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BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 2, Number 44




BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 2, Number 44    November 16, 1998
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EVENTS & RESOURCES

EVENTS

WTO MEETINGS

16-18 November 1998: Textiles Monitoring Body.
 For information, contact Luis Ople, WTO, tel: (41) 22 739 5374.

17-19 November 1998: Competition Policy Working Group.
 For information, contact Hans-Peter Werner, WTO, tel: (41) 22 739 5286.

17-19 November 1998: Agriculture Committee.
 For information, contact Hans-Peter Ungphakorn, WTO, tel: (41) 22 739
5412.

18 November 1998: Informal Meeting of Heads of Delegation concerning the
High-Level Dialogues on Trade & Development and Trade & Environment.
 For information, contact Keith Rockwell, WTO, tel: (41) 22 739 5007.

20 November 1998: Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.
 For information, contact Luis Ople as above.

20 November 1998: Information Technology Agreement.
 For information, contact Luis Ople as above.

20 November 1998: Informal Meeting concerning the Dispute Settlement
Understanding Review.
 For information, contact Nuch Nazeer, WTO, tel: (41) 22 739 5393.

23-24 November 1998: 2nd Informal Inter-sessional Meeting of the General
Council. Delegates will discuss negotiations already mandated, future work
of the WTO, and issues raised at the 1st Informal Inter- sessional
Meeting.
 For information, contact Nuch Nazeer, as above.

OTHER MEETINGS

* * CHANGE OF DATES * * REGIONAL AGREEMENTS, TRADE AND SUSTAINABILITY:
This conference, organised by the International Centre for Trade and
Sustainable Development (ICTSD), and previously scheduled for 3-4 December
1998 has been rescheduled for 1-2 February 1999.
 For information, contact Miguel Jimenez-Pont, ICTSD, 13 chemin des
Anemones, 1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland; tel: (41) 22 917 8478;
fax: (41) 22 917 8093; email: mjimenez@ictsd.ch

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT AT THE WTO, 20 November 1998, 9h30-12h00, Geneva
Executive Centre, 13 chemin des Anemones, 1219 Chatelaine, Geneva.
Gabrielle Marceau from the WTO Legal Affairs Division will be the speaker
at this 'Cafe & Croissants', organised by ICTSD.
 For information, contact Miguel Jimenez-Pont, ICTSD, as above.

TRADE, INVESTMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, 24 November 1998,
Johannesburg, South Africa. This event is co-organised by the Industrial
Environmental Forum of Southern Africa (IEF) and the World Business
Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
 For information, contact Karin Ireton, IEF, tel: (27) 11 800 2687, fax:
(27) 11 800 4360, email: karin.ireton@eskom.co.za

NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: PROPERTY RIGHTS, INSTITUTIONS AND MARKETS,
26 November 1998, Paris, France. This day of discussions is being
organised by Solagral.
 For information, contact Sophie Nogri, Solagral, Paris, fax: (33) 1 4394
7336, email: nogre@solagral.asso.fr

ACHIEVEMENTS AND PROSPECTS FOR THE ACTION PLAN ADOPTED BY THE HIGH- LEVEL
MEETING ON INTEGRATED INITIATIVES OF LDCs' TRADE DEVELOPMENT, 26 November
1998, 9h00-11h00, Geneva Executive Centre, 13 chemin des Anemones, 1219
Chatelaine, Geneva. Hans Henrik Bruun (Permanent Mission of Denmark to the
UN, Chair of the WTO Subcommittee on Least Developed Countries) will be
the guest speaker at this 'Cafe & Croissants.'
 For information, contact Miguel Jimenez-Pont, ICTSD, as above.

PROSPECTS FOR THE WTO HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE ON TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT, 3
December 1998, 9h00-11h00, Geneva Executive Centre, 13 chemin des
Anemones, 1219 Chatelaine, Geneva. Ian Wilkinson from the Permanent
Delegation of the European Communities to the WTO will be the speaker at
this 'Cafe & Croissants.'
 For information, contact Miguel Jimenez- Pont, ICTSD, as above.

