April 8, 2003
THE BUSINESS OF RECONSTRUCTION
INTERNATIONAL TRADE IMPLICATIONS
1. War and Trade
Reported in the Globe & Mail, April 7, 2003
Many Canadians are holding back on what was expected to be an outpouring of donations for humanitarian assistance to victims to the war on Iraq. It might be that the images of battle overshadow the plight of the innocent. It might the empty refugee camps. It might be that people do not want to pay for the damage caused by a war they oppose. Or they might be waiting to see how bad the situation becomes. The International Red Cross has appealed for $220-million worldwide for operations in and around Iraq, and the Canadian government has contributed $4.5 million to that fund on behalf of taxpayers.But individual donations pale beside the several million dollars that poured into the Red Cross during the Kosovo crisis a few years ago.
Reuters, March 28, 2003
The impact of the Iraq war on the countrys ecology and public health could be greater and more costly than that of any previous conflict in the region, environmental experts said this week. Oil spills, burning wells, accidental or deliberate damage to pipelines, refineries, fertiliser plants and sewage treatment works, and the use of depleted uranium weapons could cause long-term damage to Iraqs natural resources and to the people who depend on them for a living.
MARCH FOR IRAQ TO MARK WORLD WATER DAY
On the Water Front, by Alex Hill, April 1, 2003
This year, marching against war in Iraq was likely the best way to commemorate the International Day of Water (March 22). Few took notice of Water Day events, or noted that Iraqs substantial supply of fresh water may be as much a motivation for the war as its oil.
BOYCOTT BRAND AMERICA: ADBUSTERS
Adbusters Web Site (Campaign call and petition)
In the face of intense opposition at home and abroad, the US government is determined to fight a war that will be felt around the world. Its a slap in the face to democracy, a cold shoulder to liberty - and its time to make a visible statement against American power gone wrong.
AFRICA IS STARVING AS THE WORLD FEEDS ON IRAQ
Alternatives, by Daphnee Dion-Viens, April 2, 2003, While the international community focuses its attention on Iraq, another crisis is quietly brewing - Africa is once again facing the threat of famine. The situation attests to the precariousness of meeting the basic nutritional requirements of millions of people on the planet. Many are now contending that globalization, far from being the solution, may be part of the problem.
WORLD BANK ROLE IN IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION
Blair and Bush see Vital UN Role, as EU Urges World Bank Role, World Bank Press Review, April 8, 2003
Agence France-Presse reports that World Bank President James Wolfensohn said on Monday the Bank wants to take part in rebuilding a post-war Iraq but that it is frozen without authorization or a request to go in. The Bank, central in the post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan, Bosnia, East Timor and Kosovo, was in the dark about any future participation in Iraq, he said in an interview. I can say very simply that no one has talked to us about our role, Wolfensohn is quoted as saying .Meanwhile, notes the Financial Times, the prospect of a regime change in Baghdad that could pave the way for debt restructuring talks between a new government and the countrys long-suffering creditors, has triggered a rally in Iraqs traded debt. Iraq is estimated to owe more than $100 billion in international loans, and has paid no interest for some 15 years.
UN ROLE IN RECONSTRUCTION: OXFAM BRIEF
Iraqs reconstruction and the role of the United Nations, Oxfam Briefing Note, April 3, 2003
The war continues and many outcomes are possible. There is already a debate on the shape of Iraqs reconstruction. This briefing note proposes principles of how the international community should assist the people of Iraq in establishing their own administration after the war. It does not seek to set out a precise model. Our proposals are based on our experience and lessons from Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor and Afghanistan. Oxfam also played a significant role in the immediate and medium-term reconstruction of Iraq after the first Gulf War.
UN SPELLS OUT LIMITS OF US POST-CONFLICT RIGHTS
World Bank Press Review, April 4, 2003
Mark Malloch Brown, head of the UNDP, said on Thursday the US would have little choice but to return to the UN in establishing a post-conflict Iraq administration, stressing it had no international right to take over Iraqs oil industry, and warning that rebuilding costs would far exceed current oil revenues, reports the Financial Times.
