July 11, 2003
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
July 9, 2003, Business Day
PREPARATIONS for the World Trade Organisations (WTOs) meeting in Mexico are far from being finalised and the meeting could be as disastrous as Seattle in 1999, the Commonwealth Business Council has warned.
GLOBAL LABOUR BODY BLASTS WTO AS UNDEMOCRATIC
Reuters, July 11, 2003
International labour union grouping the ICFTU denounced the World Trade Organisation on Thursday as a secretive, undemocratic body undermining human and worker rights around the globe. The Brussels-based ICFTU which says it represents 158 million workers in 150 countries also accused rich powers in the WTO of trying to force poor nations to open up their service markets for exploitation by big multinational firms.
OXFAM: THE US MUST STOP BLOCKING ACCESS TO HIV/AIDS DRUGS
Reuters, July 11, 2003
As President Bush visits the AIDS Support Organization (or TASO) in Uganda today, Oxfam is calling on the U.S. to allow poor countries to import affordable, generic copies of drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and other public health problems .By blocking negotiations that would give African countries like Botswana and Uganda access to the cheap medicines they so desperately need, the administration is undermining the good of its global AIDS initiative, said Phil Twyford of Oxfam.
BUSH APPOINTS BIG PHARMA EXEC AS AIDS ADVISOR
Eli Lily Rules, by Jim Lobe, Guerrilla News Network, July 10, 2003
The appointment of a former top executive of a major U.S. pharmaceutical company and major Republican contributor as President George W. Bushs global AIDS co-ordinator has stunned and outraged AIDS experts and activists. Bushs choice of former Eli Lilly & Co. boss Randall Tobias was announced at the White House on July 1, just a few days before Bushs first trip as president to Africa.
FORMER WTO HEAD SAYS TALKS ON TRACK FOR 2004/5
The ABC Online, July 3, 2003
EMMA ALBERICI: The former head of the World Trade Organisation, Mike Moore, believes the current round of trade talks can succeed despite a number of hurdles standing in its way .Mr Moore, who was director-general of the WTO until August last year, also believes Australia can achieve a worthwhile free trade deal with the United States . MIKE MOORE: And despite at all the stories about [WTO] trade talks faltering, crisis, theyre going nowhere, I think theyll get there by the end of 2004, early 2005.
OUR CREDO: FREE TRADE AND COMPETITION - U.S. TRADE REP
Op Ed by Robert B. Zoellick, The Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2003
In early September, representatives from 146 countries that comprise the World Trade Organization will assemble in Cancun to determine the course of global trade negotiations. At this point, the meeting seems more likely to highlight differences than agreements. One concerned observer, Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia and the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote on these pages last week that the U.S. should respond to this risk by forgoing our other efforts to open markets. This course would both weaken our hand in the WTO and give up the benefits from advancing free trade on multiple fronts.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH DECLINE WTO INVITATION
WTO Directors Invitation Declined and Business Advisory Body Blasted, FOE Press Release, June 12, 2003
An invitation by World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi was declined by Ricardo Navarro, Salvadorean Chair of Friends of the Earth International, in a letter sent today. Navarro declined to participate in a proposed Informal NGO Advisory Body on several grounds, including that a proposed parallel Informal Business Advisory Body would further consolidate the unparalleled access to trade negotiators that the business community already has.
AUSSIE GOVT CONSULTS ON WTO POSITION
Call for Public Comment on World Trade Negotiations, Hon. Mark Vaile, M.P., Minister for Trade, Australia, Press Release, June 27, 2003
A background paper on the Doha Round negotiations can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) website at www.dfat.gov.au/trade/consultations.html Comments must be lodged by 15 August 2003.
U.S. TO APPEAL WTO STEEL TARIFF RULING
Reuters, July 11, 2003
The United States confirmed on Friday it would appeal a World Trade Organization ruling against emergency steel tariffs it imposed last year. But in the face of a European Union retaliation threat, a spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representatives Office said he was not prepared to say how soon the United States would act. A WTO panel issued a final ruling on Friday against the steel tariffs, which ranged up to 30 percent in 10 different product categories. The decision had been expected since March, when details of an interim report leaked.
NO BREAKS FOR WINE AND SPIRITS AT WTO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATIONS
TRIPS COUNCIL MAKES NO PROGRESS ON GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS
BRIDGES Weekly Trade Digest, July 10, 2003
At the special session of the Council for Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) on 2-3 July, Members failed to make progress in the negotiations on a multilateral register for geographical indications for wines and spirits .In the light of the current state of the negotiations in the Special Session and of the Doha Development Agenda as a whole, delegations did not as yet feel in a position to be sufficiently flexible in their positions on the key issues of legal effects and participation to warrant [the Chair] tabling a new draft text at this stage, the report concluded.
