May 22. 2003
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
Terrorism Has A New Utility In US Hands A Non-tariff Barrier, by Sanjay Jog, Financial Express, May 19, 2003
The US, in order to strengthen its negotiating power at the coming World Trade Organisations (WTO) ministerial round in Mexico, is expected to use terror as a serious argument to increase the non-tariff barriers.
USTR LINKS EU AG REFORM WITH WTO SUCCESS
USTRs Zoellick Urges Agricultural Reforms by EU for WTO Success, US Embassy, May 21, 2003
Reform of the European Unions (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) farm subsidies program is critical to successful negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO), U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick says .Without substantial reform of the agricultural trading system, he said, we are highly unlikely to progress with the rest of the topics under negotiation in the WTO.
US REMAINS SUPPORTER OF LIBERALISM DESPITE CRITISISM
U.S. is Supporter of Trade Liberalization, Daily Champion (Lagos), May 20, 2003
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier has said the United States remains an unequivocal supporter of Trade liberalization, notwithstanding suggestions from some trading partners that new steel import tariffs and domestic farm subsidies signal a worrisome retreat from the countrys pro-trade stance. Addressing reporters towards the close of a two-day annual meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, Allgeier said he had focused on ways to advance the trade negotiations launched November 2001 at the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar.
DOHA MAY HURT FORESTS, MARINE SECTORS: KOREA
Doha talks may hurt forest, marine sectors, The Korea HeralD, May 22, 2003
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday expressed concern for Koreas forest and marine sectors based on the latest proposal by the World Trade Organization for the non-agricultural negotiations of the Doha Development Agenda. According to the ministry, the draft, distributed by DDA Saturday for the upcoming talks May 26-28, offers proposals that are more favorable to the advanced countries in that it calls for drastic import tax cuts in all sectors in all markets.
WTO NOT TO ADMIT RUSSIA UNTIL 2004
The Russian Federation will not become a member in Cancun, Pravda, May 22, 2003
The Russian Federation will not join the World Trade Organization at the September meeting in Cancun, Mexico, this year according to PRAVDA.Ru contacts in Brussels, which declared that the earliest possible date for adhesion will be October or November 2004. the EU does not intend to allow Russia to join the WTO until a number of important issues have been resolved. These are namely the Trans-Siberian Air Space, the prices of energy, monopolies and market access for services.
NON-AGRICULTURAL MARKET ACCESS: NEGOTIATION TARGETS
Market access chairman issues first draft of modalities paper, WTO Press Release, May 16, 2003
The Chairman of the Non-Agricultural Market Access Negotiating Group, Ambassador Pierre-Louis Girard, on 16 May 2003 circulated the first draft of the modalities paper to member governments, ahead of the 26-28 May meeting of the Negotiating Group. The modalities are targets for achieving the objectives of the negotiations. Due to be established by 31 May 2003, they will set parameters of the final agreements to be reached by 1 January 2005.
STEELWORKERS CALL FOR RESPONSE ON DUMPING
Steelworkers call on ChrÚtien and Manley for real response to steel dumping, United Steelworkers of America Press Release, May 21, 2003
The United Steelworkers National Director, Lawrence McBrearty, has written to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, urging Jean ChrÚtien and John Manley to meet with representatives of the steel industry and the union as soon as possible to permit a full
discussion of the impact of unfairly-priced steel imports and to come up with a stronger response than one that was removed last week from the Cabinet agenda .Canadian steel faces a real crisis. We need a real response.
GATS REQUESTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES TO US
Giving it all Away? Read WTO GATS Requests From Other Countries To U.S.,
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Web Site
IATP has made available the U.S. Trade Representatives (USTR) summary of WTO service sector negotiation demands that affect U.S. state law. The compilation lists the requests made to the U.S. from WTO-member countries as part of negotiations occurring under the WTOs General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
WTO ON THE AGENDA AT APEC MEETING
APEC: Trade Ministers and senior officials to discuss Doha Development Agenda and upcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting , Presswire, May 21, 2003
During two weeks between May 21 and June 3, the second round of meetings for the 2003 APEC Year will take place in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Concluding with a meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT), this round of meetings will address several of the major issues confronting the Asia-Pacific region at the moment and also check on the progress of the APEC free trade and investment agenda.
