August 26, 2003
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
CANCUN - OTHER ISSUES
CANCUN - MISC.
WTO - GENERAL
1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)
BRIDGES Weekly Trade Digest, August 21, 2003
WTO Members are in the midst of two busy weeks of negotiations prior to a final pre-Cancun General Council meeting to be held from 25-26 August. General Council Chair Perez del Castillo has been conducting Heads of Delegation (HOD) meetings every morning, beginning on 11 August after a two-week WTO recess .Smaller groups are meeting during the afternoons and into the night, and groups of Members have tabled a number of key proposals, most significantly in the area of agriculture. As such, real negotiations are finally taking place.
WTO CIRCULATES DRAFT DECLARATION FOR CANCUN
WTO officials race against the clock ahead of Cancun summit, AFP, August 24, 2003
After working through the weekend, the World Trade Organisations (WTO) top official circulated the draft of a declaration to be issued at a crucial ministerial trade summit in Mexico in two weeks
On agriculture, the draft text reflects some elements of a joint EU and US plan, released on August 13, but gives more detail on special provisions for developing countries. It calls for an elimination of export subsidies for products of particular interest to developing countries. For remaining products, it proposes reductions with a view to phasing out, budgetary and quantity allowances for export subsidies, although it adds that the target phasing-out date is still open for negotiation. Tariff reductions by developed countries should be managed under a blended formula involving gentler average cuts for some products, as well as steeper cuts on higher tariffs for others
.It addresses another highly controversial area, rules on investment policy, in an apparently contradictory fashion at once proposing that ministers decide to begin negotiations, while also stating that the situation does not provide a basis for the commencement of negotiations in this area. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030825/ts_afp/wto_cancun_declaration_030825000448
TRADE ENVOYS GIVE THUMBS DOWN TO WTO REFORM PLAN
Reuters, by Richard Waddington, August 25, 2003
Rich and developing states gave a cool reception on Monday to a plan for kick-starting stalled world trade talks, but stopped short of rejecting it . We will continue to work with the chairman as he develops a package for ministerial consideration, USTR spokesman Richard Mills said. We maintain a high level of ambition in the key areas of negotiation, particularly agriculture, which is at the heart of the Doha agenda and the key to development.
WHOS WHERE ON THE DRAFT DECLARATION
WTO negotiators mull compromise, AFP, August 26, 2003
David Spencer, Australias ambassador to the WTO, said he would voice concerns about parts of the draft declaration, adding: Overall the ambition in agriculture is very disappointing. Asked for his reaction, Brazilian ambassador Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa said he liked the proposal put forward by Brazil, India and a group of other developing countries, better. Its a serious proposal that goes in the direction of compromise, it represents now 19 countries, over 63% of world agricultural population, he said of the developing country plan. However, Japan swiftly registered its opposition. Japanese Farm Minister Yoshiyuki Kamei said in a statement earlier Monday in Tokyo that Japan opposed the draft declaration and wanted it changed ahead of the September 10-14 Mexico meeting.
JAPAN REACTS TO DRAFT DECLARATION
Japan Farm Ministry Welcomes New Draft Of WTO Plan -Kyodo, Dow Jones Business News, August 25, 2003
Japans farm ministry Monday welcomed a fresh draft of a ministerial statement to be adopted at a crucial World Trade Organization (news - web sites) meeting in September, saying it will lead to constructive discussions at the upcoming talks, Kyodo News reported.
DECLARATION MERE FRAMEWORK: CORPORATE REACTION
WTO Revises Declaration for Mexico, Washington Times, August 25, 2003
Although no agreement has been made on its contents, the declaration suggests frameworks, mostly without figures, for ministers of the 146-member World Trade Organization to consider at the Sept. 10-14 meeting in the Mexican resort town of Cancun. Meanwhile, top executives of companies including Unilever PLC, Boeing Co. and Pfizer Inc. are urging global trade negotiators to limit their agendas in Cancun to reaching accords on farm subsidies and access to cheap drugs.
CANCUN - OTHER ISSUES
IMF/WORLD BANK LETTER TO WTO
World Bank And IMF Announce Plans To Support Developing Countries With Trade-Related Adjustment Needs In WTO Round:Reaffirm The Importance Of A Successful Trade Round To Developing Countries, WTO Press Release, August 20, 2003
World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Horst Kûhler today sent the following letter to Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), reiterating the importance of a successful round of multilateral trade talks to developing countries. The letter also reaffirms the two institutions commitment to help developing countries adjust to a more open trading environment.
