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Global Trade Watch E-Newsletter #51 - October 2007

 

Contents:

1) News from Global Trade Watch
2) Good News for (a) Change
3) Upcoming Events
4) Take Action!
5) Global Trade News

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1) NEWS FROM GLOBAL TRADE WATCH

* People & Planet: Social Justice & Environment Diary 2008 - For Sale Now!

Looking for a beautiful 2008 diary, or a great Christmas present? Our People & Planet Diary for 2008 is out, and you can buy a copy now here!

People & Planet: Social Justice and Environment Diary 2008 is a gorgeous new diary featuring 55 striking and inspiring full-colour photos of people and places around the world. The photos are accompanied by short, fascinating stories about social and environmental issues. People & Planet is published by GTW in partnership with 34 other Australian social justice and environment organisations, and all proceeds go towards supporting our campaigns. The diary features one week per page, is printed on recycled paper, is slightly larger than A5 in size, and costs just $19.95.

Support Global Trade Watch by buying a copy for yourself, or buy a few copies and give People & Planet as a perfect gift for the festive season! Or take advantage of our SPECIAL OFFER: While stocks last, get a FREE copy of People & Planet when you join Global Trade Watch!

Copies of People & Planet can be ordered for just $19.95 each (+ postage)
- By Credit Card at http://www.tradewatch.org.au/diary
- By post with a cheque or money order: Download a People & Planet 2008 order form here.
- By direct transfer - Email your postal address and how many People & Planet 2008 diaries you'd like to purchase to [email protected], and we'll email you our bank details.

* "Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System" - Join GTW for a chance to win one of 5 free copies!

Stuffed & Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System is an exciting new book from UK author Raj Patel which exposes the extraordinary realities of the global food production and trading system. Ranging across fair trade, GM crops, rising levels of obesity and other health crises, Stuffed & Starved takes us into the supermarket aisles and reveals the stories behind the products in our trolleys, some of them very dark indeed. You can pick up a copy of Stuffed & Starved at your local bookshop, or buy online here: http://www.readings.com.au

But if you'd like a FREE COPY of Stuffed & Starved, thanks to Black Inc Books, Global Trade Watch has 5 copies of the book to give away FREE to our members. So, support fair trading systems by joining Global Trade Watch TODAY (or any day before Friday 2 November) for a chance to win a FREE copy of Stuffed & Starved: http://www.tradewatch.org.au/membership.html

* Corporate Watch Campaign Manager Wanted - Apply Now!

Global Trade Watch is seeking a coordinator for our Corporate Watch Australia project. The project initiates and publishes original research on the environmental, labour, or human rights impacts of Australian corporations and multinational corporations operating in Australia. It also acts as a clearing-house for research and publications by environment groups, development groups, unions and others about the practices of these corporations, and undertakes advocacy on issues of corporate accountability and corporate law reform within Australia. For more info see http://www.corporatewatch.org.au

We're seeking a suitably qualified person to manage the project two days per week, or equivalent hours, in our Melbourne office. If you'd be interested to apply, please download the position description here and send a CV and accompanying cover letter to [email protected]

Applications Close: 5pm, Monday November 5. For questions about the position, please email [email protected]

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2) GOOD NEWS FOR (A) CHANGE

* Nobel laureate praises Chavez's plan for South American bank

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said Wednesday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's plan to create a regional lending bank will be beneficial for South America. The former World Bank economist said the Bank of the South, due to be founded in Caracas next month, is an important initiative aimed at helping boost Latin America's development. "It is a good thing to have competition in most markets, including the market for development lending," the American economist told reporters during an economic forum. He said the World Bank and International Monetary Fund tend to lay down many conditions that "hinder the development effectiveness."

More...

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3) UPCOMING EVENTS

MELBOURNE

* Wed Nov 7th, 6.30 for 7pm - The Environmental Impact of Shipping: Public Lecture - With global shipping trade on track to double by 2030 or earlier and mega-cruise ships calling on protected waters such as the Great Barrier Reef, ocean pollution and global warming emissions from ships and ports are growing at an alarming rate. To combat this increasing threat to oceans, people and the planet, environmentalists from Friends of the Earth are calling for the greening of the world’s ports and merchant fleet. Teri Shore of FoE in California is currently conducting public forums in Australia to talk about the greening of the world's ports and merchant fleets. Teri will point out the mostly unseen, but growing, volumes of air toxics and greenhouse gas emissions from expanding global trade and cruise ship traffic. She recently participated in international negotiations to reduce ship pollution and greenhouse gas emissions – where Australia and the U. S. government attempted to derail any progress. However, in California and Europe, regulations and programs to green ships and ports are requiring cleaner ships, engines and equipment. WHERE: Port Phillip EcoCentre, in St Kilda Botanical Gardens, Cnr Herbert and Blessington Streets, St Kilda [Melway ref. 58 B11]. Organised by Friends of the Earth and Port Phillip EcoCentre. More info: http://www.bluewaternetwork.org

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4) TAKE ACTION!

