation into allegations that grain shipments to the United States are unfairly subsidized by the Canadian Wheat Board.ÊÊThe US Commerce Department announced it had imposed preliminary countervailing duties averaging 3.94% on Canadian shipments of Durham and hard red spring wheat.ÊÊDurham is used in making pasta, while spring wheat is baked into bread, rolls and bagels.ÊÊA final decision won’t be made until July. But for now, the ruling requires the Canadian Wheat Board and other exporters to post bonds equal to the preliminary duty on all hard red spring wheat and Durham wheat shipped to the US.

AUSTRALIA WHEAT MONOPOLY UNDER FIRE

“Australian farm trade under fire in WTO, free trade talks”, Reuters, Canberra, March 5, 2003

Australia said Monday its monopoly wheat export system and strict quarantine controls will not be used as bargaining chips in trade reform talks, despite criticism by the United States and the European Union. Agriculture Minister Warren Truss said the “single desk” wheat export system and quarantine regulations were coming under fire in World Trade Organization (WTO) talks for global farm trade reform and also in talks to negotiate bilateral free trade agreements.

http://www.dailystarnews.com/200303/05/n3030505.htm#BODY4



2. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank



60% POVERTY IN PAKISTAN - WORLD BANK

“World Bank Report Highlights 60 Percent Poverty Level In Palestinian Territories”, World Bank, March 5, 2003

Twenty-seven months after the outbreak of the intifada, 60 percent of the population of the West Bank and Gaza live under a poverty line of US$2 per day. The numbers of the poor have tripled from 637,000 in September 2000 to nearly 2 million today.

IMF REPORT ON ALBANIA: POVERTY AND ENERGY BILLS

International Monetary Fund, Public Information Notice No. 03/27, March 7, 2003

…Sound financial policies and market reforms during most of the 1990s have fostered growth and macroeconomic stability. Nonetheless, poverty remains pervasive, and the sustainability of growth is dependent on the expansion of tradables, in particular industry and mining. However, investment in these sectors is hindered by a deficient business climate including administrative barriers and electricity shortages….While the authorities have made significant progress in reforming the ailing energy sector, drought has caused severe electricity shortages in recent years. Moreover recent slippage in meeting targets for bill collection and losses could prolong the crisis….They reiterated their support for the authorities’ commitment to phasing out subsidies for electricity imports before 2005. Directors recommended that the authorities should continue with their efforts to put in place a price mechanism to reflect market conditions and enhance the financial viability of the electricity company.

http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pn/2003/pn0327.htm

MALI DEBT SERVICING REDUCED BUT NOT ELIMINATED - IMF

“IMF And World Bank Support US$ 675 Million in Debt Service Relief for Mali: West African Country Reaches Completion Point Under Enhanced HIPC Initiative”, InternationalÊMonetaryÊFund Press Release, March 7, 2003

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) have agreed that Mali should be granted irrevocable debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative amounting to approximately US$675 million over time…. Debt service payments for Mali will be cut substantially debt service as a percentage of exports is expected to be reduced from 12 percent in 1999 to an annual average of 5.5 percent over the next decade.

http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2003/pr0329.htm

IMF SUSPENDS LIBERIA’S VOTING RIGHTS IN THE FUND

International Monetary Fund Press Release, March 6, 2003

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suspended Liberia’s voting and related rights in the Fund, after having determined that Liberia had failed to strengthen its cooperation with the IMF in the areas of policy implementation and payments to the IMF. As a result of the Board’s decision, Liberia can no longer appoint a Governor or Alternate Governor to the IMF, participate in the election of an Executive Director for its Board, and cast its vote in decisions on Fund policy and country matters.

Liberia has been in continuous arrears to the Fund since December 1984. The suspension of a member’s voting and related rights is one in a series of escalating remedial measures that the Fund applies to members that fail to meet their obligations under the Articles of Agreement of the Fund. …As of end-February 2003, Liberia’s arrears to the IMF amounted to SDR 499.6 million (US$685 million).

http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2003/pr0327.htm

BOLIVIA DEMANDS WORLD BANK ACKNOWLEDGE PRIVATE WATER DEBACLE

“Bolivian Water Officials Call on World Bank to Acknowledge, Discuss Cochabamba Privatization Disaster at This Week’s Water Conference”, Public Citizen Press Release, March 4, 2003

Bolivian water officials are calling on the World Bank to include in this week’s international water conference a discussion of the privatization disaster in Cochabamba, the Bank’s most notorious failure in its push for privatization. The Bank, convening an international conference on water issues today in Washington, D.C., has conspicuously left off the list of discussion topics the failure of water privatization in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which occurred as part of the Bank’s worldwide push for water privatization.