WHAT IS AT STAKE IN CANCUN: WORLD BANK
World Bank Director for International Trade Uri Dadush Explains Why the Upcoming Negotiation Round is Crucial to Developing Countries, August 26, 2003
From the World Banks point of view, what is the best possible outcome of Cancþn?
WORLD TRADE TALKS HIT ENVIRONMENTAL SNAG
Reuters, by Robert Evans, August 25, 2003
Diplomats racing to shape a plan to clinch a new world trade pact by the end of next year ran into trouble Saturday over how far it should be linked to global agreements on protecting the environment .Saturdays impasse was over whether officials from bodies overseeing implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) should have a permanent presence at special WTO sessions discussing links between trade and the environment.
NO CONSENSUS ON SINGAPORE ISSUES, BUT PROPONENTS STILL INSIST ON NEGOTIATIONS ***
TWN Info Service on WTO Issues, August 21, 2003
Attached is a TWN Report by Goh Chien Yen on the situation relating to the Singapore Issues. From recent discussions in the WTO it is clear that a large number developing countries do not want to begin negotiations, and their Ministers have proclaimed themselves, as well as their Ambassadors in Geneva. Yet the proponents, especially the EU and Japan, are still insisting that negotiations must start.
INDIA TO RESIST NEW ISSUES AT WTO
Sify News, August, 26, 2003
Government promised to take adequate measures to resist any move by developed countries to bring in new issues at the WTO meeting at Cancun.
NGO LETTER CALLING FOR NO TALKS ON INVESTMENT
CIEL Signs on to Letter to USTRs Ambassador Zoellick to Oppose the Initiation of Investment Negotiations within the World Trade Organization
We believe that investment flows can facilitate sustainable development only when they are properly governed to deliver social and environmental benefits. WTO investment rules would likely strengthen the rights of corporations with respect to foreign investment, without any corresponding obligations governing their behavior. We believe, therefore, that negotiations on international investment agreements should not take place at a time when investors face no binding rules on their conduct developed by international environmental and social bodies.
COKE FURNISHES ARGUMENT AGAINST INVESTMENT
Multinationals should face the same rules no matter where they set up shop, Christian Aid, August 14, 2003
The Coca-Cola factory here has been distributing slurry, billed as fertiliser, to local farmers. This was later found to contain carcinogens . Coca-Colas Plachimada factory is perfect argument for why the world needs stricter not laxer rules governing multinational companies . Alarmingly, the argument around regulation is currently moving in the wrong direction. At the World Trade Organisation meeting in Cancun, Mexico, next month, one of the new issues to be debated is the further liberalisation of international investment. This would increase the power of investing companies while making it harder for developing countries to regulate in the public interest.
DIPLOMATS KEEPING QUIET OVER TALKS ON GENERIC DRUGS FOR POOR COUNTRIES
Associated Press, by NAOMI KOPPEL, August 26, 2003
World Trade Organization negotiators were staying tightlipped Tuesday amid rumors that they are on the verge of striking a deal on the long-deadlocked issue of ensuring that poor countries have access to expensive patented drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and other diseases .WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi said a deal seems to be imminent, but not today. The issue has been put to the bottom of the agenda of a meeting of the WTO General Council that started Tuesday afternoon, meaning it likely will be discussed Wednesday.
CANCUN - MISC.
AFRICAN PEOPLES DECLARATION AGAINST THE WTO
Statement issued at the end of joint Africa Trade Network (ATN), Southern African Peoples Solidarity Network (SAPSN) Pre-Cancun Strategy Conference, in Johannesburg 14-17 August 2003, Resisting the WTO, Issued in Johannesburg, August 17, 2003
MAUDE BARLOW & NAOMI KLEIN: ENEMIES OF MEXICO
Mexican govt leaks enemies list of activists toward Cancun, Published in La Reforma
Approximately 60 activists, intellectuals and leaders from civil organizations are monitored by Mexican authorities because of the 5TH Ministerial Conference of the WTO, in Cancun. A document from the national security, which the Mexican newspaper La REFORMA got access to, enumerates a variety of WTO opponents and includes notable persons, such as representatives of main social movements, parliamentarians, philosophers, journalists and leaders from non-governmental organizations, including those, who organized the campaign against the G8-meeting, in Genua 2001 and formulated the manifest of Genua- where an italian activists has been killed.
