July 23, 2003
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
Draft WTO Cancun Declaration Leaked, IATP
A leaked draft declaration for the September WTO Ministerial in Cancun sets surprisingly high expectations for negotiators. The declaration, a binding statement to be agreed upon by the end of the Cancun meeting, pushes for broad agreement in areas such as agriculture, industrial tariffs, access to medicines, and the expansion negotiations into new areas. Currently, negotiations in nearly every major area are stalled by wide and contentious differences.
DRAFT DECLARATION FALLS SHORT: OXFAM
Oxfam Response to Draft Cancun Declaration: Text fails to deliver on development agenda, Oxfam GB News Release, July 18 2003
The World Trade Organisation today released the first draft of the Ministerial Declaration that will be finalised at the WTO summit in Cancun in September. The draft comes out after nearly two years of glacial progress in the trade negotiations launched at the last summit in Doha .The skeletal declaration is little more than a list of thorny issues that the worlds trade ministers will have to tackle in September. Predictably, it is essentially the same list that they discussed in Doha, reflecting the logjam of the last few months. By now, the so-called Doha Development Round was supposed to deliver improved access to affordable generic medicines, open up rich-country markets to exports from the worlds poorer countries, and reduce farm subsidies and dumping. On all counts, the Round is failing to deliver, and the level of frustration among developing countries is rising. We are laying the blame at the feet of the US, the EU and Japan, said Oxfam. The rich trading nations promised to put development at the heart of the Round but are pursuing their short-term commercial interests as ruthlessly as ever.
ANALYSIS OF DRAFT CANCUN TEXT AND ITS PROCESS
TWN Info Service, July 22, 2003
The first draft of the Cancun Ministerial Text was circulated to WTO members on Friday 18 July. This followed from a meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) on 14-15 July. Below is an analysis of the Text and also the processes, including the TNC meeting and after.
LAST FORMAL MEETING BEFORE CANCUN WRAPS UP
More manipulations ahead on road to, and at Cancun?, Third World Network, July 16, 2003
A two-day meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), the last before the Cancun Ministerial meeting and which ended Tuesday evening, suggests that the WTO head, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi and the Chair of the General Council, Amb. Carlos Perez del Castillo of Uruguay, are planning to adopt a process that will make the preparatory process worse than under Mike Moore in the run-up to Doha, and for an even more manipulated ministerial meeting at Cancun, to secure an outcome sought by majors.
MEDIA BRIEFING ON MTL INTENTIONS: JULY 24
BACKGROUND BRIEFING ON OBJECTIVES OF MONTREAL INFORMAL MINI-MINISTERIAL, DFAIT Press Release, July 22, 2003
Media representatives are advised that senior government officials will hold a technical briefing on July 24 on the objectives of the Montreal Informal Mini-Ministerial (MIMM).Ê
Announced on June 25 by International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew, the MIMM will bring together some 25 trade ministers from World Trade Organization member countries from July 28 to 30, in Montreal, Quebec. More details on the Montreal meeting can be found at http://www.mimm.gc.ca
CHILE EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT COLLAPSE IN CANCUN
Chiles leader concerned WTO might talks stall: If coming round fails, Americans may go elsewhere, hampering global trade: Lagos, Globe and Mail, by Steven Chase, July 23, 2003
If coming World Trade Organization talks in Mexico stall, key players such as the United States may decide to focus their energies elsewhere, hobbling a 17-year quest to open global commerce, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos says. If you have a failure in Cancun, the failure in Cancun means something very bad because the U.S. will go bilaterally all over the world, he said in a recent interview.
EU CONFIRMS NEGOTIATING PRIORITIES FOR CANCUN
EU foreign affairs ministers reinforce priorities ahead of upcoming WTO meeting, EurActiv, July 22, 2003
Following the adoption of a resolution by the European Parliament on 3 July on the priorities for the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico (10-14 September 2003), the External Relations Council adopted its own conclusions on 21 July 2003. ÊÊOn agriculture, the Council concluded that following the agreement reached on 25-26 June by the Agriculture Council on CAP reform (see also EurActiv, 26 June 2003), the EU is now set to seek an ambitious outcome of the agriculture negotiations .Regarding access to medicines, the Council calls on the US to join all other WTO countries and agree to a definitive solution to this issue. In addition special and differential treatment specific measures to assist the least developed countries The Council stresses the importance of launching negotiations on all four of the Singapore issues: investment, competition, trade facilitation and transparency in public procurement.