http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=1347



3. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)


CANADA’S FTAA POSITION: RECENT ANALYSIS
“FTAA: A dangerous NAFTA-GATS hybrid Canada’s initial offer threatens vital interests”, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, by Scott Sinclair

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/

USTR DETAILS TRADE VISION

Statement of Robert B. Zoellick, U.S. Trade Representative before the Committee on Finance of the United States Senate, March 5, 2003

…President Bush is advancing, in close association with the Congress, an activist strategy “to ignite a new era of global economic growth through a world trading system that is dramatically more open and more free.”…On the regional front, the United States has been pressing ahead to create the largest free trade zone in history, covering 800 million people and stretching from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego: the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). This endeavor will be trying and difficult, yet when completed it will be historica fulfillment of a U.S. vision dating to the 19th Century…. Having reestablished U.S. trade leadership around the globe, the President is now working with Congress on an activist agenda to expand economic freedom at home and abroad….

http://www.ustr.gov/speech-test/zoellick/2003-03-05-testimony-finance.PDF

US 2003 TRADE POLICY AGENDA AVAILABLE ON-LINE

“2003 Trade Policy Agenda and 2002 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program”, USTR Web Site

http://www.ustr.gov/reports/2003.html

U.S. DEBT $2.7 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS

“Congress sees $1.8 trillion deficit: Defence spending will help push the US into the red”, BBC, Friday, 7 March, 2003

Fresh tax cuts and a massive boost for defence spending means the US budget will be further in the red to the tune of $2.7 trillion over the next ten years, the US Congressional Budget Office says….And many economists disagree with the administration on the likely effect of the planned tax cuts, saying they are targeted at the wrong groups and unlikely to feed through to USA Inc’s bottom line.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2831865.stm

FTAA SECRETARIAT: A ‘GOLD MINE FOR LAWYERS’

“FTAA in Miami: Choose Me”, Miami Daily Business Review, by Matthew Haggman February, 26, 2003

Coral Gables lawyer Jose Antonio Santos says the FTAA should have ‘a permanent secretariat, with a dispute resolution arm, without having a huge infrastructure.’ Hugh Simon, an adviser to Florida FTAA: ‘Having the dispute adjudication mechanism housed here could be a gold mine for lawyers.’

http://www.tradeobservatory.org/news/index.cfm?ID=4190

MEXICAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN CANADA

Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, March 3, 2003

A special program that allows about 12,000 Mexican agricultural workers into Canada each year to help with harvests is being touted as a potential model for other sectors facing labour shortages, including the hotel, meat-packing and construction industries.ÊÊKeith Christie, Canada’s Ambassador to Mexico, said 75% of workers in the agricultural program now return to Canada in subsequent years for contracts lasting three to eight months.ÊÊPilot projects involving Mexican workers in Alberta and at a meatpacking plant in Winnipeg are already under way.ÊÊThe agricultural program began in the early 1970s with about 200 workers.ÊÊNow about 12,000 a year arrive to help farmers harvest crops and work in greenhouses, mostly in Southern Ontario.

INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK CRITISIZED AS UNACCOUNTABLE

“CIEL Questions President of Inter-American Development Bank Over Systematic Problems with the Structure and Procedures of the Independent Investigation Mechanism”, CIEL, February 21, 2003

…The three cases currently before the Independent Investigation Mechanism (IIM) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), i.e., the Yacyreta, Ca–abrava, and TermoelŽctrica del Golfo cases, are revealing systemic problems with the structure and procedures of the IIM. We submit these views and urge your support for the reform, transparency, and effectiveness required of the IIM.

http://www.ciel.org/Ifi/IADB_IIM_21Feb03.html

CANADIAN MANUFACTURERS AND EXPORTERS CALL FOR NORTH AMERICAN HARMONIZED TAXES

Reported in the National Post, Ottawa Citizen, March 7, 2003

The head of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters is calling for Canada and the United States to take the big step and integrate North America down to the daily lives of the citizens of Canada, the US and Mexico. Perrin Beatty will deliver that message to business leaders in a speech to a joint luncheon of the Canada-Minnesota Business Council and the Minnesota Business Partnership later today. Beatty said governments of the three counties must start laying the groundwork for the relationship among the three to evolve to their next logical levels. He called on the governments to begin trilateral talks, but said in the short term it makes sense for Canada and the US to map out what amounts to a marriage contract. That means immediately moving to get rid irritants such as trade spats over softwood lumber and the Canadian Wheat Board. Over the longer term, it means harmonizing taxes and subsidy systems so that regions can compete for business on equal footing.