TRADE, INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT: A SECOND LOOK AT THE CARIBBEAN, 10
December 1998, Miami, USA. This panel discussion will focus on the type of
investments which can make a difference in quality of life in the
Caribbean.
 For information, contact North-South Centre, P.O. Box 248205, Coral
Gables, Florida 33124-3027, USA; tel: (1) 305 284 6868; fax: (1) 305 284
6370; web: www.miami.edu/nsc/Welcome.html

4TH INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS EXPO -- IBE '99, 21 April 1999, New York, USA.
With particular emphasis on expanding trade contacts and overseas sales,
IBE'99 will highlight the range of services available to companies and
individuals engaged in international trade.
 For information, contact Stephen Flink at World Trade, tel: (1) 212 768
3032, fax: (1) 212 768 3028, email: stephen_flink@link.freedom.com or
Peter Robinson at Assist International, tel: (1) 212 725 3311, fax: (1)
212 725 3312, email: robinson@assist-intl.com

RESOURCES

"Biotechnology for Crop Protection: Its Potential for Developing
Countries," German Foundation for International Development, 1998, 304 pp.
To order, contact German Foundation for International Development,
Postfach 20, 82336 Feldafing, Germany; tel: (49) 8157 938 113; fax: (49)
8157 938 777; email: zel@zelfe.dse.de

"Manual for Assessing Ecological and Human Health Effects of Genetically
Engineered Organisms," Scientists Working Group on Biosafety, 1998.
 To order, contact The Edmonds Institute, 20319 92nd Ave. West, Edmonds,
WA, 98020, USA; tel: (1) 425 775 5383; fax: (1) 425 670 8410; email:
beb@igc.apc.org

"Intellectual Property Rights and Biodiversity: The Economic Myths,"
Global Trade and Biodiversity in Conflict, Issue No. 3, October 1998, 16
pp.
 Copies available for free from Gaia Foundation, 18 Well Walk, Hampstead,
London NW3 1LD, UK; tel: (44) 171 435 5000; fax: (44) 171 431 0551; email:
gaia@gaianet.org.
 Also downloadable from: www.grain.org/publications/gtbc/issue3.htm

"Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development: A Briefing Manuel," World
Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), draft, June 1998, 48
pp.
 To order, contact WBCSD, 160 route de Florissant, 1231 Conches, Geneva,
Switzerland; tel: (41) 22 839 3100; fax: (41) 22 839 3131.





Table of Contents                           

- Climate Change Meeting Ends
- EU-US Banana War Heats Up
- APEC Moves Liberalisation Talks To WTO
- European Commission and NGOs Dialogue on the Millenium Round
- UNCTAD Meeting Promotes Private Sector Involvement
- Meaty Trade Issues
- Exporters Oppose Basel Liability Protocol
- In Brief
- WTO In Brief


CLIMATE CHANGE MEETING ENDS

The Fourth Conference of the Parties (COP-4) to the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change came to a dramatic conclusion as delegates
from 163 countries adopted--in the early hours of Saturday, the "Buenos
Aires Action Plan," (BAAP) which sets a deadline of the year 2000 to
complete work on mechanisms for controlling global warming.

The BAAP work plan includes a 2000 deadline on areas critical to Kyoto
Protocol implementation. These include: 1) Financial mechanisms which will
assist the developing world to respond to the demands of a changing
climate; 2) Further work on mitigation policies and measures; 3)
Development and transfer of technologies; 4) Rules governing the Kyoto
Mechanisms with priority given to the Clean Development Mechanism, and 5)
An undertaking to discuss supplementarity, ceilings, long term convergence
and equity with respect to Kyoto mechanisms.

The Kyoto Protocol--adopted in December 1997 but not yet in force,
requires industrial nations to collectively reduce greenhouse gas
emissions to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. The Protocol allows
countries to meet some of their reductions by purchasing unused greenhouse
gas allowances from other industrialised nations. The Protocol also
established a system for trading in greenhouse gases.

