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Global Trade Watch E-Newsletter #35 - November 2005

NB: This is an archived newsletter. Information may no longer be current, and links to other sites may not always work.

Contents:

1) News from Global Trade Watch
2) Good News for (a) Change
3) Upcoming Events
3) Global Trade News
4) What Can You Do?
5) Website of the Month
6) Quote of the Month

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1) NEWS FROM GLOBAL TRADE WATCH

* GTW to Publish 3rd edition of WTO Guide - Email NOW for Free Copies!

Global Trade Watch is about to launch the 3rd edition of its popular Australian guide to the World Trade Organisation. With the WTO’s ministerial meeting coming up from December 13-18 in Hong Kong, it’s a great time to gain a deeper understand about the decisions being made in your name at this secretive meeting.

This easy-to-understand pocket-sized guide explains the complex rules of the global trading system and why they continue to be so bad not just for ordinary Australians but especially for the poor in developing countries. It also explores various alternatives to the unfair and unsustainable global economic system, and has heaps of ideas for what you can do to create change in your own communities and around the world.

Following the guide’s launch next week, over 20,000 copies will be distributed FREE around Australia! If you’d like a free copy of the guide, or if you’d like some copies to distribute in your workplace or community, please email us at [email protected] with your address and the number of copies you’d like, and we’ll post them out to you!

* "The WTO: An Australian Guide" Launch - Tues Dec 6.

For those of you in Melbourne, please join us for the launch of "The WTO: An Australian Guide" on Tuesday Dec 6 at 7pm. We will also be showing the new film: "WTO: Why is it REALLY bad for you" (see below for more info). The launch will take place at Friends of the Earth bookshop, 312 Smith Street Collingwood. All welcome!

* Improvements to the GTW E-Newsletter

This month, GTW is introducing two improvements to this monthly e-newsletter:

- The e-newsletter is now published online on our website! For those of you who have trouble reading the email newsletter (and some who have problems clicking on links), you can now find our entire e-newsletter here. For those of you who don’t quite get time to finish reading our e-newsletters, previous editions will gradually be added to the website too. See them here.

- We’ve also started a new section called “Good News for (a) Change”. We hope that each month we can bring you a piece of good news about how the global economic system is becoming a bit fairer or a bit more environmentally sustainable. This month’s “good news” is below - we hope you enjoy it!

* The Shrinking Gains from Trade

The World Bank has finally admitted what ordinary people in developing countries experience every day: global trade liberalisation is just exacerbating the world’s current inequalities. The World Bank has just released its new projections of the possible gains from a “successful” round of World Trade Organisation negotiations. Where just two years ago the Bank was projecting more than $500 billion in developing country gains from increased trade, 80% of those supposed gains now are gone. The new World Bank projections show:
* 70% of the gains would go to rich countries, up from 40% in 2003;
* A small number of the largest developing countries would capture most of the developing country benefits;
* in a "likely Doha scenario" of reforms, developing country gains amount to less than a ONE CENT per day per capita;
* Poverty impacts are very small, with projected reductions of LESS THAN ONE PERCENT in the number of people living in poverty.
Download "The Shrinking Gains from Trade: A Critical Assessment of Doha Round Projections" here.

* New Video: 'WTO: Why is it REALLY Bad For You'

'WTO: Why is it REALLY bad for you' has just been released  internationally in time for the WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong (December 13-18). Hear people from all over the world calling for an end to the WTO! They explain how millions of farmers are at risk from continued dumping by the EU and US; how our water, energy and education are threatened by privatisation; how large corporations loom over fledgling industries in the poorest nations; and, how tens of millions of people living with HIV/AIDS are still without access to lifesaving drugs. Watch it online here (needs Real One Player), or watch a 20 second trailer here. You can also order hard copies of the VCD by emailing marylou[at]focusweb.org

* Project Coordinator Wanted For “Alternatives to Empire”

Pax Christi, the Uniting Church and JUST (including Joe Camilleri, David Pargeter, Chandra Muzaffar, Dale Hess and others) are embarking on a project that we are calling "Alternatives to Empire".