WTO ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE STUCK ON ROLE OF MEA SECRETARIATS, ECO-LABELLING
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest, July 10, 2003
On 7 and 8 July, WTO Members convened for the final meetings of the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) regular and special (negotiating) sessions before the Cancun Ministerial Conference in September. A proposal by the EC to recommend to trade ministers in Cancun that the CTE hold three dedicated sessions on eco-labelling was opposed by most other Members. At the special session, another proposal by the EC for trade ministers at Cancun to invite the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) secretariats to observe the CTE special session received a mixed welcome, but no consensus.
WTO COMMITTEE CONSIDERS SPECIAL STATUS FOR LOW INCOME COUNTRIES
SERVICES COUNCIL CONSIDERS NEW LDC MODALITIES DRAFTS, BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest, July 10, 2003
During its meeting on 4 July, the WTO Council for Trade in Services (CTS) negotiating session considered, inter alia, new informal documents on modalities for the special treatment of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the current services negotiations. Prepared by the WTO Secretariat and the US, the documents (jobs (03)/127 and 133, not yet derestricted) propose alternative language on LDC modalities, following a proposal made in May by Zambia on behalf of the LDC group of countries in a effort to move the issue forward before the Cancun ministerial (see BRIDGES Weekly, 21 May 2003) .Background Under the GATS, special and differential treatment (S&D) shall be provided for developing country Members, with special priority given to LDCs.
EURO PARLIAMENT PASSES CANCUN RESOLUTION
EU-WTO: Pascal Lamy welcomes European Parliament resolution on the Road to Cancun, European Commission DG Trade, July 3, 2003ÊÊ
The European Parliament today adopted a resolution setting out its views on the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun in September 2003, a half-way point in the negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda . supports the formal launch of negotiations on competition, investment, trade facilitation and transparency in public procurement, while ensuring that the legitimate concerns of developing countries are addressed
WTO & AGRICULTURE
Western Producer, by Barry Wilson, July 10, 2003
As matters stand, collective guidance and decisions are required on a number of key issues in order to clear the way for the establishment of (possible solutions), Stuart Harbinson said in a June 25 memo to members of the agriculture negotiating committee before they met in a special session in Geneva. But instead of leading negotiators to start making compromises, the memo did little other than expose the gap between countries at the table, said chief Canadian negotiator Steve Verheul after the committee met June 26 Ð July 1.
THE DOHA - EU CAP CONNECTION
Will The Doha Agenda Move Forward After EUS CAP Reforms?, by Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General of the Centre for International Trade, Economics and Environment, Financial Express, July 7, 2003
Why the euphoria over the decision to reform the much debated Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union? It is but a blip in trade semantics. Perhaps the decision to decouple subsidies from production would act as a disincentive for EU farmers to over-produce. But, whether it will curb the trade-distorting effects is a million dollar question. Farm subsidies is one among a few contentious issues, acting as a logjam in the Doha Round of trade negotiations.
CANADA WILL LOSE [BEEF] TRADE WAR: EXPERTS
The Leader-Post, by Angela Hall, July 10, 2003
Shutting down the Canadian border to American beef and cattle imports could spark trade wars that do more harm than good, says a University of Saskatchewan professor. Premier Lorne Calvert spoke Monday about the need to restrict imports if the U.S. continues to ban Canadian beef from moving south. But College of Commerce professor Grant Isaac said Tuesday trade action can lead to tit-for-tat scenarios.
U.S. LOBBY GIANTS CLASH OVER WTO RULING
WTO Ruling on U.S. Tax Break Ignites Lobbying Battle: Issue Divides Domestic Firms, Multinationals, by Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, July 6, 2003
The need to rewrite tax laws for U.S. exporters has spawned a massive lobbying and legislative battle in Congress, with legislators and coalitions competing on how to promote exports without violating international statutes .Major domestic producers such as the Boeing Co., Microsoft Corp., Caterpillar Inc. and Motorola Inc. say they will have to slash jobs if they are not compensated for losing the annual subsidy. But firms with large overseas subsidiaries Texas Instruments Inc., ExxonMobil Corp. and Ford Motor Co., among others favor an international tax overhaul along the lines Thomas is suggesting. Each of these companies alone represents a serious lobbying force. Boeing spent $4.6 million on lobbying last year, according to federal disclosure records, while Ford spent $2.8 million.