Two significant developments preceded the adoption of the BAAP. First,
Argentina announced its intention to commit to a voluntary emissions
reduction plan at the next COP meeting (COP-5), breaking ranks with the
developing world to become the first developing nation to make this
commitment. Second, perhaps encouraged by Argentina's decision, the U.S.
signed on to the Kyoto Protocol, surprising many observers. Domestic
critics of U.S. support for the Kyoto Protocol immediately spoke out
against the U.S. signing, arguing that the U.S. Senate had already passed
a resolution against the U.S. becoming party to a protocol that does not
include legally binding commitments for developing countries. Argentina's
announcement could help deflate domestic opposition to Kyoto ratification.
U.S. officials noted that other developing countries were expected to
follow Argentina's lead, citing specifically the small island states of
Niue and Nauru, while some African and Latin American countries were
reportedly intrigued by the Argentine approach.

A major issue on the agenda last week were the so-called flexible
mechanisms; e.g. emissions trading and technology transfer schemes, that
countries could use to meet their emissions reductions goals. This area
was expected to offer the greatest opportunity for developing countries to
leverage their collective strength and extract concessions from rich
countries. A key issue in this area is the "Clean Development Mechanism"
(CDM), which would establish a concrete platform for emission reduction
co-operation between developed and developing countries. The CDM is
supposed to transfer money and technology to developing nations to fund
energy efficiency, resulting in cost- efficient greenhouse gas reductions.

Ultimately developing countries won agreement, expressed within the BAAP,
that work around CDM would be given priority. (A decision was also made to
refer to "flexible mechanisms" henceforth as "Kyoto mechanisms.")

The BAAP calls for a 2000 deadline on discerning to what extent Kyoto
Mechanisms could be utilised by industrialised countries to meet emissions
reduction goals. This is a divisive issue between the U.S. and other major
countries. The U.S. does not want a cap, but others, including the EU and
developing economies, argue for the prudent use of mechanisms keeping in
mind the goals of the Kyoto Protocol. "The Kyoto mechanisms can make an
important contribution to meeting our commitments," EU Environment
Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard told COP-4 delegates. "But only if the
principles governing their use are subject to strict rules on
certification, monitoring, accountability and compliance in a nutshell 'no
tracking, no trading.' We need to know what we are doing. We cannot accept
trading that produces no environmental benefit," Ms. Bjerregaard said.

Environmental groups expressed disappointment over the tone of COP-4
negotiations and the content of the BAAP. "This is turning into a trade
and economic negotiation--climate is getting pushed further and further
down the agenda," a Greenpeace statement said. "The urgency of averting
dangerous climate change has been lost in Buenos Aires inaction plan,"
according to Friends of the Earth.

COP-5, the subsequent round of climate talks, is scheduled for November
1999.

 "Climate Change Action Plan Adopted," ENS, November 16, 1998;
 "Climate: greenhouse gas deadline pact," FINANCIAL TIMES, November 16,
1998;
 "Highlights from the Fourth UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (Summary
Report)," EARTH NEGOTIATIONS BULLETIN, November 16, 1998;
 "Climate: slow progress at global meet," IPS, November 9, 1998;
 "Menem pledges curbs on greenhouse gases," FINANCIAL TIMES, November 12,
1998;
 "Rechauffement climatique: les etats en froid," LIBERATION, November 10,
1998.






EU-US BANANA WAR HEATS UP

The EU last week warned that it will bring a complaint to the WTO against
the U.S. if the U.S. follows through with its threat to slap a 100 percent
duty on certain EU exports in retaliation for (what the U.S. argues is) an
EU failure to comply with a WTO ruling against its banana import regime.
(See BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest, Vol. 2, Number 41, October 26, 1998
and Vol. 2, Number 42, November 2, 1998). The EU warned that the US threat
of retaliatory action was based on a unilateral determination of
non-compliance, a move illegal under Article 23 of the WTO Dispute
Settlement Understanding (DSU). "Unilateral action of this sort would be a
clear breach of the United States' WTO commitments," European Commission
President Jacques Santer said in a letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton
last week. "No WTO member has the right to unilaterally determine, without
recourse to [WTO procedures], whether another member is in compliance with
WTO rules," Mr Santer said. Further the EU noted that the U.S. move would
undermine the entire WTO dispute settlement system and possibly damage
further EU-U.S. co-operation on the so-called Transatlantic Economic
Partnership, a broad EU-U.S. free trade agreement.