Mexican WTO Session Will Be Tough - Erwin, by John Fraser, Business Day (Johannesburg), May 20, 2003
Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin expressed deep concern yesterday about the lack of progress in the Doha Round of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) global negotiations, warning that ministers would face a very tough session when they met in Cancun, Mexico, in September .[N]one of the key issues had been sorted out, meaning ministers faced an overburdened agenda in Cancun.
Intellectual Property & Drugs
No shift on drugs at trade talks - Industry chief, by Richard Waddington, May 22, 2003, Reuters
Geneva talks on cheaper medicines for poorer states are deadlocked despite upbeat words from world trade chiefs, and drugs firms see the only deal on the table as a licence to steal, a top industry official said on Thursday.
US UNLIKELY TO COMPROMISE ON WTO DRUG DEAL
Washington Stands Alone in Opposition to Relaxing Patents on AIDS Drugs, Agence France Presse, May 20, 2003 by
Despite a 15 billion-dollar proposal to fight AIDS in developing nations, Washington is still unlikely to compromise on drug patents a crucial tool in the arsenal for poor countries to fight the spread of the deadly disease. The United States is alone among the World Trade Organizations 144 members to oppose a December agreement in Doha giving developing nations stricken by AIDS epidemics the right to ignore drug patents and import cheaper, generic medicines.
US PROPOSAL ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY FAILS POOR: NGOs
Joint NGO Response to US Proposal on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health at the 56th World Assembly, Statement signed by MÚdecins Sans Fronti¶res, Health GAP, ACT UP Paris, OXFAM, May 21, 2003
The United States proposal asserts that strengthening intellectual property (IP) protection is the best way to stimulate investments in R&D. This assertion disregards mounting evidence to the contrary: the emerging global consensus that the current system of IP protection is failing to stimulate R&D for diseases of the poor. Of the 1,393 new drugs approved between 1975 and 1999, only 16 (or just over 1%) were specifically developed for tropical diseases and tuberculosis, diseases that account for 11.4% of the global disease burden.
2. Softwood Lumber Dispute
Reported in the National Post, Financial Post, May 21, 2003
Brutal conditions in the North American lumber market will not go away any time soon, according to the Chief Executive of Weyerhaeuser Co . In order to mitigate the impact of the lumber tariff, Canadian mills including many owned by Weyerhaeuser are cranking up production as a way to lower their unit costs. Many US mills have followed suit.
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, May 14, 2003
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (LaurierSainte-Marie, BQ): Will the minister admit that definitive settlement of the softwood lumber issue requires victories at the WTO and NAFTA, not an agreement where we would be kowtowing to the United States?Ê Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): We are going to win at the tribunalsthe next decision is May 20and at the same time we will engage in a dialogue with the Americans to ensure that we never have this kind of difficulty again in connection with softwood lumber.
FOR ONCE CANADA IS NOT GROVELLING: PETTIGREW
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION
May 16, 2003
Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): For the first time, we have not grovelled before the Americans and there is hope that this issue will be settled in the long term .
MADE IN THE US SOLUTION: PC MP
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, May 13, 2003
Mr. Bill Casey (CumberlandColchester, PC): United States Department of Commerce has just produced a policy bulletin that says the U.S. Department of Commerce will determine whether individual Canadian provinces have reformed their policies and practices. If the U.S. Department of Commerce is going to determine what the Canadian provinces do, how is that a made in Canada solution?Ê Hon. Pierre Pettigrew: As to those policy bulletins, the provinces and the Government of Canada have contributed substantially to their elaboration and I believe they can be very helpful in the future.