Humankind is at a critical crossroad. On the one hand, a powerful elite in the United States of America, buttressed by elites in different parts of the world, is determined to create the first global empire in history. On the other hand, this drive for imperial power has generated considerable uneasiness and anger among a huge segment of the global community and has even induced fringe elements to resort to violence. This situation offers enormous dangers and unprecedented opportunities, and calls for analytical insight, ethical boldness and strategic preparation.

We are looking for someone to coordinate the project. This person would have a thorough grasp of international issues, preferably would have done study in this area, and would have a deep understanding of spiritual values (which would also include those who are not formally affiliated to any faith community). The person would be based in Kuala Lumpur for two years on a liveable, but basic salary.

The project hopes to establish focus groups in as many countries as possible. Conferences and lectures will be organised; books and journals articles will be published; a website will be established; and public campaigns will be launched. Some coordination of these activities will be provided by the initiators of this project in Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne.

Anyone interested in this position should contact Prof. Joseph Camilleri for further information: j.camilleri[at]latrobe.edu.au

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2) GOOD NEWS FOR (A) CHANGE

* Carrefour commits to UN Human Rights Standards for Companies

European retail group Carrefour - the second biggest retailer in the world - has made a commitment to independent, mandatory human rights standards for companies, to be implemented by the UN. Carrefour has put its considerable weight behind support for the “Norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights” adopted on August 13th, 2003 by the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. Read the Carrefour press release here.

* McDonald's to Sell Fair Trade Certified Coffee

McDonald's has announced it will serve Fair Trade certified coffee in 658 of its restaurants in New York state. Starting Nov. 1, participating locations will be switching 100% of their coffee products over to Fair Trade certified organic coffee from Newman's Own Organics. More.

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3) UPCOMING EVENTS

VICTORIA

* Tuesday Dec 6, 7pm - Launch of the "The WTO: An Australian Guide" - Join us for the launch of our new guide to the World Trade Organisation, and a viewing of the new film "WTO: Why is it REALLY bad for you", produced by Focus on the Global South. WHERE: Friend of the Earth bookshop, 312 Smith Street Collingwood. More info: info[at]tradewatch.org.au

* Friday Dec 9, 12:45pm-1.45pm - Make Poverty History Walk - Join Oxfam’s donkey caravan at the State Library for a Make Poverty History Trade Justice Walk from the French Consulate to the British Consulate. At the consulates we will symbolically dump agricultural products from our donkey caravan and make a presentation to consulate staff. Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett will launch the event. Be sure to wear your Make Poverty History t-shirt or something white. WHERE: Meet at the State Library of Victoria lawns, Swanston Street, Melbourne. More info: terrencer[at]oxfam.org.au

NEW SOUTH WALES

* Wed 7 December, 12:30pm - Lunchtime film screening: ‘The WTO: Why it is really bad for you?’ - This documentary explains what the WTO is and how WTO decision-making works to privilege powerful countries and corporate interests and silence developing countries. It features voices from the developing world describing the impact of the negotiations in agriculture, services and goods on people and the environment. This is a short documentary made by Focus on the Global South in Thailand. It will be followed by a brief update on the state of play in negotiations and discussion. WHERE: Waratah Room, Level 7, Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney. More info: jbailey[at]piac.asn.au

* Friday 9 December, 10.30am - Make Poverty History - Join Oxfam in wrapping the Sydney Town Hall in Make Poverty History banners. A giant fortune cookie will be broken open to reveal a Make Trade Fair message for the World Trade Organisation meeting in Hong Kong. Live music will add to the festivities. WHERE: Sydney Town Hall, George Street, Sydney. More info: margaretd[at]oxfam.org.au

* Tues 13 December, 12:30pm - Public rally for trade justice! - Let’s bring the WTO negotiations out from behind closed doors! The Australian government is playing a key role in pushing changes to the negotiations of the WTO trade in services (GATS) agreement. These proposals threaten to include essential services, such as water, health and education, as tradeable commodities in the GATS. Let the Government know that essential services should be decided democratically at the local and national level and not signed away in trade agreements! Come along and bring a friend and a banner from your organisation or a colourful banner you made yourself. WHERE: Outside the offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Angel Place, 123 Pitt St, Sydney