NGOs DENOUNCE LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN RUN UP TO 5th MINISTERIAL
CIEL and other civil society groups launch campaign denouncing the lack of internal transparency in the run up to the WTOs 5th Ministerial Conference in Cancun this September, CIEL Press Release
CIEL and other civil society groups , including IATP, IGTN, Oxfam, PSI, TWN and WWF, call for fair, transparent, and participatory WTO negotiating processes.
The Center for International Environmental Law has signed onto a joint NGO letter directed to the Ambassadors at Missions in Geneva, Trade Ministers in capital, the WTO Director General, and the Chairs of the General Council and Trade Negotiations Committee. The letter calls for fair procedures during both the 5th Ministerial Conference in September and the current preparation phase.
INVESTMENT ON THE AGENDA AT MONTREAL WTO MEETING
Globalization Fight Continues, Toronto Star, by Luke Eric Peterson, July 22, 2003
As protesters gather next week in Montreal at a meeting of world trade ministers, they can be forgiven for feeling more than a vague sense of dÚjÃ vu. Front and center on the World Trade Organizations agenda will be a proposal for a new Multilateral Agreement on Investment (or MAI). A recent World Bank report confirms what many of them already knew the rafts of bilateral investment treaties already signed rarely translate into new flows of investment for the poorest nations. As things stand, the bulk of foreign investment into the developing world is concentrated in a tiny number of countries large ones like China and Brazil, or those rich in natural resources while bypassing dozens of the poorest countries.
NEW DRAFT ON MARKET ACCESS LIKELY
The Economic Times, by VIVEK SINHA, July 24, 2003
The negotiating group on market access for industrial products under WTO is likely to come out with yet another draft proposal shortly, which will tinker with the mandatory tariff elimination in few sectors as mooted by the first draft circulated in May.
CANCUN: AFRICA DEVELOPS A COMMON POSITION
The East African (Nairobi), July 21, 2003
WHEN THE Fifth World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference opens in Cancun, Mexico, on September 10, Africa will seek to have all forms of trade-distorting domestic support measures by developed countries substantially reduced to enable the development of a vibrant and competitive African agricultural sector. African countries are unhappy that key issues which they have raised regarding trade in agriculture have not been dealt with by the WTO in the ongoing negotiations.
CAMBODIA TO JOIN WTO IN CANCUN
Working party completes Cambodias membership negotiation, CAMBODIA MEMBERSHIP NEGOTIATIONS, FIFTH WORKING PARTY MEETING, WTO Press Release, July 22, 2003
The WTO working party handling Cambodias membership negotiation completed its work Tuesday 22 of July, leaving a final decision approving membership for the Cancun Ministerial Conference, in September.
INTERVIEW WITH THE HOST OF THE CANCUN MINISTERIAL
Mexicos Ambassador Talks About Upcoming WTO Ministerial in Cancun, IATP
In the first of an interview series with top trade officials around the world, IATP talks with Eduardo Perez Motta of the Mexican Mission to the World Trade Organization in Geneva. As the host for the September WTO Ministerial, Mexico will play an important role in the negotiations by chairing the meeting. Many developing countries have criticized the level of transparency and inclusive debate allowed by the chairs of past WTO Ministerials.
WTO & AGRICULTURE
This report from Stuart Harbinson, Chair of the Committee negotiating agriculture at the WTO, highlights the Chairmans view on where there are still decisions to be made to get agreement among governments on new rules for agriculture. The outstanding areas of disagreement are many.
MONTREAL CALLED LAST CHANCE FOR WTO AG TALKS
Australia to revive farm trade talks, Business Day, July 24, 2003
Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile has warned that time to kickstart stalled talks on reducing world trade barriers is running out. Speaking ahead of an informal World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting in Montreal next week, Vaile said progress on the Doha round of trade reforms has been disapointing. He said the Montreal meeting from July 28-30 was probably the last chance to kickstart the reform process before the next formal WTO meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in September.
U.S., EU SUBSIDIES A BIG OBSTACLE TO AFRICAS DEVELOPMENT
The East African (Nairobi), July 21, 2003
UGANDAN TRADE Minister Prof Edward Rugumayo says the issue of agricultural subsidies in the EU, America and Japan is the biggest challenge facing African countries at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations.
