Sierra Club of/du Canada


People, Trade & the Environment
Tools & Information for Activists

October 4, 2004


1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)

  • WTO RESUMES TALKS
  • CANDIDATES EMERGE FOR WTO DIRECTOR-GENERAL
  • GLOBAL TRADE DISPUTE BREWING OVER SOY SAUCE
  • WTO WILL PROBE US DUTIES ON SOME EU STEEL
  • US & EU CONTEMPLATE CUTS IN AG SUBSIDIES
  • OVER 3 BILLION EURO IN FARM SUBSIDIES MISSPENT
  • WTO MEMBERS GEAR UP FOR RENEWED AGRICULTURE NEGOTIATIONS


2. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)

  • MONSANTO GM GRASS WANDERING: STUDY
  • APPLICATION FOR HUMAN CLONING LICENSE


3. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank

  • IMF, WORLD BANK WARN ON RECOVERY
  • SOUTHERN AFRICA FACES MAJOR FOOD PROBLEMS: WORLD BANK
  • WORLD BANK ACCUSED OF EASING LENDING SAFEGUARDS


4. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)

  • NATIONAL POST MALICIOUSLY FALSIFIED CLC POSITION ON TRADE
  • INDUSTRY MINISTER LINKS TRADE & SECURITY


5. Environment

  • CANADA BLOCKS ASBESTOS TYPE FROM GLOBAL TOXIC LIST
  • SAN FRANCISCO ACTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE DESPITE BUSH
  • ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY IMPROVED ECONOMIC GROWTH: EU
  • RUSSIA TAKES FIRST STEPS TOWARD JOINING KYOTO TREATY
  • GOVERNMENTS URGED TO BACK GLOBAL INVENTORY OF KEY OZONE DAMAGING PESTICIDE
  • WOMEN AND THE FUTURE OF THE EARTH
  • RIO REPORT CARD: GOVERNMENT GETS “F” ON TRADE & ENVIRONMENT
  • UN TALKS BID TO SAVE FISH, PLANTS AND TIMBER
  • IVORY DEBATE AGAIN TAKES CENTRE STAGE
  • ENDANGERED SPECIES TALKS: “DIRTY TRICKS, CORRUPTION, EXPLOITATION”
  • 2004 REPORT OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMISSIONER
  • EDDIE BAUER: GOING GREEN, STAYING SWEAT SHOP


6. Other

  • NEW EU TRADE CHIEF FACES TOUGH GRILLING
  • EU CONSULTATION ON TRADE WITH US
  • EU PRESENTS TRADE OFFER TO MERCOSUR
  • RETHINKING FREE TRADE
  • US IS RETREATING FROM INTERNATIONAL LEGAL SYSTEM, STUDY
  • RICHEST & LARGEST US CORPORATIONS PAYING LESS AND LESS TAXES


7. Glossary



People, Trade and the Environment is a publication of the Sierra Club of Canada. This digest is available on-line at www.sierraclub.ca/trade-environment/pte. Many thanks to Louise Molloy and all others who contributed to the publication of this digest. For information or comments, to subscribe or unsubscribe, please contact: Sarah Dover, sdover@magma.ca


1. WTO (World Trade Organisation)

BACK


WTO RESUMES TALKS

“WTO to resume talks under Doha Round 2 months after framework accord”, Kyodo, October 4, 2004

The World Trade Organization is set to resume talks under the so-called Doha Round on Monday, about two months after member economies struck a historic framework accord for global trade liberalization. Negotiations on market access for nonagricultural products will resume Monday, while talks on farm trade liberalization are scheduled to restart on Wednesday, WTO officials said. The WTO’s main decision-making body, the General Council, adopted a framework agreement on trade in all areas including agricultural and nonfarm sectors on Aug. 1, putting the stalled talks under the Doha Round back on track…. During future negotiations on farm trade, WTO members may face difficulties in reaching accords on the so-called “modalities,” or an outline, for tariff cuts and tariff rates, according to critics. Many critics say WTO talks will not likely produce major progress for the time being with influential players set to exit. European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy is scheduled to step down in late October as his term expires, while U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is expected to leave the post after the Nov. 2 U.S. presidential election. WTO members will also start the selection process of next director general from around December as the three-year term of Supachai Panitchpakdi expires in August next year.

