south-north development monitor SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4428, Tuesday 4 May 1999


Trade: WTO headless, deeply divided by manipulative process (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Asia: AsDB defends generosity, cure for region (IPS, Manila)

Yugoslavia: Smart propaganda bombing 'Truth' (IPS, Bangkok)

Excerpts from some selected articles:

Trade: WTO is headless, deeply divided by manipulative process

Geneva 3 May (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- After two prolonged formal meetings of the General Council, on 30 April and 1 May, the World Trade Organization remains "headless".

A proposal from General Council Chairman Ali Mchumo and facilitator Swiss envoy William Rossier for electing Michael Moore of New Zealand by consensus met with objections and a demand for vote, and the council meeting was adjourned Saturday night amidst some acrimony, to meet again on 3 May.

But US attempts to create a "crisis atmosphere", by forcing all meetings not to convene, or those that met to be closed without any business being transacted, failed. Both the meeting of the subsidies committee Monday morning, and a resumed meeting of the Committee on Regional Trade Arrangements (CRTA), which began on 29 April, did resume and did take place.

In the subsidies committee meeting, the US speaking at the adoption of the agenda said the meeting could not take place as the "WTO clock" had been stopped as of 1 May evening. But the Mexican ambassador countered that the clock had been stopped till 10 am on Monday, when the Council was to resume. But with the Council meeting put off, "the clocks have moved forward". A US representative then cited rule 20 of the rules of procedure for "closing the meeting" without doing any business, whereupon Brazil (in the chair) read the rules, which called for one on either side of such a proposition speaking and the issue being put to vote. With many flags raised against the move, the subsidies committee decided to continue. At the CRTA (where the meeting had begun last Thursday) the US move again failed.

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