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Voice of America, 99-12-04

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] WTO - NGO RESPONSE (L) BY MIKE O'SULLIVAN (SEATTLE)
  • [02] TWO-TRADE TALKS (L-2ND UPDATE)CQ BY AMY BICKERS (SEATTLE)
  • [03] WTO TALKS FROZEN (L) BY AMY BICKERS (SEATTLE)
  • [04] WTO TALKS FROZEN (L-UPDATE) BY AMY BICKERS (SEATTLE)

  • [01] WTO - NGO RESPONSE (L) BY MIKE O'SULLIVAN (SEATTLE)

    DATE=12/4/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256833
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: As international trade talks grind to a halt in Seattle, environmentalists and others blame suspension of the talks on a lack of openness by world trade officials. V-O-A's Mike O'Sullivan reports on reaction among non-government organizations.(NGO'S)

    TEXT: Chief U-S negotiator Charlene Barshefsky and other Western delegates expressed disappointment Friday at the suspension. They say the groundwork was laid for a future round of international trade talks. But representatives of many N-G-Os had complained bitterly of a lack of openness in the world trade body. And for them, suspension was the victory they had hoped for. Brent Blackwelder is president of the environmental group Friends of the Earth.

    /// BRENT BLACKWELDER ACT ///

    This gives you an indication that trade is not something to be left just to trade bureaucrats behind closed doors in secret procedures. People demand openness. We support democratic institutions. We are not going to allow the economy of this world to be run behind closed doors.

    /// END ACT ///

    The representative of another N-G-O says freezing of the talks is a signal the World Trade Organization is badly in need of reform. Victoria Tabuli Corpuz represents an indigenous people's group in the Philippines.

    /// CORPUZ ACT ///

    It's about time that those who have been disadvantaged should assert that this is not something that is working for their interests, and therefore the rules should be changed, or the body or the system should become more democratic.

    /// END ACT ///

    After Friday's suspension of talks, W-T-O officials promised there will be changes to ensure greater openness and to find creative ways to bridge differences in the future. (Signed)
    NEB/MO/PLM 04-Dec-1999 05:29 AM EDT (04-Dec-1999 1029 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] TWO-TRADE TALKS (L-2ND UPDATE)CQ BY AMY BICKERS (SEATTLE)

    DATE=12/3/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256824
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    //Editors: updating to show the trade ministers are working past the Friday night deadline toward a deal on trade liberalization. The first sentence in the intro. has been changed and the last sentence of the text has been eliminated.//

    INTRO: Delegates of the World Trade Organization, meeting in Seattle on the last night of their conference, are trying to reach a deal on the next wave of trade liberalization. Agriculture remains a crucial issue and the source of great conflict. As Amy Bickers reports, it appears that European and Japanese officials have made some concessions in this area.

    TEXT: According to a draft version of the trade ministers' declaration obtained by The Voice of America, The European Union and Japan have backed down on their position on farm subsidies, agreeing to reduce but not to elminate them outright Washington and the Australian-led Cairns (A city in Australia) group of farm products exporters have pushed for an end to agricultural subsidies and freer trade in the sector. But Japan, the E-U and their allies say that farm goods have a special status which is different from industrial goods. European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy say agriculture's distinct role in preserving food security, the environment and rural life should be recognised and kept intact.

    ///LAMY ACT ///

    We care about our farmers. We do not want the seven million farmers of Europe to disappear because they do not have a number of compartive advanatges which other countries have. So, we believe that agriculture is not only about food production. It also have other functions.

    /// END ACT ///

    According to the 14-page draft document, cutting trade barriers in agriculture, as well manufactured goods and services will be part of a new round of global trade talks to be launched at the turn of the century. The draft also heralds a new initiative to improve trade prospects for the poorest W-T-O members. It gives them longer periods for adjusting to W-T-O rules and encourages membership in the trade rules body for poor countries which have not yet joined . But many developing nations remain unsatisfied. A group of Latin American and Caribbean countries have distributed a draft communique declaring that powerful nations excluded them from important negotiation sessions. They also note their surprise and anger at what they call a lack of concern for the security of their delegations. Some delegates were accosted by anti W-T-O protestors earlier this week and many more were trapped in hotels on the first day of the meeting.(Signed)
    NEB/WTW/PT 03-Dec-1999 22:27 PM EDT (04-Dec-1999 0327 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] WTO TALKS FROZEN (L) BY AMY BICKERS (SEATTLE)

    DATE=12/4/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256828
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Delegates to the global trade gathering in (The Pacific Northwest city of) Seattle say the talks have ended without the agreement that was hoped for. As Amy Bickers reports from the meeting, officials say trade ministers remains deeply divided on a number of issues.