WTO SOFTWOOD DECISION NEXT WEEK
CBC News BC, May 21, 2003
The World Trade Organization will rule on the U.S. countervailing duty next Tuesday.Ê
CANADA WILL WIN AT WTO: PETTIGREW
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, May 14, 2003
Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have full confidence that the anticipated decision to be handed down on MayÊ20 will be in Canadas favour.
DIALOGUE WITH INDUSTRY, THE PROVINCES, THE US
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, May 14, 2003
ÊÊÊMr. Reed Elley (NanaimoCowichan, Canadian Alliance): For tomorrows meeting, the Americans have made it clear that they will not budge on some very critical issues: self-imposed border tax, return of the $1.2 billion in duty taxes already collected from Canadian companies, and whether Canada will be required to drop its lawsuits at the WTO and NAFTA. Which of these three issues is the minister going to compromise in order to strike a deal?Ê Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): I met on Monday again with Premier Campbell of British Columbia, who informed me of how much he continues to want this cooperation between the Government of Canada and that of his own province as much as that of the province of Quebec.
INDUSTRY IN THE DARK: BQ MP
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, May 13, 2003
Mr. Paul Créte:
How can the minister justify the industry being informed only today that the negotiations with the Americans had resumed, basically being presented with a fait accompli?
FUTURE OF ATLANTIC EXEMPTION UNKNOWN
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, May 15, 2003
Mr. Bill Casey: Will the government assure the Atlantic Canadian industry that it will maintain its exemption from any export tax that it is now negotiating with the United States? Mr. Murray Calder (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on the softwood lumber issue, we have always maintained a two track approach to it: our challenge at the WTO, which is going very well, and back at home where we are in consultation with the industry and the provinces to get the best deal on this.
US HARDBALL PROPOSAL FOR 33% EXPORT TAX
Reported in the Globe & Mail, May 16, 2003
The US lumber industry is continuing to play hardball with Canada on softwood lumber, offering a deal to end the long-running dispute that would see producers hit with an interim export tax as high as 33%. Roughly two-thirds of the more than $1.5 billion in US duties collected to date would also be paid to the US industry, not Canada, according to industry sources.
Canada.com, May 21, 2003
B.C.s forests minister says Quebecs new government backs Canadas rejection of a U.S. proposal to replace 27 per cent duties on Canadian lumber with a 33 per cent export tax.
CLOSER TO A DEAL - CDN DEPUTY MINISTER
U.S., Canada shaving differences on timber, Seattle Pose-Intelligencer Reporter, by Paul Nyhan, May 22, 2003
The United States and Canada are making progress toward resolving a stubborn dispute over Canadian lumber exports, a top Canadian trade official said yesterday .Canadas deputy minister for international trade, Leonard Edwards, told reporters in Seattle yesterday.
Bush Links Europes Ban on Bio-Crops With Hunger, by David E. Sanger, New York Times, May 21, 2003
President Bush charged today that Europes ban on genetically modified food had discouraged third world countries from using that technology and thus undermined efforts to end hunger in Africa.
US uses GM foods in first assault of EU trade battle, by Heather Stewart and Charlotte Denny, The Guardian, May 20, 2003
Washington is coming under mounting pressure from big business to use the transatlantic trade spat over GM crops as a test case for an all-out assault on EU health and safety rules, environmental campaigners warn.
USTR SPEAKS ON US v. EU
United States v. European Union, by Robert B. Zoellick, USTR, Wall Street Hournal, May 21, 2003
The U.S. joined by Argentina, Canada and Egypt, and supported by nine other countries last week asked the European Union to lift its moratorium on approving agricultural biotech products, in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organization. The world stands on the threshold of an agricultural revolution. The science of biotechnology can make crops more resistant to disease, pests and drought. By boosting yields, biotechnology can increase farmers productivity and lower the cost of food for consumers.