WAR IN IRAQ UNDERMINING LATIN AMERICAN ECONOMY
War on Iraq Bombards Recovery Forecasts, IPS, by Gustavo González, March 31, 2003
The U.S.-British war on Iraq is undermining expectations of a resurgence of the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, since the conflict will further hinder access to external financing, and could even trigger a new global slowdown. The war is accentuating negative cyclical tendencies which have an impact on the region and will gain strength if the conflict drags on, economist Hugo Fazio, director of the Chilean non-governmental Center of National Studies on Alternative Development (CENDA), told IPS.
THE FUTURE OF NO BLOOD FOR WATER
Brazil: South Could Become Stage for Water Wars, by Mario Osava, IPS, April 1, 2003
Developing countries rich in water resources could become scenarios of war similar to what is happening today in Iraq if water continues to be privatized and sold like any other merchandise or good, warned Leonardo Morelli, the organizer of the Social Water Forum, taking place in Brazil. Today war is being waged over oil, tomorrow it will be for water, Morelli, who is also the coordinator of the Brazilian Shout for Water Movement, told IPS in a telephone interview in a break in the debates and seminars that have drawn activists from around South America this week to Cota, a city on the outskirts of Sao Paulo.
TRANS-ATLANTIC DISPUTE OVER IRAQ WAR HITS TRADE
Reuters, by Samuel Fromartz, April 3, 2003
Frances opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq has led to calls for a boycott of French goods, while Europeans have started avoiding American products such as Coca-Cola. These actions show how a conflict in the political arena can spill over into trade, even though it may not be easy in todays global market to single out a purely national product. In Washington, lawmakers last week called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to cancel an $881 million contract with a French-owned food service company that feeds U.S. Marines, even though it employs Americans.
IRAQ WAR MAY SPEED UP WTO TRADE TALKS: EU
AFP, April 2, 2003
The US-led war in Iraq could serve as an impetus to conclude the World Trade Organisation trade liberalistion talks despite current divisions, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said Tuesday .I believe the geopolitical tensions are there, but that they can work on the positive side to reinforce the view that the economy of this world needs good news, Lamy told a press briefing here.
TRADE TOPS IRAQ FOR POOR COUNTRIES: WORLD BANK
World Bank Press Review, April 8, 2003
The outcome of the Doha trade round is more important to poor countries economies than the U.S.-led war with Iraq, World Bank President James Wolfensohn said on Monday, reports Reuters.
RIFT OVER IRAQ EXPECTED TO HEAL
U.S. defence adviser believes economic relations with Canada too intertwined
Globe & Mail, by Sinclair Stewart, April 7, 2003
A prominent U.S. defence adviser said yesterday he expects economic relations between Canada and the United States to remain healthy, despite political differences over the war in Iraq.
CANADA-US RIFT COSTING BUSINESS: POLL
Reported in the National Post, April 7, 2003
Two-thirds of Canadian corporate leaders say their business is already being hurt by strains in Canada-US relations.A COMPAS poll found that 87% of Canadian business leaders believe Americans are especially resentful of anti-US comments made by senior Canadian politicians.About 65% say that strain is beginning to affect or has already hurt Canadian access to the giant US market.
Reported in the Ottawa Sun, Ottawa Citizen, National Post, Le Droit, April 4, 2003
A few Canadian businesses have reported losing major US customers in recent weeks, alleged victims of an American backlash over this countrys decision to sit out the war in Iraq. Liberal MP Dennis Mills called on one of the biggest guns in Washington to help bring some calm to the issue, and to head off any further escalation of hostilities on both sides of the border. Thomas J. Donohue, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, made an emergency detour through Toronto yesterday to meet with about 200 Canadian executives. Donohue says that the relationship between the countries remains long, deep, important, personal and something we all want to nurture and strengthen.
Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, April 3, 2003
Ontario Premier Ernie Eves has escalated his campaigning in support of the American invasion of Iraq by writing a personal note to the US President to say the Ontario government sides with Washington on the war.
Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, April 3, 2003
The apparent breakdown in US-Canada relations revolves around the rift between George W. Bush and Jean Chrétien, a Commons Subcommittee Chairman says. After a three-day visit to Washington, Liberal MP Roger Gallaway said Wednesday he was told by a member of the US Congress, representing a state near the US-Canadian border, that Bush in not pleased with Chrétien and the Canadian governments position on the war in Iraq. I was told in no uncertain terms that it all hinges on the personal relationship between the President and the Prime Minister, said Gallaway, who Chairs the Commons Defence Committee.