The U.S. maintains it is within its rights, under DSU Article 22, to
request WTO authorisation of its punitive tariff regime in retaliation for
the EU's failure to comply with the WTO ruling. The U.S. list targets
about US$1.5 billion of EU goods, including agricultural goods (cheese and
curd, bread and pastries, and wine), small appliances (food processors,
space heaters) and other miscellaneous items. Reports last week said the
list of targeted exports would most significantly impact French or German
exports.

The WTO ruled last year that the current EU banana import regime violates
global trade rules. The EU has until January 1, 1999 to implement a
reformed import regime. After reviewing the EU's proposed revised regime,
the U.S. and co-complainants Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico (G-5)
called the proposed changes "primarily cosmetic," arguing that the
revisions perpetuate the discriminatory nature of the existing EU import
regime. Rather than quotas, the U.S. favours a tariff-only regime,
including a tariffs-only regime that affords preferential tariffs to ACP
producers.

The EU noted continued disappointment over the U.S. persistence in the
banana dispute. "I really do not see why it is in the interest of the
United States that poor countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere, which
are not able to ... do anything other than grow bananas, should be driven
into more dangerous economic activity such as drug trafficking," Mr.
Brittan said.

Caribbean banana growers last week spoke out vehemently against the U.S.
threat of trade retaliation. "This threat is designed to force changes on
the EU which would enable dominant US trading corporations [referring to
Chiquita Brands] to drive Caribbean growers out of the market," the
Caribbean Banana Exporters Association (CBEA) said in a statement last
week. "The U.S. has no direct interest in bananas. They grow few and
export none. It is extraordinary that they should escalate the issue into
a trade war, and deplorable that their objective in that war with the EU
will entail such devastation to their Caribbean friends and neighbours,"
the CBEA said.

 "EU vows to take WTO action against U.S. retaliation on bananas," INSIDE
US TRADE, November 13, 1998; 
 "Bananas battle goes to the brink, FINANCIAL TIMES, November 11, 1998;
 "US-EU battle could trigger a trade war," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, November
10, 1998;
 "U.S. targets European goods for trade sanctions," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE,
November 11, 1998;
 "EU to turn to WTO to fight U.S. threat," INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE,
November 12, 1998;
 "EU urges U.S. to avoid a banana war," ASSOCIATED PRESS, November 12,
1998;
 "Caribbean banana growers deplore U.S. threat of trade war over bananas,"
CBEA PRESS RELEASE, November 12, 1998.






APEC MOVES LIBERALISATION TALKS TO WTO

The 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum Sunday voted
to take discussions on regional trade liberalisation to the WTO, opening
up negotiations on nine sectors of trade to global participation. The
November 12-18 summit, underway in Malaysia, was to focus on an APEC free
trade pact: APEC ministers agreed last year to fast track liberalisation
of at least 9 of 15 sectors by 1999, including telecommunications,
environmental goods and services, chemicals and the energy sector. At
least two major issues threatened to throw that agenda off-course, forcing
the decision to move talks to the WTO. First, Asian economies wanted first
to deal with the economic emergency gripping the region, before tackling
trade liberalisation. Second, a rift between Japan and the U.S. over
Japan's refusal to make concessions in one of the proposed nine sectors
-- fisheries and forestry, under consideration. Japan argued strongly both
last week and in advance of the summit that the WTO, not APEC, is the
appropriate place to discuss fishery and forestry sector tariffs, and all
other, tariffs. Talks on fisheries and forests will now be incorporated
under the global talks on agriculture set to begin next year.

The nine sectors covering $1.5 trillion in trade will be now be moved
"intact" to the WTO in the same fashion that the Information Technology
Agreement was forwarded to the multilateral trade body a few years ago.
But Deputy Prime Minister Supachai Panitchpakdi, one of four candidates
seeking to head the WTO, would "enhance the future momentum of
liberalisation under the WTO."