NEW FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS, NEW RIGHTS FOR INVESTORS

“CIEL Expresses Concern Regarding the TEPAC Report on the Recently Completed U.S. Free Trade Areas with Chile and Singapore”, Center for International Environmental Law Web Site

CIEL, in its role on the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee, helped shape TEPAC’s advice letters to Congress on the Free Trade Agreements with Chile and Singapore. In a separate statement attached to the report, CIEL argues that the investment provisions of the agreements are problematic and fail to meet the standard set by the Trade Act of 2002 that investment rules provide foreign investors with “no greater substantive rights” than those available to U.S. investors under U.S. law.

http://www.ciel.org/Tae/TEPAC_Statement_28Feb03.html

USTR PUBLISHES SIGNAPORE FTA TEXT

USTR Press Release, March 7, 2003

Detailed Summaries of Chile FTA Published, Full Chile Text Expected at End of March

WASHINGTON - The United States today published the entire text of the proposed U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), an 800-plus page document spanning the 21 chapters of the FTA. It includes the agreement’s complete timetables for eliminating duties on bilateral trade, rules of origin for goods and the detailed schedules of commitments in services and investment, including financial services. The Administration also published today 24 detailed issue summaries of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement, and anticipates that the full text of that agreement will be made public at the end of this month.

http://www.ustr.gov/releases/2003/03/03-13.htm

BRAZIL PEASANTS END LAND TRUCE

BBC, Friday, 7 March, 2003

Leaders of the landless movement in Brazil have ended a truce with the government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, by organising a new wave of land invasions.

Peasant officials said unproductive farms and government property had been occupied over the last few days because President Lula had failed to take any concrete action to carry out land reform since taking up office in January.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2828309.stm

COMPLIANCE WITH TRADE AGREEMENTS - REPORT

“Politics not always at root of international disputes: SSHRC project on cultural aspects of law to help reduce conflicts”, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Press

SSHRC is investing nearly $2.5 million in research to help determine the cultural factors that influence how governments comply with international human rights and trade agreements. “Western values have tended to shape many international laws,“ said SSHRC president Marc Renaud. “But not all countries that adopt these laws share the same values. This work will examine how nations’ own norms affect how they interpret and apply legal statutes.”

http://www.sshrc.ca/web/whatsnew/press_releases/2003/mcri_potter_e.asp



4. Environment


UN WARNS OF FUTURE WATER CRISIS

BBC, by Alex Kirby, March 5, 2003

By 2020, the average water supply per person worldwide is expected be a third smaller than now….The UN says political inaction and a lack of awareness are worsening the crisis. The warning comes from the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), which combines the efforts of 23 UN agencies. It is based in Unesco, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2818615.stm

NEW REPORT SHOWS NEGATIVE IMPACTS, THREATS OF WATER PRIVITIZATION

FOE Press Release, March 3, 2003

A new report to be released on the eve of the Third World Water Forum shows that water privatization has had negative impacts on communities in many countries and threatens to affect an increasing number of people in 2003, the United Nations International Year of Water, and beyond. The report, ‘Water Justice for All’ will be released on March 10, 2003 just prior to the March 16-23 World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan and World Water Day (March 22).

http://www.foei.org/media/2003/0303.html

EU SEEKS CONTROL OF WATER SUPPLY IN THIRD WORLD - PAPER

The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa), By Ayenew Haileselassie, March 4, 2003

Het Financieele Dagblad, a major Dutch financial daily, reported last week, citing a document that came into its hands, that the European Union is putting pressure on developing countries to hand over their water supply to European companies.

The EU, according to the paper, is heavily pursuing privatisation of the drinking water sector, which is one of the sectors it wants market access to in WTO countries in the framework of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

Among the countries, which the EU wants access to are Egypt, Botswana, Bangladesh, Brazil, Honduras and Panama.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200303040323.html

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST DAMS AND FOR RIVERS, WATER AND LIFE: MARCH 14

International Rivers Network

http://www.irn.org/dayofaction/

US REFUSES SOME SHRIMP IMPORTS TO SAVE TURTLES

“Sea Turtle Conservation and Shrimp Imports”, Bureau of Public Affairs, US Department of State Press Release, March 6, 2003

On January 29, 2003, the Department of State determined that Honduras and Venezuela no longer meet the requirements…related to the protection of sea turtles in the course of commercial shrimp harvesting. As a result of this determination, importation of shrimp harvested in Honduras and Venezuela with commercial fishing technology that may adversely affect endangered sea turtles will be prohibited. However, imports of shrimp harvested in Honduras and Venezuela by other means, including by aquaculture and with artisanal methods, may continue.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2003/18421.htm