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

* Saturday 10 December - Make Trade Fair Parade - Join the Fair Trade Parade at Parliament House and walk to the South Australian Museum lawns carrying giant Make Poverty History letters. Watch local celebrities take part in the "Ever been dumped on" stunt, then send your own Make Poverty History message to world leaders at the World Trade Organisation meeting in Hong Kong. WHERE: Parliament House, North Terrace, Adelaide, from 11.30am, then South Australian Museum lawns from 12pm–1pm. More info: sallym[at]oxfam.org.au

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

* Friday 9 December, 1pm - Bang the gong for Hong Kong - Give unfair trade rules the gong by delivering grain and a Make Trade Fair message to the United States Consulate. Local kids will lead the way wearing t-shirts that spell out "Make Trade Fair = Make Poverty History". Wear white, put on your white band and be prepared to make a big noise. WHERE: Meet at the front of the Perth Concert Hall, opposite the United States Consulate, 16 St Georges Terrace, Perth

* Please email in your upcoming events!

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4) GLOBAL TRADE NEWS

* WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION NEWS *

* Hopes fade for trade talks (Nov 25) - Prospects for a breakthrough in stalled world trade talks at next month's summit in Hong Kong receded further yesterday as details emerged of the draft texts being prepared for the summit which showed no progress has been made. More...

* Developing Countries Face De-industrialisation (25 Nov) - In what appears to have become standard practice at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the WTO negotiating committee chair on Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) has ignored the clear and adamant voices of developing countries in putting forward a text that only reflects the interests of powerful developed countries. More...

* Chances Diminish For Solution On TRIPS And Public Health Before Hong Kong (22 Nov) - Key officials in Geneva indicate that World Trade Organisation members are not likely to find a compromise on a permanent amendment to global trade rules in order to allow poor countries to import affordable life-saving medicines in time for the December WTO ministerial in Hong Kong. More...

* Response to the letter signed by the CEOs and chairmen of the world's "leading corporations" (15 Nov) - We, the undersigned organisations and individuals , represent tens of millions of workers and farmers, landless and unemployed, human rights , development and environmental campaigners, women, students , academics and citizens from all corners of the earth. We are writing in response to the letter signed by the CEOs and chairmen of the world's "leading corporations" in which they urge WTO member governments to conclude the Doha round of negotiations "on time." More...

* On the Road to Hong Kong: Gender-Fair Trade? (Nov 6) - WTO Director General Pascal Lamy classified free trade and open markets as a "fundamentally important" tool for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and tackling poverty. However, this article points out that such neoliberal policies have not only failed to free people from poverty, but also contributed to a "feminization" of poverty. This article urges WTO members to focus the next meeting in Hong Kong on fair trade rules and social and economic rights, with particular attention to gender equity. More...

* Women and Trade (Oct 27) - In Africa, women make up more than a half of the workforce and play a key role in the economy. Nonetheless, the World Trade Organisation is leaving them behind by liberalizing trade and agriculture, generating a "feminization" of poverty. This article urges decision makers to apply policies that prevent gender discrimination and meet basic human rights. More...

* Africa faces bitter harvest as WTO subsidy talks stall (Oct 23) - With just weeks to go before critical World Trade Organisation talks in Hong Kong, Europe and the US are in deadlock over how far they should open up their markets to farmers from poor countries - and what they will demand from the rest of the world in return. Campaigners say that unless the so-called 'Doha round' of trade talks makes globalisation work for the poor, Africa will unable to trade its way to self-sufficiency, and in a decade's time still more aid will be needed. More...

* BILATERAL AND REGIONAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS NEWS *

* Australia pressured over US FTA: Crowe (26 Nov) - Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe says the Australian government has buckled to United States pressure over free trade. More...

* APEC admits dangers of bilateral deals (Nov 18) - Criticised by business leaders and alarmed by the possible failure of next month’s world trade talks in Hong Kong, Asia-Pacific governments are acknowledging for the first time the dangers of the tangled "spaghetti bowl" of bilateral trade deals they have spawned in the past few years. More...

* Manufacturer sees no GUD in China FTA (Oct 20) - A free trade agreement with China will offer no net benefit to Australia in general or manufacturers in particular, according to a leading manufacturer. Rather, any agreement would probably exacerbate the problem of establishing the price of exported goods in the Chinese market, making it difficult to prove dumping, GUD Holdings managing director Ian Campbell said yesterday. More...

