south-north development monitor SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4457, Thursday ,17 June 1999


Labour: Clinton wants ILO and WTO to work together (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Trade: Continued impasse over DG choice (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Trade: WTO sets up three panels in disputes (Chakravarthi Raghavan, Geneva)

Trade: MERCOSUR sets deadline for agreement with EU (IPS, Asuncion)

Trade: Maghreb poised to revive North African union (IPS, Rabat)

Panama: Colon duty free zone hurting (IPS, Panama City)

United Nations: Advocates social safety net in Third World (IPS, New York)

China: US damage control mission unlikely to mend ties (IPS, Beijing)

Europe: Not just apathy in left's defeat at EP elections (IPS, Brussels)

Some excerpts from selected articles:

Labour: Clinton wants ILO and WTO to work together

Geneva, 16 June (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- US President Bill Clinton advocated Wednesday the World Trade Organization and the International Labour Organization working together to advance a common goal of working for open trade and ensuring all people are lifted by the global economy.

Addressing the 87th session of the International Labour Conference, Clinton was long on cliches, and short on specifics of solutions:

* globalization is a fact... but people can't be left to sink or swim on their own;
* the financial crisis... shows the global economy ... poses risks;
* the digital revolution is a potentially democratising force;
* open trade is not contrary to interests of working people... but the world over (they) do not believe this.

Earlier, in welcoming Clinton, the first US President to come before the ILO in its 80 odd years history, the ILO Director- General Juan Somavia underlined the need for the main multilateral institutions to work together and propose integrated solutions to address inter-dependent global problems.

Trade: Continued impasse over DG choice

Geneva, 16 June (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The General Council of the World Trade Organization will meet Wednesday afternoon, first informally and then in a formal session, over the selection of a Director-General and discuss the impasse in the consultation process.

An informal meeting late Tuesday evening, which convened after a day-long formal Council meeting on the regular agenda issues that left most members exhausted, was adjourned till Wednesday afternoon, to be followed by a formal meeting.

In a draft text of note circulated in advance to delegations, Chairman Amb. Ali Mchumo of Tanzania in effect told members that either they had the choice of accepting his proposal to elect New Zealand's Mike Moore by consensus or start a new process.

Mchumo indicated at the start of the informal meeting Tuesday evening that he would elaborate on his text, and provide more details.

While Mchumo text itself was not made available to the media, a statement by Mike Moore sent to the media on Tuesday cited from the Mchumo report, and argued that either the membership had the choice of electing Moore by consensus now, or start a new process that may take many months and no guarantee of no further deadlock.

Trade: WTO sets up three panels in disputes

Geneva, 16 June (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The WTO dispute settlement body Wednesday accepted requests for panels in three disputes, and held up reference in three others - where the requests came for the first time.

The three disputes referred to panels included an EU complaint against the US over its trade retaliation measures against the EC over the banana dispute that the US made effective on 3 March, while the WTO authorization itself was given only on 19 April.

Earlier, in a status report on its implementation of the reconvened banana panel's ruling on its import regime, the EC had said that it was weighing the three options open to it and was holding consultations with all the parties before deciding on how to give effect to the ruling. Ecuador complained of a feeling of "disillusionment" and said the EC was stepping out on a dangerous path and not making a serious effort to comply with the ruling. Rather it seemed to be planning a new regime to go into effect in year 2000.

Panama said that the informal contacts with the EC on three options did not give the impression that the EC was seriously planning to implement the ruling. Guatemala also complained that there was no "prompt" compliance as required by the DSB.

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