FORMER TRADE MINISTER PREDICTS LITTLE PROGRESS IN CANCUN
We must slip the surly bonds of protectionism, Globe and Mail, by ROY MacLAREN, August 25, 2003
What should Canada do? That the Doha Round should never have been foisted on the WTO or that rounds themselves are an outdated negotiating procedure cannot now be reversed. Canada, a protagonist of rules-based multilateral trade agreements since the Second World War, has every reason to press on with like-minded countries. However, the prospects of success are currently so dim, Canada should also pursue more trade liberalization in parallel regional and bilateral options.
WTO MEETING LATEST BATTLE IN 500 YEAR WAR
Asia-Europe Dialogue and Partners, By Aziz Choudry, August 21, 2003
The Fifth WTO Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico is drawing closer. For millions of people throughout the Americas there is nothing academic or rhetorical about claims that neoliberalism is the latest wave of colonialism, or that economic globalization and war are two sides of the same coin. It is a lived reality.
HEADING INTO CANCUN: OVERVIEW AND ANALYSIS
Unequal Protection, by Jacob T. Levy, August 20, 2003
The round of world trade negotiations launched in in Doha in 2001 is being been kept alive, for now, by a U.S.-E.U. agreement on agricultural protectionism. If the two farm-subsidy superpowers had been unable to agree, then the upcoming World Trade Organizaion (WTO) negotiation summit in Cancþn, Mexico might have collapsed before it had ever even begun. But, in a sense, that might have been preferable.
BUSINESS RULES IN THE WTO: WHO PAYS THE PRICE?
Friends of the Earth International, REPORT EMBARGOED until August 28, 2003
With two weeks to go before the World Trade Organisation?s (WTO) Ministerial meeting in Cancun, a new report reveals the key role transnational corporations play in shaping the policy of the WTO. Business Rules: Who pays the price? will be released on August 28, 2003 and was produced by Friends of the Earth International, the worlds largest grassroots environmental federation, and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).
WTO - GENERAL
CRACKING THE WTO CODE
Understanding Trade Terms, Friends of the Earth International
This is a guide to help would-be trade campaigners crack the WTO code.
EU AND THE WTO ACCORDING TO THE EU
WORLD TRADE REPORT 2003
Brussels, 21 August 2003
Also Doha Development Agenda: Making trade work for all
MEXICO FILES THREE COMPLAINTS AGAINST U.S.
Associated Press, by NAOMI KOPPEL, August 18, 2003
Mexico went on the offensive against its powerful northern neighbor Monday, bringing three separate complaints against the United States to the World Trade Organization. Citing a catalog of violations of WTO rules, Mexican WTO Ambassador Eduardo Perez Motta demanded reimbursement of more than 10 years worth of dumping duties charged by the United States on imports of Mexican cement, and also asked for rulings on the legality of duties on oil pipes and steel plate.
U.S. TRADE SANCTIONS AGAINST COSTA RICA: SHRIMP TURTLE DEBATE CONTINUES
Sea Turtle Conservation And Shrimp Imports, Press Statement by Philip T. Reeker,Deputy Spokesman, August 25, 2003 <>The Department of State determined that Costa Rica no longer meets the requirements set by Section 609 of P.L. 101-162 related to the protection of sea turtles in the course of commercial shrimp harvesting. As a result of this August 14, 2003, determination, importation of shrimp harvested in Costa Rica with commercial fishing technology that may adversely affect endangered sea turtles will be prohibited.
Released on August 25, 2003
WTO & AGRICULTURE
The Philippine Star, by Rocel C. Felix, August 26, 2003
The Philippines scored one for the developing countries bid to push for more substantial agricultural trade reforms in the forthcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) talks next month in Cancun, Mexico. Agriculture Assistant Secretary Segfredo Serrano Jr. said the WTO tabled for discussions the developing countries demand that talks should include the maintenance of special products (SPs) and special safeguard measures (SSMs) meant to protect their respective agriculture industries against the onslaught of cheap imported farm produce from richer members of the trade body .Recently, the Philippines, Indonesia and 14 other developing economies formed an alliance to strengthen their call to reverse unfair trade practices that have been keeping poor countries from gaining access to the lucrative market of richer countries of the WTO. At the same time, the alliances immediate agenda is to ensure that developing countries are able to declare certain agricultural products as sensitive and include these in the list of SPs and SSMs.
17-COUNTRY PAPER ON MODALITIES EVOKES DEVELOPING-COUNTRIES SUPPORT BUT EC ANGER
TWN Info Service on WTO Issues, August 22, 2003
The agriculture negotiations in WTO took a dramatic turn when 17 developing countries, including Brazil, India, China, South Africa, put forward a framework paper on modalities as a counter to the US-EC paper of last week .However it was attacked in aggressive tones by the EC representative, who accused the co-sponsors of confrontation, South-North conflict, and of classical tactics of aiming at the stars in order to get the moon.