EU SLAMMED FOR NEW GMO PLAN

“Friends of the Earth Slams EU for Growing GM Crops”, FOE Press Release, 5 March 2003

Friends of the Earth has attacked EU Commission plans, launched today by Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler, to allow GM crops to be grown along side conventional and organic crops.

http://www.foei.org/media/2003/0305.html

‘NO EU COUNTRY SHOULD BE GMO FREE’ - EU COMMISSION

“EU: Ban on GM Crops Would Violate Farmers’ Liberty”, ENS, March 7, 2003

…With regard to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), no EU member state should be allowed to declare itself a “GMO free zone,” nor should such zones even be created “against the will of some farmers,” the Commission said. “Co-existence raises questions which have to be addressed, said Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler today. “Co-existence is about economic and legal questions, not about risks or food safety, because only authorized GMOs can be cultivated in the EU.”

http://www.oneworld.net/cgi-bin/index.cgi?root=129&url=http://ens-news.com

ENGOS DEMAND EU MOVE AHEAD ON POLLUTER PAY DIRECTIVE

“EU Environment Ministers must stand firm on liability Directive: Polluters have to accept their responsibilities” Joint Press Release (see below), 4 March 2003 Six leading European green organisations are calling on the EU environment ministers - meeting in Brussels today - to stand firm on the proposed Directive on environmental liability and to resist pressures from industry interests. The environmental organisations - BirdLife International, Greenpeace, the European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, WWF and Seas at Risk - are concerned, that some EU Member States will seek to substantially weaken the proposal under consideration. The environmentalists have appealed to Ministers to improve the weak Commission proposal, bringing forward a regime that requires polluters, rather than the general public, to pay for repairing environmental damage.

UN ADVISOR CALLS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PRPECTION IN POOR COUNTRIES

“UN adviser urges focus on environmental ‘hotspots’”, SciDev.Net, by David Dickson, March 3, 2003

A top adviser to UN secretary general Kofi Annan has warned that the importance of preserving biodiversity in poor countries is not being adequately conveyed to those responsible for implementing economic development policies, and suggests that a global system of environmental ‘hotspots’ could help to focus their attention. The warning has come from Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, who heads a team advising Annan on how to achieve the so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were endorsed by more than 150 heads of state three years ago.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENT WORKSHOP [NOTES]

At the World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 26 January 2003, Organized by the Center for International Environmental Law

Environmental and human rights issues are closely linked and often exist simultaneously. Although these links are being increasingly recognized, there is still much work to be done in this field, in order to foster solidarity and help build a movement to address environmental and social justice struggles together. The first step is to develop better understanding and build stronger networks between mainstream environmental and human rights movements. This workshop aimed at providing an overview of the human rights and environmental movement, discussing the issues it encompasses, and exploring strategies and spaces in which to promote the recognition of human rights and environmental issues in different forums.

http://www.ciel.org/Hre/WSF_HRE_26Jan03.html



5. Other



US AND EU TRADE - JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE

“US Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, Press Conference”, Office of the USTR, March 3, 2003

http://www.ustr.gov/releases/2003/03/2003-03-03-pc-lamyDC.PDF

EU TRADE AGENDA - SPEECH

“Speaking Points: Public Hearing on Trade in Services and Investment, Heinrich Boll Foundation, European Parliament, Brussels”, 6 March 2003

… It is right that the positions I defend and promote as EU negotiator should be rigorously scrutinized, and I am happy to be grilled on these - but not on those positions that are wrongly ascribed to me!…What we are talking about is a combination of market access and rules-making. The two cannot be dissociated if we want to achieve the triple objective of the Doha round: promote global growth, make trade more development-friendly, and ensure that market opening respects the diverse collective preferences and values of our societies. How are these objectives translated into concrete terms in the services and investment negotiations…

http://europa.eu.int/comm/commissioners/lamy/speeches_articles/spla156_en.htm

DIAMOND DAY ON PARLIAMENT HILL

The Hill Times, March 10, 2003

The Canadian diamond industry is organizing a “Diamond Day on the Hill” [March 18] to raise awareness and understanding of the economic and social importance of the Canadian diamond industry with politicians and officials. Representatives from the diamond explorers, the diamond mines, cutters and polishers and jewelers will be participating. Canada’s diamond production is soon to be the third largest in the world and growing. For further information, please contact Gray Picco at GPC International (613) 238-2090 ex 356.

http://www.thehilltimes.ca/2003/march/10/p_cal/

“MILKING IT” - SMALL FARMERS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE: A GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP RESOURCE

Oxfam Web Site

Compare the lives of two dairy farmers in very different countries. How are they affected by international trade rules? Who makes these rules, and what can we do to change them? How much do you know about milk, dairy farmers and international trade?