Reported in the National Post, April 2, 2003
A veteran Liberal MP has invited the President of the US Chamber of Commerce to Toronto tomorrow to reassure his Canadians are pro-American, despite any differences over the war in Iraq.Dennis Mills, MP for the downtown Toronto-Danforth, took the unprecedented step of asking Thomas J. Donohue to meet with a group of 200 Canadian business leaders who fear an economic backlash.
Reported in the Globe & Mail, April 1, 2003
Finance Minister Janet Ecker was enthusiastically applauded by a Toronto business audience after she criticised the federal Liberals for not endorsing the US attack on Iraq.The applause came after the audience sat silently through a 25-minute speech in which she promoted the merits of last weeks controversial economic statement.Her attack on Ottawa over its lack of support for the US war efforts followed similar comments by Premier Ernie Eves as Ontarios Tory government appeals to its neo-conservative base of support.While here in Ontario we recognize that views on the Iraq war can differ, we do not agree with the strategy of the federal Liberal Caucus to kick our biggest trading partner again and again, Ms. Ecker told more than 200 people from the Canadian Club and the Empire Club.
Council condemns Celluccis linking of war and Canadian energy, April 2, 2003
The Council of Canadians strongly condemns the US Ambassador, Paul Cellucci, for raising the spectre of deteriorating US-Canada relations to extract energy concessions from our governments. Cellucci has again called for increased energy integration as he continues to publicly chastise the Canadian position on the unsanctioned attack on Iraq. He is in effect calling for implementation of the discredited Bush Continental Energy Plan as he spoke this afternoon at a luncheon hosted by the Association de lindustrie électrique de Québec.
2. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
The Straights Times, April 6, 2003
The World Trade Organisations chief, Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, is putting on a brave face when confronted with adversity. He says the WTOs failure to meet the March 31 deadline for an agreement on a negotiating framework to liberalise farm trade was disappointing but not disastrous .More trouble lies ahead unless the big trading powers, notably the United States and the European Union, find the political will to push the stalled negotiations forward. Dr Supachai is now pinning his hopes on the next ministerial conference at Cancun, Mexico, in September to clear the roadblocks.
EU STRATEGY FOR CANCUN
The Commission Outlines the EU Strategy for Cancun, Presentation of the EU Position by M P Carl, Director General, DG Trade to the Trade Negotiating Committee of the WTO, EU Trade, April 2, 2003
I Would like to start by addressing the key issue of what do we need to do in order to ensure that Cancun, and the Round, is a success?
CHANCES OF QUICK (RUSSIAN) WTO ENTRY GLOOMY
Reuters, April 7, 2003, by Andrew Hurst and Darya Korsunskaya
Russias top trade negotiator said Friday his advisers were gloomy over Russias chances of joining the World Trade Organization soon and that some member countries were now dragging their feet. Technically we still have the possibility to conclude these negotiations by the end of the year my experts are more and more pessimistic on that but technically it is not excluded, Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Maxim Medvedkov said. If there is political will we may conclude these negotiations within a few months, he said.
CONSENSUS ON DISPUTE SETTLEMENT FAR AWAY IN WTO
Hoovers, April 6, 2003
Negotiations on dispute settlement rules seems to be going the agriculture way with no consensus emerging yet on the possible contents of a text for clarifications and improvements to the Dispute Settlement Undertaking (DSU). Due to the significant divergences remaining among participants on the issue, Chairman of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) has proposed a two-stage approach for carrying out further work until the mandated May 31 deadline. In his report to the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) of the World Trade Organisation, the Chairman proposed to first issue a framework document which would also contain guidance for further work. On the basis of that document, the further discussions and consultations are to be conducted over the course of the coming month including the next meeting of the Special Session on April 10-11 2003.
US MAY SEEK WTO PANEL AGAINST EU ON FOOD NAMES
Reuters, April 4, 2003
The Bush administration said on Friday it could take legal action against the European Union for its failure to protect U.S.-trademarked geographic food names such as Florida oranges and Idaho potatoes .The move puts the EU on notice that it could face litigation at the World Trade Organization if the talks do not succeed in the next 60 days.
CANADA WILL DEFEND ITS WHEAT POLICIES BEFORE WTO
DFAIT Press Release, March 31, 2003
The Government of Canada said today that it will defend its wheat policies and the practices of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), in reaction to the establishment of a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel requested by the United States.