COMMENTS ON US-EC PROPOSAL ON AGRICULTURE
TWN Info Service on WTO Issues, August 20, 2003
Last week the US and EC put forward a draft text on agriculture modalities at the WTO. This text has subsequently been widely criticised, especially by developing countries.
WTO Web site, August 25, 2003
Want to know the difference between a Swiss formula and a Uruguay Round approach? Making sense of fixed percentage and harmonizing cuts, the Uruguay Round approach, and Swiss formulas.
PETTIGREW DEFENDS TRADE AGREEMENTS DESPITE BEEF AND WHEAT DISPUTES
Pettigrew defends value of trade agreements, The Western Producer, by Adrian Ewins, August 22, 2003
Wheat and durum shipments to the United States are subject to countervailing duties and anti-dumping tariffs. As well, the U.S. border remains closed to live cattle exports despite scientific evidence that Canada has contained its single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and its beef and cattle are safe .Pierre Pettigrew said the lesson is that trade deals are important and should be strengthened and improved.
2. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
Deutsche Welle, August 19, 2003
The United States has formally asked the World Trade Organization to declare the EUs refusal to import most genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as illegal. Backed by Canada and Argentina, the United States on Monday pushed ahead with filing a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), requesting it to set up an arbitration panel to investigate the United States ongoing trade row with the European Union.
EU DEFENDS BIOTECH CROP RULES
Associated Press, August 18, 2003
The European Union defended its rules for the sale of genetically modified foods Monday as the United States, backed by Argentina and Canada, asked the World Trade Organization to overturn requirements they see as an unfair trade barrier. The 15-nation EU ended its five-year moratorium on genetically modified food last month but said each product must undergo a scientific risk assessment and have a special label.
EU CONFIDENT IN ITS CASE
Washington requests WTO dispute panel on GMOs; EU confident of its case:, EurActiv, August 19, 2003
Less than one month before the start of the important Cancun talks on global trade, the US, Argentina and Canada officially requested the WTO for a dispute settlement panel on GMOs. Since several years, the European Union has a de facto moratorium on imports of any genetically modified food to Europe. US farmers have reported massive losses because EU rules prevent them from exporting their crops to Europe. The US administration has therefore threatened to appeal to the WTO, claiming that the EU moratorium is illegal because it is not based on scientific evidence of risks to health and the environment.
3. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank
IMF Web Site
SEPTEMBER 23-24, 2003, The Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group (Bank) and the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (Fund) normally meet once a year to discuss the work of their respective institutions. The Annual Meetings, which generally take place in September-October, have customarily been held in Washington for two consecutive years and in another member country in the third year.
STAKES ARE HIGH ON IMF-ARGENTINA NEGOTIATIONS
CommonDreams.org, by Mark Weisbrot, August 13, 2003
The pressure on both sides will be intense, and the outcome could have a serious impact on future economic policy in Latin America and developing countries generally. Argentina owes $14.3 billion to the IMF, $8.5 billion to the World Bank, and $8 billion to the Inter-American Development Bank respectively, about 14, 8, and 20 percent of these institutions portfolios. If Argentina defaults to them, it could jeopardize their AAA credit rating. In other words, the banks have a problem.
4. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
Canadian Press, By JUDY MONCHUK, August 25, 2003
Truckloads of Canadian beef will not be crossing a partly reopened U.S. border on the initial target date of Sept. 1. Permits to allow some cuts of boneless beef into the United States will not be issued until after the Labour Day weekend, Ed Curlett of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said from Washington.
CEC RECEIVES REVISED SUBMISSION AIMED AT ONTARIO POWER PLANTS
CEC Press Release, August 19, 2003
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has received a revised citizen submission asserting that Canada is failing to effectively enforce the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the federal Fisheries Act against Ontario Power Generations (OPG) coal-fired power plants .The submitters assert that emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from OPGs coal-powered facilities pollute the air and water downwind, in eastern Canada and northeastern United States.
NAFTA ASKED TO PROBE TOXIC LEAK
CBC News Online, August 22, 2003
Environmental groups have asked NAFTAs ecological watchdog to investigate toxic sludge loaded with PCBs leaking into the St. Lawrence River near Montreal. The oily black substance is oozing out of the rock at a former toxic waste site thats now a high-tech industrial park.