US seeks to force-feed scientific apartheid to Third World, by Devinder Sharma
The noose is slowly tightening. An all-out offensive has been launched, using the three most important instruments of economic power - the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - along with the badly bruised but democratically elected governments. This time, the target is not oil but to force the world to accept genetically modified (GM) food and crops. http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=553&fArticleId=149356
PETTIGREW ON CDN INTENTIONS TOWARD EU
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, May 16, 2003
Mr. Bernard Bigras: a study by the United Kingdoms Food Standards Agency and an independent panel of 579 scientists has shown that GMOs might constitute a risk for human health. Will the minister acknowledge that trade and health can go hand in hand and that we can engage in one while protecting the other?Ê Hon. Pierre Pettigrew : Mr. Speaker, what we want to see happen in asking the European Union to lift its moratorium is for it to enforce its own laws. We want Canadian products to be let in. Europe can take whatever measures it wants, but it must comply with its own legislation. That is the aim of our consultations.
GMO NOT POPULAR - BQ MP
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, May 13, 2003
Mr. Bernard Bigras: How can the federal government support this American action when 87% of the population of Canada, and 90% of the population of Quebec expect more transparency from their government and more precautions in the handling of GMOs?Ê Hon. Pierre Pettigrew: Mr. Speaker, what we have asked for today, in conjunction with the United States, Argentina, Egypt and several other countries, is merely that the European Union not implement its GMO legislation, and we wish that EU member countries would respect their own laws and stop blocking the process. That is all we are asking.
4. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
I Was Wrong. Free Market Trade Policies Hurt the Poor: The IMF and World Bank Orthodoxy Is Increasing Global Poverty:, by Stephen Byers, Guardian, May 19, 2003
In November 1999, during the World Trade Organization ministerial conference in Seattle, I watched from my hotel room as thousands demonstrated Since leaving the cabinet a year ago, Ive had the opportunity to see at first hand the consequences of trade policy. No longer sitting in the air-conditioned offices of fellow government ministers I have, instead, been meeting farmers and communities at the sharp end. It is this experience that has led me to the conclusion that full trade liberalization is not the way forward.
IMF, WORLD BANK, WTO URGE G8 LEADERS TOWARD PROGRESS ON LIBERALIZATION
Joint Statement by Heads of IMF, World Bank and WTO, May 16, 2003
At this critical time, political commitment to multilateralism in economic policymaking is more important than ever to enable all countries to share in the prosperity that globalisation offers, and to ensure that a more prosperous and equitable world becomes a more stable and secure world as well . Recognising that the policies that governments promote through the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank are inter-connected is essential if the world is to achieve sustained economic growth, sustainable development, poverty reduction and financial stability . We appeal to heads of Government at the forthcoming G-8 Summit to provide the political guidance that is needed to allow the trade negotiations to move forward again before the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun in September.
RICH NATIONS MUST PULL DOWN TRADE BARRIERS - WORLD BANK CHIEF ECONOMIST
Business Day, by Jay Shankar, May 22, 2003
The success of global trade liberalisation talks is at serious risk unless rich countries dismantle trade barriers and grant market access to developing nations, a World Bank official warned. The leadership now has to be with the rich countries, said Nicholas Stern, chief economist of the World Bank, adding that rich nations had barriers in agriculture, textiles and manufacturing. They have barriers precisely in place where developing countries have a comparative advantage. Unless you see some serious movement on agriculture there will not be any progress of any serious kind, Stern told researchers and officials at a conference.
IMF TOP MARKS FOR PRESIDENT LULA
Mercopress, May 21, 2003
Anne Krueger the International Monetary Fund, IMF, First Deputy Managing Director congratulated Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for his management of the economy and efforts to reform the tax and social security systems.