The WTO clearly provides members with the right to establish and maintain a state trading enterprise such as the Canadian Wheat Board, said International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew. We believe our wheat sector policies are fully consistent with our international obligations and we will defend them in this panel process.
UPDATE ON WTO NEGOTIATIONS
DFAIT Bulletin, Issue 3 - March 2003
UPDATE ON NEGOTIATIONS ON SERVICES
ONLY FEW SERVICES OFFERS TRICKLE IN BY END-MARCH DEADLINE, Bridges Weekly Trade Digest, April 3, 2003
A few countries have recently submitted their initial offers of services liberalisation, adhering to an end-March deadline. According to the negotiating mandate on services that WTO Members agreed at Doha in 2001, participants shall submit initial requests for specific commitments by 30 June 2002 and initial offers by 31 March 2003. The countries presenting their offers to the Council on Trade in Services (CTS) by the deadline mainly developed countries included the Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US. The EU was not yet able to agree on its offer, but is expected to present it over the next few weeks .The fact that only a few Members presented their services offers, with developing countries notably absent, is seen by some as a reaction to the many other deadlines missed in the current round of negotiations (i.e. TRIPS and health, implementation issues and concerns, special and differential treatment for developing countries, and agriculture).
INDIA OFFER ON SERVICES
INDIA SUBMITS SERVICE SECTOR ``REQUEST LIST TO WTO MEMBERS: Imports of most of the sensitive items have shown a negative growth during Apr-Nov 2002, Hoovers, April 7, 2003
The Government of India has released the request list on service sectors of interest to the members of the World Trading Organisation (WTO). The list includes architectural services, audio-visual services, computer and related services, health services, maritime services and tourism services.
WTO & AGRICULTURE
Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Press Release, April 1, 2003
The Government of Canada is disappointed World Trade Organization (WTO) Members missed a key deadline in the ongoing agriculture negotiations, but it remains committed to working toward an agreement that would level the international playing field upon which the Canadian agriculture sector competes.
WTO STRIKES PANEL ON CANADIAN WHEAT
Panel established to examine Canadas measures on wheat and grain, WTO Dispute Settlement Body, March 31, 2003
On 31 March 2003, the Dispute Settlement Body established a panel at the request of the United States to examine Canadas measures on wheat and grain (DS276).
CANADA WILL DEFEND ITS WHEAT POLICIES BEFORE WTO
DFAIT Press Release, March 31, 2003
The Government of Canada said today that it will defend its wheat policies and the practices of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), in reaction to the establishment of a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel requested by the United States .The United States has a long history of making unsubstantiated allegations against the Canadian Wheat Board, said Public Works and Government Services Minister and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board Ralph Goodale.
EU GOES TO WTO ON AUSSIE QUARINTINES
European Union to challenge Australias protectionist food import regime at WTO, EU Trade, March 31, 2003
The European Union has decided to request Australia to enter into WTO formal consultations on its quarantine system for imports of agricultural products. Consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process and if they prove unsuccessful, entitle the EU to ask for a WTO Panel to be set up to rule on the legality of the Australian system. EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said: Australia has built a quarantine system which is highly efficient at blocking the import of agricultural products into this country. We believe this system flagrantly breaches WTO rules, despite Australias constant claims to be the only beacon of free agricultural trade. The EU will use WTO procedures to ensure that Australia practises what it preaches on agricultural market access.
3. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
The Changing Face of Finance: Foreign investment, remittances outpace debt as sources of finance for developing countries, says new World Bank report, World Bank, April 3, 2003
Foreign direct investment and migrant workers sending part of their paycheck back home have become more important sources of finance for developing countries than private lending. In 2002 payments on private debt were again larger than new loans, so private debt flows were a net negative for developing countries, according to a new World Bank report, Global Development Finance 2003, released yesterday.
ECUADOR RUNNING OUT OF OIL: IMF COUNTRY REPORT
IMF Country Report, Ecuador 2003: Article IV Consultation
Since President Gutierrez took office on January 15, his government has made an impressive start at implementing a comprehensive economic program Ecuadorian society is very divided along income, ethnic, and regional lines, and forging consensus for sustained strong economic policies has been problematic ..Prudent use of the countrys oil wealth is gaining further importance with the new oil pipeline, which can double the pace of extraction of the oil reserves and erode net worth even faster. Current projections suggest that oil reserves may be used up between 2020 and 2030, depending on the discovery of new reserves .Policy makers in Ecuador face two challenges: the immediate challenge of stabilizing the economy consistent with dollarization, and the medium term challenge of generating sustainable high-quality growth while preventing the rapidly growing oil sector from causing Dutch disease problems.