JAPAN TO IMPOSE LIMITS ON U.S. BEEF
Japan notifies U.S. of plans to impose beef import curbs Kyodo News, July 11, 2003
Under the law introduced based on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, Japan can automatically increase its beef tariff from 38.5% to 50% if there is a year-on-year increase of more than 17% in beef imports on a cumulative quarterly basis.
STOP SUBSIDIES, MR. BUSH
New Vision (Kampala), July 10, 2003 US PRESIDENT George Bush arrives in Uganda tomorrow on the fourth leg of his whistle stop tour of Africa . Africa would benefit infinitely more, if agricultural produce competed favourably in the American and European Union markets. Right now, both markets are inaccessible because of farm subsidies that actually caused Africas share of global agricultural trade in 2000 to reduce from 4.5% to 2.5%.
2. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
Reuters, July 10, 2003
Superweeds could start growing in the British countryside due to cross-pollination with genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape if the latter is grown commercially, an environmental lobby group said on Thursday. Friends of the Earth (FoE) is stepping up its campaign against gene-spliced crops as a national debate on the issue enters its final stages, and ahead of a U.K. government decision on whether such crops should be commercialized.
NEW EURO RULES WONT PUT GM FOODS ON STORE SHELVES
Reuters, July 4, 2003
New European Parliament laws requiring labeling of genetically modified food may allow the EU to drop an unofficial ban on new crops but they wont persuade food processors to use it or supermarkets to stock it.
AMERICA PUSHES FOR GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS
New Vision (Kampala), by Patrick Luganda, July 10, 2003 President George Bush has promised to promote the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops in Uganda and the rest of Africa.
CANADA APPROVES MONSANTOS CATERPILLAR RESISTANT GM COTTON
Determination of the Safety of Monsantos Insect Resistant Bollgard II Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Plant Products Directorate, Plant Biosafety Office, Decision Document DD2003-45
Livestock feed use of the Bollgard II cotton is therefore authorized as of June 27, 2003 .Monsanto Canada Inc. developed a cotton line resistant to certain lepidopteran pests .Bollgard II cotton line was developed using recombinant DNA technology, resulting in the introduction of a bacterial gene conferring lepidopteran resistance and a marker gene.
3. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & THE WORLD BANK
Landmark report urges governance reforms to arrest decline of worlds environment, Joint World Bank Press Release, Report: World Resources 2002-2004: Decisions for the Earth: Balance, voice, and power, July 10, 2003
The report calls on governments to include the public in decisions that affect ecosystems, and for integration of environmental impacts into economic decision-making. It also identifies public access to information from governments, business, and non-governmental organizations as a necessary precursor to improved environmental performance .One out of every six humans depends on fish for protein needs, yet 75 percent of the worlds fisheries are over-fished or fished at their biological limit. Nearly forty-one of every 100 people live in water-stressed river basins. Some 350 million people are directly dependent on forests for their survival, with global forest cover declining by 46 percent since pre-agricultural times. Nearly half of the worlds population lives on less than $2 a day.
IMF/WB POVERTY EFFORTS - GOOD MARKETING OR GOOD POLICY?
The World Banks Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Approach: Good Marketing or Good Policy?, UNCTAD G-24 Discussion Paper Series, by Jim Levinsohn
In 1999, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund adopted a new set of processes to guide lending to some of the worlds poorest countries. This set of processes is known as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approach. This study reviews the PRSP approach. It is argued that neither the internal nor external reviews [of the PRSP] are asking the really hard questions.
SHOTS FIRED AT PROTEST AGAINST IMF IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
IMF Pact Protested, Miami Herald, by Robert Vargas, July 2, 2003
On July 1 in Santo Domingo, riot police fired tear gas at hundreds of demonstratorssome of whom were mounted on donkeys and bicyclesto prevent them from marching to the National Palace from the historic Puerta de El Conde at Independence Park. At least one army soldier was seen shooting a pistol at demonstrators. No injuries or arrests were reported .The demonstration was organized by the Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations and the National Federation of Unified Transport Workers (CNTU) to protest high fuel prices, austerity measures and an impending accord being negotiated between the Dominican government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The marchers used donkeys and bicycles to symbolize the impact of rising fuel prices.
BALKANS IN DANGER OF HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC: WORLD BANK REPORT
World Bank Press Release, July 11, 2003
A World Bank study released yesterday calls for immediate action to prevent an AIDS epidemic in the Balkans. The ECA region continues to experience the fastest-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world, and the impact of the epidemic is only now beginning to be felt, the report notes. In 2002, there were an estimated 250,000 new infections, bringing to 1.2 million the number of people in the region living with HIV/AIDS. The Russian Federation and Ukraine remain at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in ECA, but many other countries are now experiencing rapidly emerging epidemics.
4. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
FTAA on track, says US, MercoPress, July 8, 2003
The Free Trade Association of the Americas, FTAA, that should become effective in 2005 involving 34 countries of the Americas is 90% concluded, although we still have to solve, agriculture and intellectual property, which are the toughest issues, remarked United States Ambassador Luis Lauredo in Guatemala.
NORTH AMERICAN CUSTOMS UNION GAINS LEGS IN THE LIBERAL PARTY*****
Globe and Mail, by MICHAEL DEN TANDT, July 10, 2003
A customs union, it will emerge in the months ahead, is the locus of the most contentious debate now emerging in Ottawa. Everyone is thinking about it. Virtually no one, at least in the Liberal Party, is talking about it publicly. The reason is that the debate encapsulates, in one neat package, all the risks, opportunities and contradictions of the emerging North American economic space. As such, any discussion of it is guaranteed to inflame Canadians passions like nothing else since the war in Iraq, or the free-trade debate of 1988.
CANADIAN CONCEPT PAPER ON FTAA AND THE ENVIRONMENT
A Concept Paper for Addressing Environmental Considerations in the FTAA Context, Submission by Canada, DFAIT Web Site, July 7, 2003
Canada has followed a two -pronged approach in its bilateral and regional trade agreements in the Hemisphere: (1) including preambular language and environment-related provisions directly affecting trade in the trade agreement itself (e.g. relationship between MEAs and trade rules, general exceptions), and (2) pursuing broader environmental objectives, obligations and capacity-building elements in parallel environmental cooperation agreements.
CITIZENS ALLEGE MEXICO IS FAILING TO ENFORCE ENVIRO LAWS AT FOOTWEAR FACTORY
CEC receives submission on footwear materials factory, CEC Press Release, July 7, 2003
[T]the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) received a submission from Mr. Angel Lara Garcâa (the Submitter) asserting that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws with respect to alleged environmental irregularities in the operation of a footwear materials factory located in the Santa Isabel Industrial neighborhood of Iztapalapa Delegation in Mexico, D.F., where the Submitter lives.Ê
LULA FACES FIRST NATIONAL STRIKE OVER PENSION REFORM
Lula faces first strike, MercoNews, July 11, 2003Ê
With only six months in office Brazilian president and former union leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva faces his first national strike following federal government employees decision to cease activities in protest against the proposed reform to the pension system.Ê
CEC FINISHES INVESTIGATING THREE CITIZEN ENFORCEMENT MATTERS
Secretariat provides Council with final Oldman River II, BC Mining and BC Logging Factual Records, CEC Press Release, June 30, 2003
On 27 June 2003, the Secretariat submitted the final factual records for the Oldman River II, BC Mining and BC Logging submissions to the Council, pursuant to Article 15(6) of the NAAEC. In accordance with Article 15(7), the Council may, by a two-thirds vote, make the final factual record publicly available, normally within 60 days following its submission.
ENS, July 9, 2003
Most of the nations largest carbon dioxide emitting companies are failing to assess, disclose and address the financial risks posed by climate change, according to a new study of 20 of the worlds largest companies. Unlike many of their foreign rivals, American industry giants such as ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Southern Company and Xcel Energy, continue to pursue business strategies that discount the global warming threat, the report details. Such strategies leave them and their shareholders especially vulnerable to the increased financial risks and missed market opportunities posed by climate change, said Doug Cogan, author of the study and deputy director of social issues for the Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC).
SAD NEWS: ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATE GARY GALLON DIES IN MONTREAL
ENS, July 8, 2003
Gary Gallon, president of the Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment, and editor of The Gallon Environment Letter, died after a long battle with cancer on Thursday, July 3. He was 58. A memorial service was held for Gallon this afternoon at the Church of the Advent, Montreal.
PETA CRIES FOUL IN KFC LAWSUIT
Reuters, July 8, 2003
An animal rights group filed a lawsuit yesterday against fast-food chain KFC, accusing the company of making misleading statements on its Web site regarding how the chickens it sells are treated. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed the suit in California Superior Court in Los Angeles against KFC and KFCs parent, Yum Brands Inc. YUM.N , seeking an injunction to stop what it says are deceptive statements on the KFC Web site.