REGULATORY GAPS LEAVE UTILITIES IN THE DARK
The Globe and Mail, by BARRIE McKENNA, August 19, 2003
Like it or not, energy deregulation has another black eye less than three years after Californias rolling blackouts and the collapse of Enron Corp. Each one of the major states as well as Ontario affected by last weeks blackout have deregulated their electricity industries in recent years.
ATTACK ON LABOUR AT HEART OF ANYONE BUT BUSH
Decisions, Decisions: As labor ponders which Democrat to endorse, it also girds for battle against the GOP in 04, by David Moberg, August 25, 2003
Its not just the loss of jobs3.2 million from the private sector, the worst record at a comparable point in any administration since Herbert Hooverbut the attacks on workplace protections and on unions as institutions, and the unabashed catering to the rich and big corporations. Bush has been an unmitigated disaster for working people, says McEntee. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says, No previous Republican administration has ever been this malicious on workers issues and more determined to seek advantage for corporate America. And these are the polite comments.
FREE TRADES VICTIMS TURNING AGAINST BUSH, GOP
Associated Press, August 25, 2003
Jobs in many industries have fled overseas since 1993, when Congress passed the Clinton-backed North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. About half the textile and apparel jobs that existed in 1994 are gone. Since Bush took office in January 2001, it is estimated North Carolina and South Carolina have lost more than 180,000 manufacturing jobs .
DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE CALLS FOR CONTINENTIAL INTEGRATION
Deans Bush-bashing talk energizes Austin crowd, by Ken Herman, AMERICAN-STATESMAN, August 26, 2003
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, venturing deep into Bush country, delighted Austin supporters Monday by criticizing the president on the economy, foreign policy and other topics .Dean declared himself a supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement but said it needs to work more like the European Union, a trade alliance that requires all member nations to adhere to the same standards on such things as occupational safety. Dean said NAFTAs biggest shortcoming is that it doesnt require Mexico to improve working conditions.
MIAMI GEARS UP FOR MINISTERS AND PROTESTERS
Trade ministers, protesters due in Miami for new regional summit, by Doreen Hemlock, Sun Sentinel, August 25 2003
With just three months to go before Miami hosts a historic Americas trade ministers meeting, organizers say theyre on track to raise at least $10 million to fund the event much of it for security to handle as many as 6,000 delegates and 100,000 protesters expected to attend . Brazil has the whip hand on whether there will be an FTAA, said Carl Cira, who heads an Americas think tank at Florida International University and is a coordinator of todays seminar. And Brazils been saying the FTAA as currently conceived wont fly because the U.S. is unable to make any meaningful concessions on agriculture, such as ending its nearly 30-cents-a-gallon tariff on orange-juice imports, Cira said.
G34 MINISTERIAL IN JANUARY 2004
Americas summit called for January 2004, Reuters, August 21, 2003
Leaders from across the Americas will discuss social and economic issues at a special summit in Mexico in January amid concerns at growing poverty in Latin America, the Organization of American States said on Thursday. The Mexican foreign ministry said the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the ambitious hemispheric trade pact promoted by Washington, is being dealt with by a separate secretariat and does not need to be on the summit agenda .The FTAA will be tackled in the next hemispheric summit meeting scheduled for Argentina, in 2005.
PERU SIGNS TRADE AGREEMENT WITH MERCOSUR
Associated Press, August 26, 2003 Peru and Mercosur trade zone nations signed a free trade deal on Monday aimed at strengthening South American economic integration . Brazil has been pushing for South American integration in order to give the continent more negotiating power in talks to create a proposed Free Trade Zone of the Americas stretching from Alaska to Argentina by 2005. It would surpass the European Union as the worlds largest trading block
5. Human Rights and Environment
Tuesday 16 September - Thursday 18 September 2003 in Cartagena, Colombia
Friends of the Earth International
MINING FIRMS AGREE TO OBSERVE WORLD HERITAGE SITES
REUTERS, by Nick Trevethan, August 22, 2003
Fifteen of the worlds largest metal miners and producers have signed an agreement not to operate in world heritage sites like the Taj Mahal and Great Barrier Reef, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) said this week.
CORPORATIONS ADOPT HUMAN RIGHTS NORMS
Adoption of UN Human Rights Norms for Companies a Welcome Step Forward, Amnesty International, August 14, 2003
Amnesty International today joined with a large number of NGOs in welcoming the adoption by the United Nations of the Norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights. The members of the UN Subcommision adopted the Norms yesterday by unanimous vote. The UN norms and commentary set out in a comprehensive way the key human rights responsibilities of companies, creating a powerful tool for advocates and a useful checklist for those companies keen to improve their human rights performance.
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.