* WORLD BANK / IMF NEWS *

* I really have no problem with the World Bank (Nov 14) - I write this because of the continued ineptness of its policies. It makes us lose time and direction again and again. Just look at the latest so-called water privatisation programme of the Bank and the Delhi government. More...

* Discussing the World Development Report: Does Anyone Need It? (Oct 27) - Usually, the World Development Reports reflect the "most progressive face" of the World Bank. Still, the 2006 report, which focuses on "Equity and Development," fails to mention how the Bretton Woods Institutions themselves caused inequality through strict privatisation and deregulation policies. Furthermore, the report offers "unhelpful prescriptions" to address inequality in the future. More...

* Dispossessing Africa's Wealth (Oct 27) - Many policymakers claim that integration into the global economy represents the solution for poverty in Africa. This editorial takes into consideration existing research and data, and debunks this claim. The World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund imposed on Africa a neoliberal agenda which exploited natural resources and blocked the creation of a productive middle class. Such policies drained Africa's wealth. More...

* With friends like the IMF and World Bank, who needs loans? (Aug 16) - After combing through three decades of projects in 71 countries, economists at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Western Ontario reached the striking conclusion that there is a causal link between economic failure and the involvement of the IMF and the World Bank. More...

* OTHER GLOBAL TRADE NEWS *

* The Myth of CSR (Nov 11) - Transnational corporations represent the most powerful actors on globalization's scene. Social responsibilities should accompany their economic power. This article argues that initiatives like the United Nations "Global Compact," based on a "voluntary" approach, are not able to guarantee decent human and labor rights standards. Instead, mandatory rules on companies could address this challenge. More...

* Nigeria: New evidence of human rights violations in oil-rich Niger Delta (3 Nov) - Ten years after the execution of writer and human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight fellow activists, new evidence shows that the peoples of Nigeria's oil producing Niger Delta continue to face death and devastation at the hands of the security forces. A report by Amnesty International reveals how poverty-stricken communities, which protest against the actions of companies or are suspected of obstructing oil production, risk collective punishment. More...

* Human rights and corporate contracts - Whose country? (Nov 2005) - A new report from Amnesty International has once again raised the issue of state-investor agreements, shedding light on the sometimes ambiguous legal status of multinational companies operating in the developing world. More...

* UN Ignores Own Standards in Investing $29 Billion Pension Fund (Oct 31) - The United Nations, which urges the world's companies to follow anti-pollution, labor rights and other standards of corporate responsibility, often ignores those aims when investing its own $29 billion employee pension fund. More...

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5) WHAT CAN YOU DO?

* Help stop the privatisation of Ghana’s Water

With your help the Ghana National Coalition against the Privatisation of Water (NCAP) has successfully forced several companies to withdraw their bids on the Ghana water privatisation project AND stalled the project for 4 years.  Now, we are calling on you again to take one more action to stop the final bidding companies from privatising Ghana’s water. Click here to take action and save Ghana's water.

* Email George Bush and help African Farmers

E-mail George Bush and demand he implement the recent legally binding WTO ruling, which will help West African farmers and their families work their way out of poverty. Click here.

* Tell Nestle to End Child Slavery on Cocoa Farms

In addition to being one of the largest chocolate companies in the world, Nestle S.A. is also one of the largest importers of cocoa from regions affected by child slavery. Nestle USA is a subsidiary of Nestle S.A. which through Nestle Cote d'Ivoire owns administrative offices and sales outlet in the Cote d'Ivoire. Click here to fax Nestle USA CEO Joe Weller today and demand they take their responsibility for child slavery on their farms seriously by using fair trade certified cocoa.

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6) WEBSITE OF THE MONTH

* Focus on the Global South
Radical "free-market" economic policies have crippled the state as an agent of development and protector of the community from the vagapoverty-reducing, equitable and sustainable paradigm alternatives that advance the interests of poor and marginalized peoples around the world. Focus on the Global South aims to consciously and consistently articulate, link and develop greater coherence between local community-based and national, regional and global paradigms of change.
http://www.focusweb.org

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7) QUOTE OF THE MONTH

"We live in a globalised world economy, we can’t go back on that . . . what we have to do is out-compete the world. And that means that we must continue with the process of economic [and industrial relations] reform.”
- Prime Minister John Howard


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