south-north development monitor - SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4400
Tuesday, 23 March 1999


Trade: WTO DG race narrowed to two (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Trade: US vs EC - after bananas, hormone-beef? (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Trade: Canadian business complains about NAFTA (IPS, Ottawa)

United States: Reinforcing fortress America (IPS, Washington)

United States: Former Secretaries want Washington to pay UN (IPS, Washington)

Labour: Transfer of jobs to North increases poverty in South (IPS, Rio de Janeiro)

Finance: African Ministers endorse Clinton's debt plan (IPS, Washington)

Africa: Millions to remain unemployed, unless economy picks up (IPS, Nairobi)

Excerpts from some selected articles:

Trade: WTO DG race narrowed to two

Geneva, 22 Mar (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The candidature of Hassan Abouyoub of Morocco for the post of the WTO Director-General has been withdrawn by the government of the Royal Kingdom of Morocco.

This effectively leaves the race for the top post between the Thai Deputy Prime Minister Supachai and the New Zealand candidate, Mike Moore who is strongly backed by the US.

At last count, on first and second preferences, Supachai was leading and if, as indicated by the Moroccan announcement, Abouyoub's supporters throw their weight behind Supachai, the Thai should be chosen, unless the US comes out into the open to veto it. Whether it will provoke some others into vetoing Moore is not clear.

Some trade diplomats said that the possibility of the US applying political pressure on supporters of Abouyoub to support now Moore should not be under-estimated either.

While the General Council Chairman, Ali Mchumo of Tanzania at the last consultation virtually eliminated the Canadian candidate, MacLaren from the race, the Canadians have not withdrawn his candidacy. According to some trade diplomats, Canada hopes that he could emerge as a compromise if Supachai and Moore are both eliminated by the veto of one or other major trading nations.

Trade: US vs EC - after bananas, hormone-beef?

Geneva, 22 Mar (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The Council of Ministers of the European Union have asked the Commission to negotiate with the US and find an accord on offering "compensation" to the US (and Canada) over the dispute on the ban against hormone-treated beef imports, as an interim measure pending the completion of its scientific studies on effects of hormone-beef on human, animal health.

Under the WTO's ruling, and a further decision by arbitrators on a reasonable period for compliance, the EC has time till 13 May to comply. Immediately after the ruling, the EC set in motion further scientific studies for assessment on hormone-treated beef.

These studies are now unlikely to be ready by the 13 May deadline.

According to some reports, some of the initial findings, have not cleared hormone-treated beef as free from potential health hazards, but that the issue needs further study and assessment.

The US and EC meanwhile have been holding bilateral talks.

In these talks, the EC officials appear to have suggested a labelling scheme to clearly identify at point of sale the beef from hormone-treated cattle as such, so that consumers could make an informed choice. But the US offered to have the beef exported by it labelled as of "US origin", and not as "hormone-treated" beef, arguing that the consumers knew that US cattle were raised on growth-hormones and hence it would not be necessary to further identify it.

This has not proved acceptable to the EC.


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