http://asia.news.yahoo.com/041004/kyodo/d85gima01.html

CANDIDATES EMERGE FOR WTO DIRECTOR-GENERAL

Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, September 29, 2004

Mauritian Trade Minister Jayakrishna Cuttaree is expected to announce himself this week as a potential candidate for the WTO’s top job of Director-General. Currently, only the former Uruguayan trade envoy Carlos Perez del Castillo is competing for the position, but Cuttaree has indicated that he is seriously considering seeking election. “I’m being persuaded by many friends and African colleagues to contest for the World Trade Organisation’s Director-General,” he said. Trade experts also expect former Canadian trade envoy Sergio Marchi to announce his candidacy this year….The position of Director-General will become vacant in August 2005, but elections are anticipated to occur before the end of this year.

http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/04-09-29/WTOinbrief.htm#1

GLOBAL TRADE DISPUTE BREWING OVER SOY SAUCE

AP, September 27, 2004

…But these days, soy sauce isn’t just a culinary flourish it’s the focus of a global trade dispute. At a UN-sponsored meeting in Washington scheduled for today, Japan plans to demand new labels on soy sauce bottles that would distinguish traditionally brewed types from newer versions. The US and others leading the opposition say such rules would penalize some producers, and they want each country to be able to decide for itself. If approved, the proposal could eventually force some brands like the US producer ConAgra Foods’ La Choy and Chun King to disclose that they either take brewing shortcuts or skip the process altogether.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worldbiz/archives/2004/09/27/2003204609

WTO WILL PROBE US DUTIES ON SOME EU STEEL

Reuters, September 27, 2004

The World Trade Organization (WTO) launched a probe on Monday into a complaint by the European Union that the United States had failed to drop illegal import duties on some EU steel products. If the WTO trade panel finds for Brussels, then the EU is likely to ask for sanctions in the form of special tariffs on U.S. imports into the 25-nation European bloc. The panel request followed consultations between the two leading trading powers in May when U.S. officials insisted the duties, first imposed five years ago, had been adjusted after the WTO ruled them illegal two years ago.

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2004/09/27/wto_will_probe_us_duties_on_some_eu_steel/


WTO & AGRICULTURE



US & EU CONTEMPLATE CUTS IN AG SUBSIDIES

“Proposed cuts in ag subsidies could impact area farms”, by Sean Ellis, Journal, September 27, 2004

The United States and European Union are closer than ever to reaching an agreement that would substantially reduce farm subsidies and completely eliminate agricultural export subsidies. During World Trade Organization talks in August, the two sides agreed in principle to a deal that would begin with a 20 percent reduction in domestic farm subsidies. According to an article in the Aug. 23 edition of U.S. News & World Report, a final agreement could realistically be reached by the next round of WTO talks in Hong Kong in December 2005.

http://www.journalnet.com/articles/2004/09/27/news/local/news02.txt

OVER 3 BILLION EURO IN FARM SUBSIDIES MISSPENT

EurActiv, September 22, 2004

The European Court of Auditors has pointed to large misspent sums of farm aid. With a recovery rate of 17 per cent, the majority of losses are borne by the EU or the Member State concerned….Since 1971, over 3 billion euro of CAP farm subsidies have been misspent, reported the European Court of Auditors on 21 September 2004. While 537 million euro were recovered from the beneficiaries, over 250 million euro had to be written off at the expense of the EU….At 43 billion euro, CAP spending accounts for nearly half the EU’s annual budget.

http://www.euractiv.com/cgi-bin/cgint.exe/2794755-568?204&OIDN=1508248&-home=home

WTO MEMBERS GEAR UP FOR RENEWED AGRICULTURE NEGOTIATIONS

Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, September 29, 2004

On 24 September, delegates to the WTO met informally to discuss the way forward in agriculture negotiations. The meeting was the first to follow a Framework Agreement reached at the end of July that effectively salvaged the Doha negotiations (see BRIDGES Weekly, 2 August 2004 ). The discussions on the agriculture section of the “August Decision” had been particularly sensitive. After the intense negotiations in late July, the Geneva process is expected to pick up only slowly. The initial work will be based on a list of technical issues compiled by Tim Groser, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture (CoA) special (negotiating) session.