    TEXT: Trade officials say talks to launch a new round of global trade liberalization ground to a halt and trade ministers say they could reconvene next year in Geneva where the World Trade Organization is headquartered. Officials confirmed the impasse as they left a closed- door session of the W-T-O's 135 members. European Union Trade Spokesman Anthony Gooch says E-U delegates are disappointed.

    /// GOOCH ACT ///

    We were starting from scratch. The Geneva process did not provide what we expected and hoped it would and we have come here with a steep mountain to climb. At the end of the day that mountain has proved a bit too steep.

    /// END ACT ///

    Canada's Agriculture Minister says the talks are frozen for the present. Canadian Trade Minster Pierre Pettigrew acknowledges the impasse but says it does not mark a failure.

    /// PETTIGREW ACT ///

    I am saying that this is not a real failure. We have made progress. These progresses are locked in. They're frozen. They will be the basis for further work. We are all committed to the improvement and the strengthening of the world trade organization because we deeply believe that the rules based system is important for growth.

    /// END ACT ///

    An official from the U-S Agriculture Department says talks fell apart over export subsidies and that there was no consensus on cutting trade barriers in farm products. Officials from African countries say disagreements over including international labor standards in trade policy was also a major source of conflict.(Signed)
    NEB/AB/PLM 04-Dec-1999 02:56 AM EDT (04-Dec-1999 0756 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] WTO TALKS FROZEN (L-UPDATE) BY AMY BICKERS (SEATTLE)

    DATE=12/4/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256834
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle has failed to reach its goal of launching a new millennium round of trade liberalization talks. As Amy Bickers reports, trade ministers say they are disappointed but hopeful that they will resume further discussions in the future.

    TEXT: Trade ministers told reporters late Friday that the efforts to create an agenda for the next trade round had failed and that they had agreed to freeze discussions for the present time. They said a number of complex issues had prevented a deal, including the controversial issues of lowering trade barriers in agriculture and revising anti-dumping laws. U-S Trade Representative Charlene Barshevsky told delegates that substantial progress was made in many areas but that remaining issues were highly complicated and could not be overcome quickly. She also reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the trade rules-body, and said that U-S officials had demonstrated commitment and flexibility in the talks.

    /// BARSHEVSKY ACT ///

    The United States came to this conference, decided to chair and host the conference, the President of the United States came to the conference, all with the intention that the round should be launched. There has never been a question about the commitment nor has there ever been any wavering of any sort in the U-S intention to participate in the launch of a new global round.

    /// END ACT ///

    Ms. Barshevsky told a packed news conference that W-T- O Director-General Mike Moore would consult with the 135 W-T-O members to try to work through the remaining differences with the goal of reconvening the meeting of ministers at a future date, most likely in Geneva where the W-T-O is based. European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy told reporters that he welcomed this decision, and also said that the W-T-O's negotiation procedures needed to be reconsidered and possibly changed.

    /// LAMY ACT ///

    We believe it has to be reassessed, reviewed, refurbished and maybe rebuilt. The problem of combining efficiency and transparency is extremely common in modern institutions. The W-T-O obviously does not have today the institutional strength, the culture, or the procedures to do this right.

    /// END ACT ///

    Throughout the conference, developing countries expressed great dissatisfaction with the procedures, saying that they were left out of the most important meetings. They also said political issues in the United States, The European Union and Japan were interfering with trade policy. A Thai delegate said the United States was an advocate on too many issues to bring about the necessary compromises. An Australian trade official said that a lack of unity within the European Union and the upcoming U-S presidential election had damaged political support for a new trade round. Some of the many thousands of protestors who demonstrated during the trade conference say they are relieved that the talks have been suspended. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AB/PLM 04-Dec-1999 05:50 AM EDT (04-Dec-1999 1050 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America
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