ARGENTINA IMF REVIEW STUCK ON STRUCTURAL POINTS
Reuters, by Anna Willard, May 21, 2003
Argentinas second review of its loan program with the International Monetary Fund is being held up while the two sides try to agree on the final details of the revised program, an IMF source said on Wednesday .Earlier this month, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow told Reuters in an interview it is crucial for Argentina to show commitment to the existing loan agreement before a new one can be negotiated. The United States is the most influential shareholder of the IMF.
SOVERGN DEBT RESTRUCTURING: IMF SPEECH
International Monetary Seminar, Banque de France, Remarks by Ms. Anne O. Krueger, First Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, May 13, 2003
The past year has witnessed a vigorous and constructive debate regarding the need to improve arrangements for the resolving of financial crises, and in particular the tools for restructuring sovereign debt. To be sure, this remains a controversial topic . how to address the hopefully rare cases in which sovereign debtors and creditors must confront debt burdens that have become unsustainable.
5. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
Lawmaker Urges Labor Reform in Central America Trade Pact (CAFTA should require core international labor standards, Levin says), Department of State, Washington File, May 20, 2003
U.S. officials negotiating a free trade agreement with the countries of Central America should require those countries to adopt and enforce internationally-recognized labor standards, Congressman Sander Levin says.
Encouraging signs for Mercosur, MercoPress, May 22, 2003
Mercosur delegates received an encouraging sign this week when Chris Patten the European Union Foreign Affairs Commissar admitted that discussions for a trade agreement between EU and the South American block could conclude before the end of 2003.
CANADIAN CONSULTATIONS ON FTAA GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT
FTAA - Consultations on Government Procurement Market Access Negotiations, DFAIT
Canada has developed a consultation survey on the government procurement negotiations for distribution and completion by interested parties. Canada is preparing to exchange initial requests in government procurement by June 15th, 2003. We would appreciate initial responses by FRIDAY, JUNE 6th, 2003.
MEXICO ACCUSED ON NOT ENFORCING ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT LAW
CEC receives submission on Cancun port project, CEC Press Release, May 14, 2003
On 14 May 2003 the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) received a submission from Alfonso CiprÚs Villareal, president of Movimiento Ecologista Mexicano AC, on behalf of several ecological groups, two academic groups and one individual citizen (the Submitters), asserting that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law with respect to the environmental impact authorization (EIA) for a port project on the Mayan Riviera in Quintana Roo.
INVESTIGATION WORK PLAN INTO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN MEXICO
CEC, May 16, 2003
Today the Secretariat of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) provided to the Parties of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) the overall work plan for gathering the relevant facts for the factual record on the Tarahumara submission (SEM-00-006) .The Submitter asserts that Mexico has failed to effectively enforce its environmental law by denying access to environmental justice to indigenous peoples of the Sierra Tarahumara, in the state of Chihuahua.
Reported in the Ottawa Citizen, May 20, 2003
Between 1998 and 2001, the federal government spent $30 million trying to convince Canadians to care about climate change. But if they heard the message, they didnt act on it. During the same period, people bought more gas-guzzling SUVs than ever, and personal vehicles pumped 88 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the air in 2001, up from 82 million tonnes in 1998. In fact, Canada total greenhouse gas emissions rose from 690 million tonnes in 1998 to 730 million tonnes in 2000 - dropping only slightly to 720 million tonnes in 2001.
McDonalds a Green Business? I Resign, by Paul Hawken, CommonDreams, May 19, 2003
McDonalds spends $2 billion a year creating trillions of advertising impressions in order to get children hooked on fatty, sugary, unhealthy food.
CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT WEEK: JUNE 1-7
Canadian Environment Week coincides each year with World Environment Day. It proclaims to raise public awareness of the environment and of the benefits linked to its protection.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. ON DEFENDING THE ENVIRONMENT FROM THE US MILITARY
Defending Our Environment and Health from the US Military, by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, Chicago Tribune, May 16, 2003
This years defense authorization bill has proposed to exempt the military from laws that protect Americas air, water and endangered species, that regulate toxic waste and the cleanup of Superfund sites.