http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/04-09-29/story1.htm


2. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)

BACK


MONSANTO GM GRASS WANDERING: STUDY

“A U.S. study of Genetically Modified crops spells trouble for Europe”, by Carla Power

September 28, 2004

Wind blows pollen. That’s not news, unless the pollen in question happens to be genetically modified and blowing across Europe….Wandering pollen hit the headlines last week when the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a U.S. journal, published a study carried out on genetically modified bentgrass in Oregon. The study showed that genes from the grass, developed by Monsanto and Scotts for use on golf courses, were found in test plants around 20 kilometers away observed in any other GM-crop study.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/bentgrass092904.cfm

APPLICATION FOR HUMAN CLONING LICENSE

“Dolly’s Creator Applies for Human Cloning License”, Reuters, September 30, 2004

Scientists who created Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal, applied for a license this week to clone human embryos to obtain stem cells for research into Motor Neuron Disease.

http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/27422/story.htm


3. IMF (International Monetary Fund) & The World Bank

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IMF, WORLD BANK WARN ON RECOVERY

AFP, by Rob Lever, October 4, 2004

A strengthening global economy offers little time for celebration, IMF and World Bank leaders said as they wrapped up meetings on Sunday with an appeal to governments to act boldly to preserve a worldwide recovery. Although the economy as a whole is in its best shape in three decades, it is threatened by imbalances from currency distortions, sky-high oil prices and a host of other problems such as US deficits and sluggish conditions in Japan and Europe, the leaders said. Southern Africa Faces Food, Water Crises - Study

http://business.iafrica.com/news/351028.htm

SOUTHERN AFRICA FACES MAJOR FOOD PROBLEMS: WORLD BANK

Reuters, September 24, 2004

Southern Africa faces major challenges to feed its swelling populations and to keep its wells from running dry, a study showed….Funded by the World Bank and other donors, the Southern African Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (SAMA) is the first in a series of regional checkups of the planet’s health launched by the United Nations in June, 2001….Bob Scholes, one of the study’s authors, told Reuters the water situation was most serious in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa and Malawi….”The region as a whole produces enough carbohydrate crops to in principle meet the aggregated minimum needs of its population,” the study said. “In practice, because of distribution inequities, up to 25 percent of the population are undernourished,” it said.

http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/27327/newsDate/24-Sep-2004/story.htm

WORLD BANK ACCUSED OF EASING LENDING SAFEGUARDS

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg), by Jim Lobe, September 21, 2004

Peter Woicke, the director of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), has strongly rejected the concerns of more than 100 environmental, development and indigenous groups that his agency is planning to water down its strict social and environmental conditions on its future loans and investments. In a letter sent to Woicke and World Bank President James Wolfensohn last week, the groups registered “deep concerns” about the IFC’s intent to replace its 10 “Safeguard Policies” on protecting the environment and local communities with new “performance standards” that would set objectives for each project. Such a change, the groups charged, “impl(ies) a major shift from a mandatory and compliance-based approach to a mainly discretionary approach”. “Reasonable people must be able to understand and agree upon the bottom-line standards that will be expected of IFC-financed projects,” according to Janneke Bruil of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), most of whose national chapters signed the letter. “These decisions should not be left to the whims of individual staff.”

http://allafrica.com/stories/200409220003.html


4. FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) & NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)

BACK


NATIONAL POST MALICIOUSLY FALSIFIED CLC POSITION ON TRADE

Canadian Labour Congress, September 22, 2004

The Canadian Labour Congress says the National Post deliberately and maliciously falsified statements president Ken Georgetti made this week on free trade. Following is the text of a memo sent to members and organizations that belong to the 2.5-million national labour body.

http://www.nupge.ca/news_2004/n23se04b.htm

INDUSTRY MINISTER LINKS TRADE & SECURITY

Speaking Points, The Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, September 20, 2004