AGENDA FOR IMF SPRING MEETINGS
Transcript of a Press Briefing by Thomas C. Dawson, Director, External Relations Department, International Monetary Fund, April 3, 2003
Good Afternoon. Im Tom Dawson, Director of External Relations at the Fund Ill briefly review the agenda for the International Monetary and Financial Committee, which is a policy-guiding body of the IMF that will be meeting on Saturday, April 12 .We will also be talking about crisis prevention resolution issues, low-income-country issues, and a number of other items, including some discussion as well of voice and representation of developing countries in the institutions, although that is a formal agenda item at the Development Committee, will also be the subject of some discussion here.
4. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
HANSARD, 37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, HANSARD, April 7, 2003
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, given the ongoing softwood lumber fiasco and the fact that Quebec and Ontario are not going along with the Aldonas policies, is it not time for the trade minister to abandon the strategy of provincial concessions that B.C. is still pushing and make it clear that Canada has a right to make its own forestry policies? Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me be clear that our government has always pursued a two track approach. We are absolutely free in this country to pursue the forestry practices we want in our own country according to our own sovereignty. We will win before the courts at the WTO and NAFTA .
CANADA TO OFFER US OIL DIPLOMATIC OLIVE BRANCH
Reported in the National Post, April 4, 2003
Ottawa will launch a major diplomatic offensive in Houston next week, serving up Canadas energy-rich Arctic as a key component for the United States to develop a secure continental fuel supply. Robert Nault, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, will tell a conference Monday that Canada is ready to support US efforts to develop secure energy sources in North America.
Reported in the Ottawa Sun, April 4, 2003
Canada and the U.S. signed an agreement yesterday that will impose new border security measures on rail shipments from Canada. The joint government-industry agreement - signed by U.S. and Canadian Customs agencies, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways - stems from the Smart Border Declaration adopted by Canada and the U.S. in December 2001 to improve cross-border security after the Sept. 11 attacks. Included in the new security measures are the following: CN and CPR rail shipments into the U.S. will be targeted, screened and examined. Guidelines for collecting manifest information electronically, installation of imaging and radiation detection equipment at seven border crossings.
Federal court on Monday will weigh popular dolphin-protection law against demands of secretive trade pact: Proponents of sweeping trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) always have maintained that U.S. trade commitments do not affect or undermine domestic law. But the Bush administrations attack on a domestic environmental law is the latest proof - the smoking dolphin, if you will - that trade commitments do lead to the erosion of domestic public interest policies.
CAFTA: FREE TRADE VS. DEMOCRACY
One World, by Mark Engler, April 1, 2003
Earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick met with foreign ministers from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua to launch official negotiations for the United States-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), a treaty that would expand NAFTA-style trade barrier reductions to Central America. The first bargaining session for CAFTA convened in San José, Costa Rica on January 27. Zoellick and other White House representatives would like us to believe that their efforts to open markets throughout the hemisphere will serve to strengthen democracy abroad. Theres only one problem with this rhetoric: CAFTA provides a perfect example of a free trade agreement that actually undermines democratic freedoms.
US REPORT ON FOREIGN TRADE BARRIERS (INCLUDING CANADA)
2003 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, USTR
The 2003 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE) is the eighteenth in an annual series that surveys significant foreign barriers to U.S. exports . The statute requires an inventory of the most important foreign barriers affecting U.S. exports of goods and services, foreign direct investment by U.S. persons, and protection of intellectual property rights. Such an inventory facilitates negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating these barriers. The report also provides a valuable tool in enforcing U.S. trade laws, with the goal of expanding global trade, which
benefits all nations.
US TRADE POLICY AGENDA FOR 2003/REPORT ON 2002
2003 Trade Policy Agenda and 2002 Annual Report of the President of the United States
on the Trade Agreements Program, USTR
US TRADE UNVEILS TEXTS OF CHILE TRADE AGREEMENT
Chile Free Trade Agreement: Consolidated Texts
USTR, April 3, 2003
US House panel passes ANWR, pushes offshore drilling, Reuters, April 4, 2003
The Republican-led House Resources Committee breathed new life into Bushs national energy policy this week, approving legislation to drill in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge while boosting incentives to encourage exploration in deep offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.
