Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Alerts from WTO General Council Meeting!

Wow, something interesting happened in Geneva.

According to the Third World Network (TWN) Info Service, WTO officials at a media briefing on Monday 26 July indicated that after the General Council suspends sitting on Tuesday morning, it will reconvene late on Friday to formally take a decision on the July package. In between, there will be informal meetings. A revised version of the draft text of the July package is to be made available on Wednesday, and between then and the time the General Council reconvenes, there will be a series of consultations among delegates to deal with persisting divergencies among delegates in the four issues covered by the text.

For the Oxfam, they also released the briefing paper entitled with "One Minute to Midnight: Will WTO negotiations in July deliver a meaningful agreement?". For your information, it will be interesting to follow the update of the progress.

According to Walden Bello, from the Focus for the Global South, the July Framework has to be rejected due to the 4 reasons:

1. The Framework for Agriculture is simply an exercise to devise increasingly intricate mechanisms to accommodate the United States and European Unionî–¸ efforts to maintain the high levels of subsidization of their agricultural interests behind a smokescreen of vague promises to address the concerns of developing countries.

2. The Framework for Market Access for Non-Agricultural Products (NAMA) simply reproduces a text rejected in Cancun by the developing countries since it amounts to nothing less than a prescription for their deindustrialization.

3. The Framework on Trade Facilitation is nothing but a stubborn effort on the part of the trading powers to keep alive an issue that lacks the necessary explicit consensus of all members to be a subject of negotiation.

4. Lip service is paid to the main concerns of developing countries, specifically, the cotton issue, special and differential treatment, development, and implementation, but they are actually treated as secondary issues the negotiation of which is consigned to future negotiations and left in the air.

The ASA always very critical to the WTO and other international institution who only served the benefits of the developed or rich cooperates. The economic justice in this world will be sacrificed with the existance of the WTO.

Now the ASA also actively participate in the Hong Kong local organization with the local mobilization works. We hope that more people in Hong Kong will know more about the WTO and its impacts on the people life.