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGING BEEF CONSUMPTION
CANADA TAKES FURTHER ACTION TO SUPPORT: CANADIAN BEEF INDUSTRY, DFAIT Press Release, July 18, 2003
The Government of Canada today announced that it has taken further measures to support domestic beef and veal producers in facing the challenges and uncertainty brought on by the single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Specifically, the Government is taking several steps to help Canadian beef suppliers by encouraging the consumption of Canadian beef.
WHAT VIOLATES THE WTO? DAIRY FARMERS URGE LITIGATION
More programs could be found inconsistent with WTO rules: OTTAWA URGED TO CLARIFY RULES THROUGH LITIGATION, Dairy Farmers of Canada Press Release, July 23, 2003
Even the United States and New Zealand have programs that are at risk of being found inconsistent with their World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations on agriculture. Such are the findings of trade experts Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates, in the report, commissioned by Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), released today. DFC has shared the results of the study with the Federal Government and initiated discussion on how best to
pursue these cases.
2. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
Genetically Engineered Biopharm Crops in Hawai`i: State sued to disclose details of open air testing to the public, Earthjustice Press Release, July 23, 2003
The Center for Food Safety (CFS), a national nonprofit organization, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit today in the Circuit Court of the State of Hawai`i, First Circuit, seeking to compel the Department of Agriculture of the State of Hawai`i (DOA), to provide, pursuant to state open records laws, public access to state records regarding ongoing field tests in Hawai`i of plants genetically engineered to produce a wide range of industrial chemicals or drugs, including contraceptives, hormones, vaccines, and other potent, biologically active substances. Because these methods, also known as biopharming, often use food crops consumed by humans and are conducted in the open air, they raise public concerns about potential harmful exposure to humans and the environment. DOA, however, has denied all access to any of the requested records.
FOOD FIRMS PLEDGE TO KEEP CHINESE PRODUCTS GE FREE
ENS, July 22, 2003
For the first time food producers in China have publicly committed themselves not to sell genetically modified food. Thirty-two food companies producing 53 brands have agreed to sell only food products that are free of transgenic ingredients, the result of a campaign by Greenpeace China.
BIOTECH DEBATE HITS CALIFORNIA
Global Biotech Food Fight Moves to California, Reuters, July 21, 2003
The global debate over genetically-modified foods moves to California next week, where the Bush administration will tout the technology to dozens of agriculture and health ministers from developing nations. The three-day conference beginning Monday in Sacramento will be led by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.
3. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
Government to Pay 69% World Price to Cocoa Farmers, Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra), by Sulemana Braimah, July 23, 2003
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr. Kwame Sarpong, has given the assurance that cocoa farmers will be paid as high as 69% of world market price of the commodity in the 2003/4 cocoa season. In conformity with an IMF policy that was adopted in the days of the NDC, the percentage of world price that is being paid at the moment is 68% and this is expected to go up to the targeted 70% by the 2004/05 cocoa season the CEO has revealed.
ECONOMIC COSTS OF AIDS: WB REPORT
Long term economic impact of HIV/AIDS more damaging than previously thought, World Bank Report, July 23, 2003
A new World Bank research report warns that HIV/AIDS causes far greater long-term damage to national economies than previously assumed, for by killing mostly young adults, the disease is robbing the children of AIDS victims of one or both parents to love, raise and educate them, and so undermines the basis of economic growth over the long haul.
4. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation on Civil Society, Second Thematic Meeting Open to Civil Society: Services, DFAIT Web site, July 2003
The FTAA Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) instructed in April 2003 the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society to organise a series of Thematic Meetings open to all sectors of civil society on issues related to the FTAA negotiations. The First Thematic Meeting was held on Wednesday June 25, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and dealt with the issue of agriculture. A Second Thematic Meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 23, in Santiago, Chile, and will address the issue of services, with particular emphasis on telecommunications, professional services, and cultural industries. Other sectors of interest to civil society participants will also be discussed. The notice and agenda of this meeting are available on the official FTAA website at
U.S. PANEL STUDIES BILLS TO BAN CDN TRASH
Associated Press, July 23, 2003
Michigan politicians hope a former state police trooper who discovered blood dripping from a Canadian trash truck at the state border can finally persuade the U.S. Congress to let Michigan and other states ban shipments of Canadian trash.
ENS, July 22, 2003
European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom today welcomed the final adoption by the European Council of Ministers of an emissions trading law for the European Union. The new legislation will give carbon dioxide a market value across the European Community from January 2005.