PEOPLES CONGRESS URGES LAND, FOOD WITHOUT POISONS
Environmental News Service, April 7, 2003
Agricultural workers and their families are being poisoned, rural lands, forests, oceans and waters are devastated, biodiversity is being destroyed, and food is unfit for human consumption. With these words, 140 participants from 17 countries at the First Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific Congress in Manila last week warned the world that industrial agriculture as conducted by transnational corporations is undermining the resources needed to sustain food production.
DOW CHEMICAL SUED BY NY FOR CALLING PESTICIDE SAFE
Reuters, April 4, 2003
New Yorks state attorney this week said he plans to sue a unit of of Dow Chemical Co. (DOW.N) for allegedly breaching a 1994 agreement against false advertising of a pesticide. The action against Dow AgroSciences LLC, a subsidiary of the largest U.S. chemical maker, involves Dows widely used pesticide, Dursban, used around homes to poison termites. As part of the 1994 agreement, the company was supposed to stop making claims that the product was safe, State Attorney Eliot Spitzer said in a statement.
ADVOCATES LOSE FIGHT TO TIGHTEN SHRIMPER RULES
Houston Chronicle, by Kevin Moran, April 7, 2003 Sea turtle advocates in Texas and around the nation Monday lost their legal battle for stricter rules on foreign fishermen who send shrimp to the United States. The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider turtle preservationists claims that the State Department only laxly enforces a congressional ban on shrimp caught in foreign-fleet nets not equipped with turtle excluder devices, or TEDs.
INDIAN AG MINISTER SAYS GMO COTTON NOT AS PROMISED
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE, 2 April 2003
The promises put forth by proponents of genetic engineering have often turned out to be exaggerated. This is true in the case of Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh in India. The failure has been confirmed officially by Minister for Agriculture of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, V S Rao, who stated that Bt cotton farmers have not experienced very positive and encouraging results.
HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS AS THREE GORGES STARTS FILLING
ngos decry human rights crisis at three gorges project as reservoir starts filling, IRN/FOE Press Release, April 3, 2003
The reservoir of the controversial Three Gorges Dam in Chinas Yangtze Valley will start filling on April 10, aggravating already serious human rights problems in the resettlement areas. A new report documents that the resettlement problems of this publicly funded dam have not been resolved, and that project construction is linked to systematic human rights violations. At the annual session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, International Rivers Network and Friends of the Earth International have called on China to suspend submergence until the projects human rights problems have been resolved. They have also called on Western governments that fund the dam to ensure that the project comply with international norms.
BRAZL MEASURE IGNITES CONGRESSIONAL GM SOY DEBATE ***
Reuters, April 7, 2003
A draft measure proposed last week by the new government to rein in Brazils rampant illegal transgenic soy trade unleashed a storm of 70 proposals to alter the measure in Congress .By unofficial estimates, transgenic soy seeds, smuggled from Argentina where they are legal, are responsible for as much as 30 percent of Brazils record 50-million-tonne crop - the worlds second largest after the United States, according to the Association of Brazilian Seed Producers (Abrasem).
EU CARBON TRADE MARKET SEEN WORTH BILLIONS OF EUROS
Reuters, April 7, 2003
The European Union carbon emissions trading market could be worth as much as 1.8 billion euros a year by 2012 as countries drive to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, a report said. The EU will launch the worlds first international greenhouse gas trading scheme in 2005 as part of efforts to fight global warming.
WHO CALLS FOR ACTION ON CHILD DEATHS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS
WHO wants action to stop millions of child deaths, Reuters, April 8, 2003
The World Health Organisation (WHO) called yesterday for urgent international action to remove environmental hazards which kill five million children every year, mainly in poor countries .The biggest threats to childrens health lurk in the very places that should be safest - home, school and community, WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland said in a statement to mark World Health Day, this year dedicated to ensuring healthy environments for children.
CANADIAN FISH GUIDELINES - ACCEPTABLE LEVELS FOR MERCURY, LEAD, ARSENIC, PCB
CANADIAN GUIDELINES FOR CHEMICAL CONTAMINANTS AND TOXINS IN FISH AND FISH PRODUCTS, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Animal Products Directorate, March 27, 2003
CRITERIA FOR ACTION: A lot of fish will be considered reject if the sample value exceeds the action level. Fish or fish products exceeding these guidelines may be permitted for export if they do not violate regulations of the importing country.
