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Global Trade Watch E-Newsletter #56 - December 2008


1) News from Global Trade Watch
2) Upcoming Events
4) Take Action!



* Happy Holidays from GTW!

This is our last e-news for 2008, so we'd like to send our best wishes to all our subscribers and supporters for Christmas and the festive season!

It's been an exciting year, with big change coming to the US government, the global financial system falling in a heap, and questions about whether globalisation in its current form will survive.

Here at GTW we're hoping that the new year brings with it progress on the things that matter to most of the world's population - enough food, clean water, decent work, housing and healthcare and a sustainable environment to live in.  We're all too aware how many billion people around the world - and even in prosperous Australia - still lack these basic human rights, and how an unjust and unfair global economic system is one of the key reasons for this. 

We're hoping a new Obama administration will bring with it a commitment to working with the rest of the world on making the global economic system fair and sustainable - including signing a strong new global agreement which commits the US to significant cuts in its massive and destructive greenhouse gas emissions.

We're taking a break over January, but we'll be back in February with all the news on trade and global justice from around the world.

Until then, don't forget to check out our Rethinking Globalisation Blog.

All the best for the new year!


* Recent Posts at our Rethinking Globalisation Blog -

Obama Picks Ron Kirk as Trade Representative
The incoming Obama administration has annouced that Ron Kirk will be the new US Trade Representative. More...

Asian Monetary Fund?
Apparently the 10 countries of ASEAN are ready to set up an Asian Monetary Fund - an idea which has been floating around since the 1997-8 Asian Financial Crisis. More...

Out of (South) Africa
Johanesburg’s The Times has a great article this week looking at the way that the IMF & World Bank have influenced the policies of post-aparteid South Africa. More...

FTAs Badly Failing Australia
The Australian Parliamentary Library has released a Background Note analysing Australia’s bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which shows how clearly destructive they have been. More...

Globalisation & the Decline of the Welfare State
Dani Rodrik points to some interesting economic research which "suggests that as technological progress and multilateral trade liberalisation have made borders less of a barrier to economic activity, the scope of redistribution policies has become smaller." More...

Do tariffs matter any more?
Martin Feil has an interesting article in The Age today criticising “free trade” as not particularly free. More...

Alcoa argues for interests of “future generations” to take precedence over exports
What is the world coming to?  It was reported today that Alan Cransberg, chairman of the Australian arm of the mutlinational aluminium producer Alcoa, said that "For too long we have been focused on expanding and maximising energy exports, without proper protection for our own future generations." More...

Australia-Chile FTA passes parliament
The implementing legislation for the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement - Customs Amendment (Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation) Act 2008 - passed the Australian Senate yesterday. More...

First signs from Obama not looking promising on trade
The first signs on what Obama’s policies on the global economy might look like are not encouraging at all. More...

What will trade policy under Obama look like?
Yesterday was a truly momentous day not just for the US, but for the world. More...


* Understanding Globalisation: A Short Course, March 23 - May 25, 2009 MELBOURNE

Global Trade Watch would like to announce the return of our exciting short course for people interested to learn more about globalisation, global economics and their impacts on people and the environment.

Understanding Globalisation is a 10-week course which examines the agreements, institutions and philosophies of the global economic system in an approachable, easy-to-follow way. Taking an Australian and global perspective, Understanding Globalisation brings together Australian and international experts in politics, economics, law and development to support participants in exploring the complexities of globalisation.

Through lectures, workshops and other activities, the course examines the relationships between the global economy and broader social and environmental issues, and equips participants to track future developments in globalisation and the global economic system.

The course will run in Melbourne (Carlton) on Monday evenings from March 23 to May 25 2009.

Registration for the course will open in January - email us to express interest.


* People & Planet: Social Justice & Environment Diary 2009

GTW still has copies of our 2009 People & Planet diary, which features 55 exceptional photos of people and places around the world, accompanied by short, fascinating stories about social and environmental issues.

People & Planet raises funds for Global Trade Watch – every dollar goes towards our work promoting a just, sustainable world.

People & Planet is a "must-have" diary for 2009, so please consider supporting us by buying a copy or two!

You can buy copies of People & Planet 2009 for just $19.95 each +p&h – or support Global Trade Watch by becoming a member, and receive a copy of People & Planet 2009 FREE!

View an excerpt from the diary here.

Or buy your copy of People & Planet: Social Justice & Environment Diary 2009 here.


* Positions Available

The Fair Trade Association of Australia & NZ is advertising for for 2 new staff.

Positions available are a Business Development Officer and a Marketing & Communications Officer.  Applications close 9 January 2009 and you can find links to position descriptions here.





* 2009: Understanding Globalisation: A Short Course on International Trade, People & Global Justice - Monday evenings from March 23 to May 25 2009

Understanding Globalisation is a 10-week course which examines the agreements, institutions and philosophies of the global economic system in an approachable, easy-to-follow way. Taking an Australian and global perspective, Understanding Globalisation brings together 19 Australian and international experts in politics, economics, law and development to support participants in exploring the complexities of globalisation. In 2009, Understanding Globalisation will run in Melboure on Monday evenings from March to May. Please email us if you'd like to express interest for the 2009 course.



* Did you know that over 40,000 people from Bangladesh are at risk of losing their homes at the hands of a UK company?

Global Coal Management - based in their cosy office in London - are pushing through plans to build an open cast mine in Phulbari, Bangladesh. A mine that will destroy the homes of more than 40,000 people, and threaten the water supply of a further 100,000. The people of Bangladesh are protesting against this new mine and are now urging us to do the same. Please send an email to the director of GCM Steve Bywater to demand that they pull out of this project.


* Tell ANZ to clean up their act!

Oxfam Australia is calling on ANZ Bank to clean up its act after Oxfam's Mining Ombudsman found that the bank funded a gold mine on Rapu Rapu Island in the Philippines which contaminated local waterways and crippled communities dependent on fishing for their livelihoods. Oxfam found that ANZ and the other financiers did not properly consider and avoid the potential social and environmental risks associated with the mine. ANZ also failed to respond when local communities made it clear that the mine was having significant detrimental social and environmental impacts. Make your voice heard.


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