KYOTO PROTOCOL AWAITS NOD FROM RUSSIAS PUTIN
Reuters, July 7, 2003
Members of the State Duma lower house of parliament said the treaty, which aims to cut global emissions of climate-changing gases, would only go through when President Vladimir Putin gave deputies the word .Putin has not committed himself to a timescale to ratify the treaty, although his latest comments were interpreted as being broadly in favour of ratification. If everything that was written in the Kyoto Protocol came into effect, it would not solve the problem, he told students in Kaliningrad last week. (But) it is true, as my European colleagues say, that it is a step in the right direction.
ENVIRONMENTAL DEGREDATION IS THE MAIN CAUSE OF HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT
The Nation (Nairobi), by Julius Bosire, July 10, 2003
Human encroachment on forests for farming also disturbs the environment and forces animals out of their habitat into settlement areas. And poaching makes some forests insecure for wildlife, forcing elephants, buffaloes, lions and rhinos in particular to stray out.
The Guardian, by Julian Borger, July 2, 2003
The US yesterday threatened to stop aid to countries which refuse to exempt American soldiers from prosecution by the new international criminal court (ICC) . Colombia, which signed the1998 Rome Treaty establishing the ICC, could lose nearly $1bn (£600m) a year for its battle against guerrillas and drug warlords. It is the third biggest recipient of US military aid, after Israel and Egypt. Similar threats have been issued to eastern European countries.
U.S. SENATE OVERTURNS ANTI-CHOICE GLOBAL GAG RULE
NARAL Pro-Choice America Praises Senate for Overturning Bushs Global Gag Rule: NARAL Pro-Choice Scores Vote on Boxer Amendment NARAL Press Release, July 9, 2003
Pro-Choice America President Kate Michelman praised Senator Barbara Boxer and 53 Senators who voted for her amendment today overturning President George W. Bushs controversial anti-family planning global gag rule.Ê
GOVERNMENT ASKS BUSINESS TO REFRAIN FROM TRADE WITH BURMA: AUNG SAN SUU KYI
GRAHAM ANNOUNCES FURTHER ACTIONS AGAINST BURMA, DFAIT Press Release, July 10, 2003
Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham today announced further measures against Burma in response to the State Peace and Development Councils (SPDC) continued harassment and imprisonment of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy party. These measures include denying visas to members of the SPDC and senior Burmese government officials, and placing travel restrictions on Burmese diplomats in Canada. Minister Graham also reiterated the Government of Canadas call on the business community not to engage in further investment agreements or commercial ventures in Burma until the political situation improves.
CANADIAN DEVELOPMENT FUNDS GO TO PROMOTE PRIVATE INDUSTRY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Expanding Opportunities Through Private Sector Development: Canada making a difference in the world, Notes for remarks by Susan Whelan, Minister for International Cooperation, for the launch of Expanding Opportunities Through Private Sector Development, July 9, 2003
Today, we are marking a milestone together the launch of an important new policy for the Canadian International Development Agency, or CIDA, to promote private sector development in developing countries and countries in transition.
CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS BOUGHT THROUGH CORPORATE DONATIONS: REPORT
Corporate Money Co-opts Nonprofit Groups, Says Report: Critics Silenced & Friends Won Through Corporate Donations, Center for Science in the Public Interest Press Release, July 9, 2003
Corporate financial support of many of the countrys most prominent health-related nonprofit organizations threatens the independence and credibility of such groups, according to a report released today by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). More than 170 disease-related charities, health-professional societies, and university-based institutes enjoy the largesse of food, agribusiness, chemical, pharmaceutical, and other corporate interests, but that generosity may exact too high a price on an important sector of American life, charged the report.Ê
Alternatives, by Sarah Cox, July 4, 2003
Its being called the worst coffee crisis of the last 100 years by Latin American heads of state. With the catastrophic failure of unregulated global markets, the world faces yet another crisis of overproduction and ruined lives.
UN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT
Launch of the Human Development Report 2003
Statement by Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP Administrator, July 10, 2003
We have the global means, the know-how and the record of development success here in Africa as well as other regions, to state categorically that if today Africa and the world make the commitment of will and resources, then tomorrow, 2015, we can reach the Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty, removing hunger, putting every boy and girl in school and stemming the crisis in our health and environment.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT
FROM POLLUTION HAVENS TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (2ND Edition), by Nick Mabey, Richard McNally, and Lyuba Zarsky (WWF, July 2003)
This report examines the broad interactions between FDI and the environment. The authors argue that FDI can have significant environmental impacts and policy space for directing and controlling FDI is essential to the delivery of sustainable development. The report also argues that the pollution havens debate has produced an excessive focus on site-specific environmental impacts and emissions of a few industrial pollutants. http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/policy/trade_and_investment/ne ws.cfm?uNewsID=7744
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.