CLEAN AIR DAY CANADA: JUNE 4
Clean Air Day Canada aims to raise public awareness of two key environmental priorities: clean air and climate change.
WORLD OCEANS DAY: JUNE 8
First celebrated in 1992, World Oceans Day aims to raise public awareness of the beauty of oceans and of the need to protect our seas and coasts from pollution.
7. G-7 & G-8
NGOs Ask Obasanjo to Reconsider Stand On Nepad, Vanguard (Lagos), May 19, 2003
A joint body of Non-Governmental Organisations, Jubilee South has called on President Olusegun Obasanjo to reconsider his stand on the New Partnership For Africas Development (NEPAD), just as it lent support on the call for restitution and reparations for years of plunder of the Souths natural resources by the industrialised North. The organisation described the establishment of NEPAD as an endorsement of World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organisations (WTO) in order to promote its oppressive fiscal polices on coutries in the South.
G8 FINANCE MINISTERS STATEMENT
Deauville, May 17th, 2003
We are strengthening our commitments to structural reforms and sound macroeconomic policies . we are determined to achieve the objectives and overall timetable set out in the Doha Development Agenda and to ensure that the Cancun ministerial takes the decisions necessary to reach these goals
GRAHAM TO ATTEND G8 FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETING
DFAIT Press Release, March 16, 2003
Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham today announced that he will participate in the upcoming G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting taking place in Paris, France, from May 22 to 23 . At this years meeting, foreign ministers will focus on postwar reconstruction in Iraq, combatting international terrorism and controlling the proliferation of conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction. They will also review situations in the Middle East and Asia, including developments on the Korean Peninsula and the relationship between India and Pakistan. Finally, ministers will be reviewing recent developments in Afghanistan and Colombia.
G-7 FINANCE WORKING PAPER: AID EFFECTIVENESS
To achieve this objective and to increase aid effectiveness, this paper outlines some key principles and actions in four important areas: to improve the quality of poverty reduction strategies, particularly the need to better reflect a credible plan to achieve lasting growth; to make further steps to improve harmonisation, building on the February 2003 Rome Declaration; to focus development assistance on measurable results; and, to send a clear signal on the importance we attach to good governance in considering the allocation of our international assistance.
EVIAN SUMMIT OFFICIAL WEB SITE
Welcome to this G8 website devoted to the forthcoming Summit, which is due to take place in Evian-les-Bains, France, from 1 to 3 June 2003. I hope you will find the answers to all your questions here.
G8 DROPS PLAN FOR BUSINESS STANDARDS, FAILS DEVELOPING NATIONS
Friends of the Earth International Press Release, May 16, 2003
Leaders of the G8 group of countries have abandoned plans to announce a Charter of Principles for a Responsible Market Economy, Friends of the Earth International revealed today. The news emerges as G8 Finance Ministers meet today in Deauville, France, in preparation for the G8 Summit of Heads of State in the French Alpine resort of Evian from June 1-3.
G-7 NATIONS ATTACK US FARM SUBSIDIES
USAgNet Editors, May 20, 2003 U.S. farm subsidies were directly opposed on Friday by all of the other members of the worlds leading industrial economies at the Group of 7 meeting in Deauville, France, a source told Reuters News Service. The G7 source, who asked for anonymity, also said the European Unions Common Agricultural policy (CAP) is not on the table at the meeting. The U.S. subsidies are being directly challenged, and the CAP is not on the table, the source told Reuters. The source said it was not clear whether farm support would be mentioned in the final G7 communique.
Efforts for US trade deal must continue says business, Independent Newspapers, May 22, 2003
The United States apparent rejection of a free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand has made those attempting to get a deal more determined. US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has dashed hopes of a free trade agreement, citing too many objections from US farmers and things done recently by New Zealand. Most have interpreted the latter comment as reference to New Zealands stance on Iraq and Prime Minister Helen Clarks related comments.
