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south-north development monitor - SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4398
Friday, 18 March 1999


contents

Trade: WTO top job choice narrowing down (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Trade: Development symposium widens gaps (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Development: NGOs denounce 'chair' at WTO symposium (TWN, Geneva)

Agriculture: NGOs protest WIPO-WTO moves on UPOV at Bangkok (TWN, Bangkok)

Caribbean: Feeling effects of softened global markets (IPS, Kingston)

Development: Landless Brazilians challenge World Bank (IPS, Washington)


Excerpts from some selected articles:

Trade: WTO top job choice narrowing down

Geneva, 18 Mar (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- Members of the World Trade Organization were advised Wednesday evening that the race for the top job at the WTO had narrowed down with the Thai candidate, Dr. Supachai, in the lead and the New Zealander, Mike Moore having a level of support "very near" to that of Supachai.

The Moroccan candidate, Abouyboub had a level of support below that of Moore, and that as advised earlier, there was no possibility of promoting a consensus around the fourth candidate, MacLaren of Canada.

In advising the WTO General Council of this latest assessment on the basis of further consultations by the facilitator, Amb. Rossier of Switzerland and the Chairman of the General Council, Tanazania's Ali Mchumo, said the assessments were based on support to individuals on first and second preferences, the candidate with the least opposition and the extent of geographical spread, and the indications from some of the change in their original positions.

Mchumo had advised the members by a circular about the situation of MacLaren and that further consultations would be in the light of this situation, namely, getting MacLaren out of the count.

The Canadian representative however demurred with this, and conveyed to the General Council his country's position (of not withdrawing MacLaren's candidacy and his continued availability, presumably if the other three are vetoed by one or the other members).

Trade: Development symposium widens gaps

Geneva, 18 March (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The WTO's Trade and Development Symposium and WTO efforts to open a dialogue for trade liberalization with development oriented NGOs of North and South probably ended up Wednesday evening by widening the gap between the Washington-Brussels establishments and developing countries and NGOs.

This outcome undid the efforts of the WTO head Mr. Renato Ruggiero, and even more that of the UNCTAD Secretary-General Rubens Ricupero, in his efforts to promote a new round with a positive agenda - and perhaps went some way to strengthen the view of grassroots NGOs who see the WTO as an "illegitimate and undemocratic" institution, run by and for the interests of the major industrial nations and their corporations.

This outcome was mainly the result of the way a session of "Linkages between Trade and Development Policies" was organized and run -- with an overload of invited speakers promoting the launching of the new Round with the issues that the North wants, and a Chairman of the session, Mr. Paul Collier (Director of the Development Research Group at the World Bank), who provided more time to favour those who supported this view and cut short the few dissonant discussants, and capped it with a partisan summing up in a hectoring tone to Africans, and an even worse exchange afterwards with some NGOs.

And Collier got ample help from Fred Bergsten, who presented some shop-worn arguments pitting multilateral liberalization against liberalization through regional pacts which would leave developing countries behind, and asking developing countries to agree to a new round and meet new demands lest the US become protectionist and renege on existing commitments such as on textiles and clothing (where all GATT derogations are to be finally phased out by 2005), and against bringing up anti-dumping questions in the new round, since the US won't agree and prevent ratification.

Development: NGOS denounce 'chair' at WTO symposium

Geneva, March 18 (TWN) -- More than 20 NGOs, both from industrialized and developing countries Thursday took strong exception to 'insulting' remarks made Wednesday by a panel chairman at the WTO High Level Symposium on Trade and Development.

The joint statement by the NGOs expressed outrage at the manner in which the session on "Linkages between trade and development policies" was conducted by the chairperson Mr Paul Collier (Director, Development Research Group, World Bank) as well as the content of his concluding remarks.

The NGOs said that during the session, Mr Collier gave more than ample time for the main speaker (Mr Fred Bergsten) and the first discussant (Dr Keith Bezanson) but indicated time was up for Prof. Wontak Hong from Korea and Prof. Deepak Nayyar from India (even though they had spoken for a shorter length of time).

This caused a tense exchange between the chairman and Prof. Deepak Nayyar, who protested that he was not being treated equitably. After this protest, Prof. Deepak continued speaking.

Towards the end of the session, Collier had made a lengthy concluding speech in which he mainly presented his own views instead of the customary practice of providing a chairman's summary of the proceedings, the NGOs complained.

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