U.S. UNDERMINES OZONE TREATY
Bush Ready to Wreck Ozone Layer Treaty - US Slips in Demand to Drop Ban on Harmful Pesticide, Independent /UK, by Geoffrey Lean, July 20, 2003
President George Bush is targeting the international treaty to save the ozone layer which protects all life on earth from deadly radiation, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. They centre on a pesticide, methyl bromide, now the greatest attacker of ozone left in industrialised countries. The US is responsible for a quarter of the worlds consumption of the chemical, which has also been linked with increased prostate cancers in farmers .Nations are legally allowed to extend the use of small amounts in critical applications, but the US is demanding exemptions far beyond those permitted, for uses ranging from growing strawberries to tending golf courses.
Report on USA Patriot Act Alleges Civil Rights Violations, by Philip Shehon, New York Times, July 21, 2003
A report by internal investigators at the Justice Department has identified dozens of recent cases in which department employees have been accused of serious civil rights and civil liberties violations involving enforcement of the sweeping federal antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act. The inspector generals report, which was presented to Congress last week and is awaiting public release, is likely to raise new concern among lawmakers about whether the Justice Department can police itself when its employees are accused of violating the rights of Muslim and Arab immigrants and others swept up in terrorism investigations under the 2001 law.
15,000 ARGENTINE JOBS IN WORKER-OCCUPIED FACTORIES - ONE STORY
Brukman: Snapshot of a Worker-Occupied Factory in Argentina, by Marie Trigona, AndrÚs Lúpez and Tim Jack, July-Aug 2003
What we are asking for is not undignified or illegal. We are asking for something dignifiedwork, health, education and housing. The speaker is Elisa, one of 55 former workers of the Brukman suit factory in Buenos Aires, which was occupied by its workers for 16 months. Brukman is one of 200 Argentine factories and businesses that are occupied and managed by workers. They provide 15,000 jobs. In turn, workers live under the constant threat of forcible eviction or police action.
KENYA SAYS NO TO WATER PRIVATIZATION
Govt Wont Privatise Water Services - Minister, The East African Standard (Nairobi), July 23, 2003
Water Development Minister, Ms Martha Karua, said the Government would not leave water management in the hands of multi-national and private entities whose only interest is generating profit. Karua said full commercialisation of water services would put the price of the commodity out of reach for many Kenyans.
IRAN FACING TRADE SANCTIONS FROM EU FOR NUCLEAR INTENTIONS
Iran Reassures SA It is a Safe Trade Ally, Business Day (Johannesburg), July 23, 2003
DESPITE the threat of possible European Union (EU) action against Iran in the light of accusations about its nuclear weapons intentions, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has assured SA and the world that it ha s no plans to develop nuclear weapons, and that Iran is a safe and reliable trading partner.
NESTLÉ EMPLOYEES SAVAGED DURING LABOUR DISPUTE
Nestlé workers call for boycott,
In the Philippines, Nestlé starves its own employees in a bitter industrial dispute with workers on strike since January 2001. On June 26 Nestlé called in the Philippines National Police which hospitalised 50 workers in a violent attack. The Maritime Union of Australia reported the call for a boycott of Nestlé in solidarity.
For more info on Nestlé:
U.S. CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF COCA-COLA
The Globe and Mail, July 18, 2003
Coke second-quarter profit jumps 11% - growth was strong across most of Cokes divisions, thanks in part to the takeoff of Vanilla Coke. The bad news - last week, Federal prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation and a grand jury probe into fraud accusations contained in a whistleblower lawsuit by ex-Coke manager Matthew Whitley against Coca-Cola Co.
COUNTRIES FACE FOOD EMERGIENCIES
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, July 23, 2003
FAO reported from its Rome headquarters that civil strife, drought, internal displacement of people and economic disruption were the main reasons for food emergencies in the African states .FAO lists the 23 countries facing food emergencies as Angola, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Cúte dIvoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
GOLD, TIMBER, TRADE FUEL CONFLICT IN LIBERIA
Liberian Civilians Seek Ban on Natural Resources Trade, ENS, July 22, 2003
A halt to extraction and trade of Liberian gold, diamonds and timber would help stop the fighting that has killed at least 600 civilians in the capital in the past five days, according to the Environmental Lawyers Association of Liberia and two other nongovernmental organizations.
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.