* Memo to Political Parties: Suspend Trade talks with ASEAN

The recent repression and denial of human rights in Burma is another sad chapter in a country that has been suffering a military dictatorship for the past 20 years. Yet Australia is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - of which Burma is a member - which will give Burma preferential access to Australian markets, and help Australian corporations trade with Burma.

Send a letter to the Minister for Trade, Warren Truss, Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer, and the Shadow Minister for Trade and Regional Development, Simon Crean, calling for a suspension of trade negotiations with ASEAN & Burma! Email them at [email protected] and [email protected]

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5) GLOBAL TRADE NEWS

* BILATERAL & REGIONAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENT NEWS *

* Calls to scrap ASEAN trade deal over Burma (Sept 28) - The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) says the Federal Government should cease Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade negotiations, in line with Burma sanctions. More...

* Israeli deal to boost defence (Sept 26) - A surge in Israeli hi-tech investment and the transfer of world-leading military technology is set to be unleashed next year with the expected sealing of a free trade agreement between Australia and Israel. More...

* Free Trade: The Outbreak We Had to Have (17 Sept) - Australians reeled in shock last month as an outbreak of equine influenza spread to over 119 properties in NSW and more in Queensland. But the weakening of quarantine standards has been the hallmark of the Howard Government. Since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the USA in May 2004, the Government has shifted from a ‘risk prevention’ to ‘risk management’ approach - weakening standards in a host of industries. More...

* WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION NEWS*

* Doha Round looks doomed (Oct 12) - The troubled Doha Round trade negotiations have hit a potentially fatal bump, after 110 developing countries united in rejecting a draft text requiring sharp cuts to their manufacturing tariffs. More...

* Development Underlined in Doha Talks (Oct 11) - Developing countries say they are committed to conclude the languishing Doha round of trade negotiations only on the basis of the "developmental" goals enshrined in the mandate, warning that they will not be cowed down by renewed efforts by the United States to shift the blame for raising constructive proposals. More...

* Afghanistan: rush to WTO membership could endanger development (28 Jun) - A new report from Oxfam says that Afghanistan’s fight against poverty could suffer if it rushes to join the WTO. Joining the WTO too soon may not boost Afghan exports as promised but instead open vulnerable sectors of agriculture and industry to strong foreign competition. More...

* WORLD BANK & INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND NEWS *

* World Bank Chief Vows "Inclusive" Globalisation (Oct 10) - Robert Zoellick, the World Bank president, pledged on Wednesday his agency would ensure that the world's poorest people share in the benefits of economic globalisation. More...

* World Bank accused of razing Congo forests (Oct 4) - The World Bank encouraged foreign companies to destructively log the world's second largest forest, endangering the lives of thousands of Congolese Pygmies, according to a report on an internal investigation by senior bank staff and outside experts. More...

* Critics Press IMF on Social Spending (Oct 4) - When Dominique Strauss-Kahn takes over as head of the IMF next month, he will confront demands for the agency to more actively support health and education spending in the world's poorest countries. More...

* OTHER TRADE & GLOBAL JUSTICE NEWS *

* Subsidies Dip a Little, But Nowhere Near Decline (Oct 23) - Rich countries have failed to carry out reform of their domestic farm subsidies programmes to reduce distortions in global trade, says a senior official of the Paris-based OECD. The subsidies -estimated at 268 billion dollars last year -- penalise competitive farm producing countries in the South. More...

* Republicans Grow Skeptical On Free Trade (Oct 4) - By a nearly two-to-one margin, Republican voters believe free trade is bad for the U.S. economy, a shift in opinion that mirrors Democratic views and suggests trade deals could face high hurdles under a new president. More...

* Why the "Free Trade" Agenda is Losing Steam (Oct 4) - The 2006 Congressional elections were a turning point for US trade policy. One issue that helped Democrats retake the Congress was a renewed sense of distrust among the electorate of our government's trade policy, which is commonly mislabeled as "free trade." More...

* Jack Welch’s Barge: The New Economics of Trade (Oct 1) - The classical theory of comparative advantage has driven US trade policy for the past fifty years. That policy, in combination with technical innovations that have lowered costs of transportation and communication, has opened the global economy. Yet paradoxically, this opening has rendered classical trade theory obsolete. More...

* Protecting the global poor (July 2007) - Almost all rich countries got wealthy by protecting infant industries and limiting foreign investment. But these countries are now denying poor ones the same chance to grow by forcing free-trade rules on them before they are strong enough. More...

* Second thoughts on globalisation (29 Jun) - For more than two decades, policymakers in much of the world have pursued pro-globalisation polices. The result has been a wealthier and more dynamic global economy. Yet today, significant parts of the developed world are having second thoughts about the benefits of globalisation, with many of the doubts prompted by the globalisation-powered rise of China and India. Full Report...

* Cheap imports 'to shrink' food industry (Jul 24) - Cheap food imports could strip 20 per cent from Victoria's agri-food sector in the next 10 years, an industry expert says. A study, involving interviews with 160 Victorian-based food producers, found food processors could import raw product more cheaply from developing countries than local growers could supply it. More...


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