…..Since 9/11, the border has become a significantly greater cost and risk point as we work through Canadian and American security issues. Add to this the variety of trade frictions such as softwood lumber, BSE, and the relatively wide exchange rate swings of the past few years, and you start to realize that “border risk,” as I like to call it, has become a critical challenge for Canada. In other words, the border is back with a vengeance…. Where does all of this lead me? First, we need a broad-based, frontal assault on border risk. We need to thoroughly understand it and we need to attack it at source wherever we can. Our market is small, smaller than California, and it’s widely dispersed. We will always depend on the markets of others for our prosperity. Open trade and commercial relationships will be essential and we, as a relatively small player, will have to be aggressive and strategic in developing and protecting these relationships. My colleague, Jim Peterson, Minister of International Trade, is moving hard in this direction and we at Industry Canada will help and support him. Likewise, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Anne McLellan, is working with her U.S. counterpart Tom Ridge to improve security and reduce border problems.

We need to ensure our border does not become a source of supply chain disruption, adding cost and risk and destroying value. Government regulations, approvals, provision of public infrastructure and necessary decisions by the hundreds, if not thousands, are a hidden but fundamental part of any supply chain. Government’s role should be to smooth the path to markets in other countries, while maintaining necessary public safeguards.

http://www.ic.gc.ca/cmb/


5. Environment

BACK


CANADA BLOCKS ASBESTOS TYPE FROM GLOBAL TOXIC LIST

Reuters, September 22, 2004

Canada has blocked the addition of a carcinogenic type of asbestos to a global list of toxic chemicals, a move that environmentalists said this week could undermine efforts to protect people and the environment. Fourteen other chemicals were added this week to the Rotterdam Convention’s list of 37 which requires exporting countries to warn potential buyers about their toxicity and advise them on safe usage. However, chrysotile asbestos, which was blocked on Saturday, is the first chemical whose proposed addition to the list has run into opposition. Chrysotile, or white asbestos, is one of three types of asbestos that research shows is carcinogenic.

http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/27276/newsDate/22-Sep-2004/story.htm

SAN FRANCISCO ACTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE DESPITE BUSH

“San Francisco Plan Aims to Slash Greenhouse Gases”, Reuters, September 30, 2004

Three days after California regulators adopted tough rules to cut car pollution, San Francisco’s mayor unveiled a plan this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saying cities must take action because the Bush administration is ignoring global warming. San Francisco’s “climate action plan” seeks to slash annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2.5 million tons by 2012, a 20 percent cut below 1990 emissions. California and local cities are moving forward with their own environmental plans because the Bush administration “is not paying attention,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said.

http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/27421/story.htm

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY IMPROVED ECONOMIC GROWTH: EU

“Environmental policy has improved quality of growth in the EU, report shows”, EurActiv, September 23, 2004

A report for the Dutch Environment Ministry says that EU environment policy has achieved high economic growth while reducing emissions of pollutants, compensating investment costs by benefits for society….A report by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) says that EU environmental policy has benefited both the ecosystem and the economy, leading to more sustainable growth….However, the report points to important unresolved environmental issues, in particular climate change, loss of biodiversity and air pollution in urban areas.

http://www.euractiv.com/cgi-bin/cgint.exe/2794755-568?204&OIDN=1508251&-home=home

RUSSIA TAKES FIRST STEPS TOWARD JOINING KYOTO TREATY

Los Angeles Times, by Kim Murphy, September 24, 2004

Key ministries of the Russian government Thursday began the process of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, signaling that President Vladimir V. Putin was preparing to put the landmark global warming treaty to a vote in parliament. After weeks of behind-the-scenes meetings aimed at weighing costs and benefits including Russia’s possible admission this year to the World Trade Organization Putin directed his Cabinet ministers to “sign as soon as possible” the draft ratification documents, the first step toward allowing Russia to join the 1997 accord….The protocol, which cannot take effect unless Russia signs it, aims to reduce greenhouse gases to 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2012.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0924-22.htm