CANADA TO RATIFY ANTARCTIC TREATY
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, HANSARD, April 7, 2003
Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Canadians are increasingly active in Antarctica; students, researchers and tourists. Canadian business is also active there. Antarctica is a very special untouched part of the globe. Could the Minister of the Environment tell us when Canada will ratify the protocol for environmental protection under the Antarctic treaty, commonly known as the Madrid protocol? Hon. David Anderson (Minister of the Environment, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I agree it is high time that Canada ratified the Antarctic treaty. The protocol is essential to protect one of the worlds most sensitive and interesting ecological regions. I can assure the hon. member that ratification is expected by the end of the year.
Reuters, March 31, 2003
The Canadian government gave a boost last week to efforts to allow offshore drilling on its Pacific coast, saying it would study lifting a 1972 moratorium on exploration in the region. Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal said a panel would study the economic and environmental impact of allowing drilling for oil and natural gas around the Queen Charlotte Islands, just south of the Alaska panhandle.
MINISTERS CLASH ON DRILLING BAN
Reported in the National Post, April 3, 2003
The future of British Columbias offshore oil and gas reserves was thrown into doubt yesterday after David Anderson, the federal Environment Minister, said no decision on whether to lift a federal ban on drilling can be made until a draft of new studies have been completed. Anderson estimates the new costs of the studies at about $100-million, which he said the private sector should pay. Mr. Dhaliwal, the senior Minister from British Columbia is keen to see development of the resources to proceed, but he has been blocked by Mr. Anderson, who played a role in theimposition of the moratorium 30 years ago.
Research set to trial herpes virus in mouse fertility vaccine, ABC Rural, April 2, 2003
Researchers in Canberra hope to be cleared to begin field trials of a genetically-modified virus to control mice. Scientists at the Co-operative Research Centre for Pest Control have developed a version of the herpes virus, which has been modified to carry an infertility gene.
PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE LOOKS AT FOREIGN OWNERSHIP AND PHONES
Globe & Mail Editorial, Capital and Culture, April 1, 2003
In a world made forever smaller by media and technology, it still feels strange that a Parliamentary Committees upcoming recommendations on telephone companies and the question of foreign ownership could have a profound effect on Canadian culture.But they will.Canadian Heritage is also examining the issue, but from the point of view of Canadian broadcaster.The connection is that telecom and cable companies are rapidly becoming the same thing.This inevitably excites valid emotions about wanting to preserve Canadian stories and the livelihood of Canadian artists.Whereas telcos talk about capital, broadcasters talk about culture.In November, Heritage Minister Sheila Copps is said to have told Industry Minister Alan Rock that a broader review of foreign ownership would be done over her dead body.Convergence is here.The issue isnt to choose between foreign ownership and the protection of Canadian content. The issue is to ensure that Canadian content isnt pushed aside as those involved in transmission get greater access to international capital.
Reported in the Financial Post, April 3, 2003
Just as telephone and media companies are scrambling to abandon their convergence strategies, the folk in Ottawa appear to have jumped on the convergence bandwagon. This would explain why a House of Commons industry committee has decided to come out in favour of lifting foreign ownership restriction for telecommunication, cable and broadcasting companies. Heritage Minster Sheila Copps has been adamantly against the idea of easing foreign ownership restriction for cultural sectors such as cable. And the last thing that the Liberals want to be accused of is threatening the control and distribution of Canadian content. It is likely that this foreign ownership issue will likely become a hot political issue within the Liberal Party as the race to succeed Prime Minister Chrétien heats up.
Cheaper Aids Drugs to Be Made Locally, UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, April 7, 2003 People living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa could soon be able to access cheaper anti-AIDS drugs under a new project which will manufacture generic medication in the country. According to a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) statement, the soon-to-be launched Initiative Pharmaceutical Technology Transfer (IPTT) will not only provide for the countrys public sector needs, but also for other African countries
40 MILLION AFRICANS ON THE BRINK OF STARVATION, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD
AllAfrica Global Media, April 7, 2003
With international attention focused on the humanitarian situation arising from the conflict in Iraq, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today urged the Security Council not to forget the 40 million Africans in greater peril of starvation.
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.