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/coolplanet/milkingit/index.htm

‘TAKE CARE OF THE SALMON’ - CASTRO TO CANADA

Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, National Post, Globe & Mail, Le Droit, March 5, 2003

Amidst expressing his hopes to avoid war in Iraq, vowing to continue resisting the United States trade embargo against his country and lamenting that hosting Olympic Games has become the purview of the privileged, Fidel Castro advised Canadians to take care of their fish.ÊÊMr. Castro was in Vancouver yesterday for a short stopover on his way home to Havana from an 11-day trade mission to Asia.

MARTIN SHIPPING COMPANY ACCUSED OF ILLEGAL DUMPING

Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, March 4, 2003

Former Finance Minister Paul Martin’s global shipping firm is under investigation of a possible environmental offence after one of its bulk carriers dumped potentially harmful sediment in a bay near prime salmon stocks on the BC coast.ÊÊThe federal Fisheries Department confirmed yesterday that Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) could face charges after the carrier CSL Cabo discharged water that had been used to wash off conveyor belts containing gypsum and possibly other sediment.

‘DON’T TAX HEALTHY FOOD’ - LOBBY GROUP

Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, March 4, 2003

Federal and provincial governments should adopt a range of aggressive measures - from eliminating the GST for healthy restaurant meals, to banning junk-food ads aimed at children - as part of an unprecedented move to improve the diets of Canadians, says a public interest consumer group.ÊÊThe recommendations were released by the Ottawa-based Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in the wake of a major study unveiled yesterday in Geneva by the World Health Organization (WHO). The United Nations agency warns of rising levels of obesity, heart disease and diabetes worldwide.

CANADIANS NOT FOOLED BY LABELS ON BOTTLED WATER

Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, March 4, 2003

Skeptical Canadians are not buying the idyllic pictures on the labels of bottled water as the actual sources of packaged H2O, a newly released government poll shows.ÊÊConducted for Health Canada, the Ipsos-Reid survey also revealed Canadians agree bottled water originating from a public or municipal treatment system without further treatment should include a statement on the label indicating the true nature of the water.ÊÊThe poll report says Health Canada is currently looking into stricter legislation and guidelines to prevent bacterial and chemical contamination in bottled water.

PM TO SEND $100M TO 6 AFRICAN NATIONS

Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, The Gazette, March 3, 2003

Six African countries will be rewarded for improving their human rights and democracy records in the first phase of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s much publicised African Assistance Plan.ÊÊIn a speech to be delivered to the Liu Institute for Global Issues in Vancouver later today, Denis Paradis, Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa, will announce that $100 million of the Canada Fund for Africa will go to Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania.

HEALTH PRIVITIZATION HURTS WOMEN

“Hospital Employees’ Union releases study on impact of health privatization on women’s work, 30 years of pay equity progress at risk from government’s health privatization plans study”, WorkingTV, March 7, 2003

The B.C. government’s plans to privatize health care support services will turn back the clock on women’s wages to levels unseen since the late 1960s and put patient care at risk, according to a new study by Simon Fraser University economist Marjorie Griffin Cohen.

http://workingtv.com/heuiwdreport.html

EU AND MERCOSUR ACCELERATE FREE TRADE TALKS

“EU and Mercosur accelerate negotiations towards free trade”, EU Trade Commission Press Release, Brussels, 5 March 2003

In the current negotiations for a Association Agreement between the EU and Mercosur, both parties exchanged today their offers for market opening, as foreseen in the work program agreed at the EU-Mercosur ministerial meeting in R’o de Janeiro on 23 July 2002. This move paves the way for the next negotiating round, which will take place in Brussels between 17-21 March 2003….The EU-Mercosur negotiations for an Association Agreement aim at establishing a comprehensive political and economic partnership between the two regions. It covers three pillars: a political dialogue, a co-operation pillar and a trade chapter.

http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade/bilateral/mercosur/pr050303_en.htm




6. Glossary


“Chapter 11” …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

MAI Multilateral Agreement on Investment

NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement

NGO Non-governmental organization

TRIPS Agreement Respecting Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

UN United Nations

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.



FOR INFORMATION OR COMMENTS, TO SUBSCRIBE OR UNSUBSCRIBE, PLEASE CONTACT: Sarah Dover, sdover@magma.ca