GOVERNMENTS URGED TO BACK GLOBAL INVENTORY OF KEY OZONE DAMAGING PESTICIDE

Vanguard, September 21, 2004

The United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP) has urged countries to re-double efforts to assess the quantities of an ozone damaging chemical being used to kill pests on shipments of rice, maize, nuts and other big commodity export crops. UNEP’s Executive Director Klaus Toepfer, said “significant knowledge gaps” existed on the true levels of methyl bromide being used around the world. He said this could have implications for the global effort to repair the 20 mile high ozone layer which filters out harmful levels of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Methyl bromide, a pesticide and one of the major ozone depleting substances in use, is being phased out for some key agricultural purposes under an international agreement called the Montreal Protocol. The phase-out covers such uses as fumigation of soils and pest control on farms. However, other pest-control purposes involving exports of commodity crops, animal fodder, cut flowers, hides and consignments in wooden pallets, are exempted from the international phase out.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200409210721.html

WOMEN AND THE FUTURE OF THE EARTH

“A Gender Approach to Environmental Matters”, The East African Standard (Nairobi), by Olive Metet Bii, September 25, 2004

The earth’s capacity to sustain human life is fast eroding through degradation and pollution. The threat is most severe in Africa. Degradation and pollution of the ecosystem has had an especially brutal impact on the poor, particularly women and children. On a daily basis, women are profoundly affected by the limitations of degraded and polluted natural, social, economic and cultural environment. Women are particularly affected by environmental limitations of food at the most basic level. With this in mind women must therefore be the main promoters of the protection of our resources, be it in the big cities of industrialised countries or the most marginalized communities….According to the Gender and Water Development report of 2003, 10 percent of school-age girls in Africa do not attend school during menstruation or worse still drop out altogether - mainly as result of lack of clean and private sanitation facilities in schools. In the rural and slum areas, women walk long distances to find some privacy, often in bushes or fields, where their personal safety is at risk.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200409270270.html

RIO REPORT CARD: GOVERNMENT GETS “F” ON TRADE & ENVIRONMENT

“Sierra Club of Canada RIO Report Card sends message to next Parliament”, Sierra Club of Canada News Release, September 30, 2004

…”The trend lines are worrying for wilderness,” said Elizabeth May, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada. “The federal government’s marks have been sliding in relation to protecting nature parks, endangered species and the life of our oceans. While there is real progress in the urban agenda, improving green infrastructure in our cities plus the beginnings of an industrial strategy to meet Kyoto, nature itself is being ignored.”…Agenda 21 [Trade & environment] Grade: F. The past year witnessed startling successes - just not on the part of the Canadian government. Developing countries participating in the negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in the Free Trade Area of the Americans (FTAA), supported by civil society and activists, stymied the multinational talks in Cancun and Miami. All too often, when those who have had the most to lose have been forced to risk it all, Canada has been standing on the wrong side of the effort.

http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/media/item.shtml?x=737

UN TALKS BID TO SAVE FISH, PLANTS AND TIMBER

Reuters, September 24, 2004

Long a forum for protecting endangered species like whales or tigers, a U.N. meeting in Bangkok next month will seek a wider role in regulating the billion-dollar trade in timber, fish and medicinal plants. Obscure but commercially valuable species like the humphead wrasse fish, the Chinese yew tree or the hoodia cactus are likely to steal some of the limelight at the October 2-14 meeting from elephants, bald eagles and great white sharks.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will decide on proposals to change trade rules for 50 types of plants and animals, with big implications for managing fisheries, the logging industry and pharmaceutical firms.

http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/27335/newsDate/24-Sep-2004/story.htm

IVORY DEBATE AGAIN TAKES CENTRE STAGE

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg), by Moyiga Nduru, September 29, 2004

Certain conservationists in Africa say they will oppose any move to revive commercial exploitation of elephants, at the 13th Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which opens in the Thai capital, Bangkok, in the first week of October.