CANADIAN TRADE POLICY
Canadas Trade Policy Strategy: Sustaining Our Success, DFAIT Web Site
In a nutshell, Canada trade policy aims at the following specific outcomes: strengthening the Canada-U.S. relationship; pursuing new opportunities and better rules through the WTO, FTAA and bilateral negotiations; continuing to promote Canada as a prime investment location; building consensus domestically on trade issues; and participating actively in programs to promote sustainable development in all its facets.
US PROPOSES MID-EAST FREE TRADE AREA
News Bulletin, May 21, 2003
US President Bush recently proposed that the free trade agreements (FTAs) the US has in place with Jordan and Israel could be replicated in other countries in the Middle East region during a ten-year phase-in period. To qualify for FTAs with the US, countries would be subject to certain conditions, such as combating terrorism and dropping trade boycotts of Israel, as well as WTO membership.
The News (Monrovia), May 21, 2003
Health Minister Dr. Peter Coleman says Liberia is now ranked 174 out of 175 countries in the UNDP Human Development Index. He said the UNDP report placed Liberia as a very impoverished nation with more than 80% of its population living below the poverty line (less than 1 USD a day).
FAO RECOMMENDS $24 BILLION FOR HUNGER REDUCTION ANNUALLY
Daily Trust (Abuja), May 20, 2003
Director of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in northern America, Charles Riemenschneider, said on Sunday more than $24 billion was required annually to ensure hunger reduction in the developing countries.
LOBBY FOR FAIR COTTON TRADE GATHERS STEAM
The Times of Zambia, by Frank Katope, May 20, 2003
Western or the G8 countries, in their ostensible position to maintain a market monopoly and a culture of dependence on the part of cotton farmers in developing countries, have adamantly tightened the screws around the cotton market to ensure that only theirs which is cheaply produced due to subsidies has an edge over others.
HISTORIC ANTI-SMOKING PACT ADOPTED
Reuters, by Richard Waddington, May 21, 2003
More than 190 countries have approved the first international treaty against smoking, including an advertising ban, aimed at breaking a habit that kills nearly five million people a year. The World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the World Health Organisations 192 countries, unanimously adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on Wednesday that commits them to fighting the devastating consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure.
US SENATOR ON THE WAR AND PROFIT MOTIVES
The Truth Will Emerge, by US Senator Robert Byrd, Senate Remarks, May 21, 2003
Meanwhile, lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraqs infrastructure and refurbish its oil industry are awarded to Administration cronies, without benefit of competitive bidding, and the U.S. steadfastly resists offers of U.N. assistance to participate. Is there any wonder that the real motives of the U.S. government are the subject of worldwide speculation and mistrust?
INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON LARGE DAMS: CALL TO ACTION
From June 16 to 20, 2003, almost 1,200 dam (and some mining) industry specialists will be gathering together in Montreal. The occasion will be the 21st Congress (held every 3 years) of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).
CORPORATIONS SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE - ABORIGINAL PEOPLES
Pay for Destruction, Indigenous People Tell Corporations, by Haider Rizvi,
Inter Press Service, May 17, 2003
Leaders of the worlds 350 million aboriginal people, gathered here to discuss ways to protect their culture and environment, are demanding that multinational corporations accept legal responsibility for policies that destroy indigenous lands and lifestyles.
LIBERAL MP CALLS FOR HEARINGS ON FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, May 16, 2003
Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Oak Ridges, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in an age of integration, harmonization and deregulation, I believe the time has come to have an open and frank debate about the level of foreign ownership in Canada .A Decima poll showed that 72% of Canadians opposed foreign ownership in the media and telecommunications industries, 60% in the telephone industry and 66% in the newspaper industry. In a recent Macleans poll, 81% of Canadians agreed that Canadian ownership of businesses operating in Canada was necessary in order to maintain a strong Canadian identity. Canadians have made clear their views. It is time to engage them in the wider debate.
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.