The most controversial proposal in this regard has been made by Namibia, which would like to export 2,000 kilogrammes of ivory each year - using stocks that have resulted from natural elephant deaths and culling. Along with South Africa, Namibia is also calling for trade in elephant leather and hair to be permitted. The trade in elephant products was banned in 1989 in response to the dreadful toll taken on herds by poachers in search of ivory. But Namibia, South Africa and Botswana were granted permission during the 2002 CITES meeting in Santiago, Chile, to sell 60 tonnes of ivory that they had stockpiled. Most of this ivory had been confiscated from poachers.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200409300002.html

ENDANGERED SPECIES TALKS: “DIRTY TRICKS, CORRUPTION, EXPLOITATION”

“Wildlife Trade? It’s a Jungle Out There”, Guardian/UK, by John Vidal, September 30, 2004

“Dirty Tricks, Corruption and Exploitation - as talks to protect endangered species begin in Bangkok, John Vidal asks whether CITES has had its day.”

Last week President Bush held up a rifle at his ranch and declared that he was a conservationist. The man who wants to open the Arctic to oil companies and who has ripped up more than a hundred environmental protection laws was unapologetic….Mr Bush had highlighted a schism in the global wildlife debate between those who say that endangered wildlife is best protected when it is traded “sustainably” and those who argue that international trade neither helps people nor protects species. The divisions will be exposed next week in Bangkok at the annual meeting of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Officials from more than 160 countries, representatives of more than 500 pressure groups and up to 10,000 observers will meet to debate whether to add some 100 plant and animal species to the 34,000 already listed.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0930-03.htm

2004 REPORT OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMISSIONER

“2004 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to the House of Commons”, Office of the AG of Canada, September 21, 2004

The Commissioner’s Perspective 2004. In her fourth report to Parliament, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development again examines the federal government’s environmental performance. The Commissioner’s audits deal with issues that affect Canadians, including results achieved in relation to five international agreements, environmentally sustainable assistance to developing countries, and the ma nagement of salmon habitat and stocks. Other audits examine the government’s use of strategic environmental assessment in decision-making, the handling of its own office solid waste, the use of the tax system in advancing sustainable development, and departmental responses to petitions.

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/domino/cesd_cedd.nsf/html/04cesd_e.html

EDDIE BAUER: GOING GREEN, STAYING SWEAT SHOP

Organic Consumers, by Jonathan Tasini, September 23, 2004

You can’t separate a company’s environmental policies from its labor policies, says Jonathan Tasini. Eddie Bauer, which has a new marketing campaign to support environmental education, is in partnership with two major anti-union companies. And how green can your favorite product be, really, when a worker in Taiwan was paid $1 a day to make it?

http://www.organicconsumers.org/clothes/eddiebauer092704.cfm


6. Other

BACK


NEW EU TRADE CHIEF FACES TOUGH GRILLING

Business Day, by Michael Thurston, October 4, 2004

Incoming EU trade chief Peter Mandelson faced a tough grilling at the European Parliament Monday, with deputies notably seeking assurances that his close ties with Tony Blair would not influence him. At the start of the hearing Mandelson reiterated his long-held pro-European convictions and underlined that his first priority will be push for a World Trade Organisation (WTO) accord which helps all sides, rich and poor. He said he believed in free trade as a “force for good in the world”.

http://www.bday.co.za/bday/content/direct/1,3523,1719214-6078-0,00.html

EU CONSULTATION ON TRADE WITH US

“Commission launches public consultation on strengthening of EU-US economic partnership”, EC Trade Press Release, 30 September 2004

The European Commission launched today a public consultation of stakeholders on how to enhance the Transatlantic Economic Partnership. This is the first step towards implementing the “EU-US Declaration on Strengthening our Economic Partnership“ adopted at the EU-US Summit on 26 June 2004 in Ireland by Presidents Prodi and Bush and Taoiseach Ahern. The Commission invites the business community, environmental and consumer organisations, trade unions and other interested groups and individuals to provide their views on the obstacles they face when trading or investing in each other’s market and on future trade and economic relations between the European Union and the United States….The public consultation will be held during the months of October and November 2004. Its results will be summarised, analysed and compared with the outcome of a similar consultation held in parallel by the United States Administration.

http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade/issues/bilateral/countries/usa/pr290904b_en.htm

EU PRESENTS TRADE OFFER TO MERCOSUR

“EU-Mercosur: EU presents its completed offer to Mercosur in on-going trade talks”, EC Trade Press Release, September 29, 2004

In the on-going negotiations for an EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, the EU has today sent Mercosur a completed offer. This offer matches the approach and the level of ambition in the offer which the Mercosur sent the EU on Friday 24 September. The offer proposes a gradual liberalisation of Mercosur exports of industrial and agricultural goods to the EU, the opening of its services market, access to a public procurement market worth Û200 bio as well as non-discriminatory rules for Mercosur investors in Europe.

http://europa.eu.int/comm/trade/issues/bilateral/regions/mercosur/pr290904_en.htm

RETHINKING FREE TRADE

Boston Globe, by Robert Kuttner, September 29, 2004

WHEN PAUL Samuelson, the dean of American economists, begins questioning the benefits of free trade, it is a bit like the pope having doubts about the virgin birth. But Samuelson, a Nobel laureate and the author of America’s best-known economics textbook, has reopened a debate on the most settled issue in economics. He’s done it with a stunner of an article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives that has created immense controversy and an opportunity for Americans to rethink previously unchallenged assumptions. Until now, any politician who questioned the universal benefits of free trade was ridiculed as a flat-earth type or a stooge for some declining industry or overpaid union whose work was best performed by lower-wage workers overseas so other US consumers could benefit. This foreclosed a whole range of policy questions from debate.

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0929-04.htm

US IS RETREATING FROM INTERNATIONAL LEGAL SYSTEM, STUDY

Agence France Presse, September 30, 2004

Despite its pledges to stay engaged with the world, the United States is gradually retreating from the UN-sponsored system of international law, having ratified only about 29 percent of existing multilateral agreements, according to a new study. The report, unveiled by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy a farmers’ lobbying group on the eve of Thursday’s foreign policy debate between President George W. Bush and his Democratic challenger John Kerry, found “a steady decline” in the US government’s support for multilateral accords, particularly those covering human and labor rights and security issues….The widely-publicized Bush decisions to withdraw US support from the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, abandon the US-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and shun the International Criminal Court are just the latest manifestations of a generally skeptical attitude in Washington toward international law, the report pointed out. Over the years, the United States has ratified only 14 out of 162 “active treaties” put together by the International Labour Organization and only two of the eight “core” UN conventions protecting the rights of workers, according to the study. It has approved just three of 11 major environmental treaties, five out of the 12 human rights treaties promoted by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and nearly half of the 23 treaties regulating intellectual property rights and related technologies.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0930-23.htm

RICHEST & LARGEST US CORPORATIONS PAYING LESS AND LESS TAXES

New York Times, by LYNNLEY BROWNING, September 23, 2004

America’s largest and most profitable companies paid less in corporate income taxes in the last three years, even as they increased profits, according to a study released yesterday. Companies have always used write-offs, depreciation, deductions and loopholes to lower their taxes, but the study, by Citizens for Tax Justice and its affiliate, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, suggested that tax breaks and subsidies enacted during the Bush administration had accelerated the decline in tax payments.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/corp/taxes092304.cfm


7. Glossary

BACK


“Chapter 11” …of the NAFTA on Dispute Settlement

CAFTA United States-Central American Free Trade Agreement

DDA Doha Development Agenda

DFAIT Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

EC European Community

ENGO Environmental non-governmental organization

EU European Union

FTA Free trade agreement

FTAA Free Trade Area of the Americas

GATS General Agreement on Trade in Services

GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

GMOs Genetically Modified Organisms

HIPC Heavily Indebted Poor Country

IFI International financial institution

ILO International Labor Organization

IMF International Monetary Fund

LDCs Lesser Developed Countries

MEA Multilateral Environmental Agreement

NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement

NGO Non-governmental organization

OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

TRIPS Agreement Respecting Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

UNDP UN Development Programme

USTR US Trade Representative

WB World Bank

WEF World Economic Forum

WHO World Health Organization

WSF World Social Forum

WTO World Trade Organization




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.



FOR INFORMATION OR COMMENTS, TO SUBSCRIBE OR UNSUBSCRIBE, PLEASE CONTACT: Sarah Dover, sdover@magma.ca