The annual APEC meeting had already begun on less-than-sure footing before
the trade vote was taken, with Canada taking a strong stance on human
rights within APEC. The summit is taking place in Malaysia, where the
former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim is currently on trial
for sex and corruption charges--charges critics say are trumped-up and
typical of the repressive Malaysian government. Canada also formally
proposed the creation of a task force to explore ways to strengthen civil
society activities in the region. Malaysian officials responded quite
negatively to the Canadian moves, calling them an unwarranted intrusion
into Malaysian affairs.

The Canadian move could overshadow Malaysian ambitions to use the summit
as a platform for South concerns. President Mohamad, the summit host, is
eager to voice the concerns of the South countries within APEC and shift
the annual summit out from under the dominance of rich countries'
concerns.

 "Free trade bid passed to WTO," BANGKOK POST, November 16, 1998;
 "APEC human rights call met with hostility," FINANCIAL TIMES, November
16, 1998;
 "APEC-Malaysia willing to allow trade pact dilution," REUTERS, November
11, 1998;
 "Mahathir seeks to speak for South at APEC summit," IPS, November 12,
1998;
 "Free trade agenda adrift as APEC summit nears," IPS, November 10, 1998;
 "Fingers crossed that leaders can avoid APEC summit fiasco," FINANCIAL
TIMES, November 13, 1998;
 "Japan to resist APEC trade plan, offer Asian aid instead," DOW JONES,
November 11, 1998.






EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND NGOS DIALOGUE ON THE MILLENIUM ROUND

European Commission and Member States' trade officials held talks November
16 with 70 industry, consumer, labour, environment and development
organisations on the work programme for the WTO Millenium Round. This is
the first meeting in an ongoing dialogue between Commission officials and
NGOs, and is part of the EU's commitment to transparency and openness in
trade policy-making.

Significant amongst the points raised at the meeting was the announcement,
made by EU Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan, that the EC will
commission a study on the impact of the new round of international trade
negotiations on sustainable development. While this seems like a victory
for the NGOs advocating an environmental and social assessment of past and
future trade liberalisation, some have expressed fears that if the terms
of reference for the study are not properly defined, and depending on who
the Commission hires to carry it out, the study might not reveal the full
picture.

In his speech, Sir Leon also called for a radical agenda of greater WTO
transparency. His proposals include greater access for NGOs and others to
WTO proceedings, a new information circulation policy, greater
opportunities for consultation with civil society - for instance, through
symposia - and a WTO "information ombudsperson" who could deal with
complaints related to transparency.

ICTSD Internal Files; EC Press Release.






UNCTAD MEETING PROMOTES PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) November
9-12 held "Partners for Development" in Lyon, France. The event brought
together over 400 private companies, nearly 100 non- governmental
organisations, a number of government delegations and entrepreneurs from
developing countries in an effort to foster mobilisation of resources for
development. "Partners for Development" is part of a drive by UNCTAD to
match-up development projects of interest to the private sector with
private sector investors and put a strong emphasis on information
technology for trade, finance and development. At the event, UNCTAD
announced three bio-trade initiatives to be carried out in conjunction
with the Spanish government, a Brazilian bank and a private Brazilian
investor, which would promote the commercial use of Amazon forest
products. UNCTAD also announced a string of transportation partnerships to
accelerate the flow of goods by road, rail and sea in developing
countries.

The exposition also highlighted the entrepreneurial successes in the
developing world made possible via micro-finance, or small loans made to
individuals or small groups in the amount of US$20 to US$1,000 dollars.
Micro-entrepreneurs, a high-percentage of them women, pay back their
lenders at impressive rates, with an overall default rate of three
percent. UNCTAD hoped the Lyon event would encourage other lenders to
follow the lead of the flagship micro-lender, The Grameen Bank, by
implementing micro-credit programmes.

 "UN in push on private sector," FINANCIAL TIMES, November 9, 1998;
 "Transportation partnerships launched at 'Partners for Development'
meeting in Lyon," UNCTAD PRESS RELEASE, November 12, 1998;
 "Developpement: les miracles de la microfinance," LE FIGARO, November 10,
1998.






MEATY TRADE ISSUES

The U.S. government early this month announced it would meet EU demands
for improving analytical testing of U.S. meat exports. The U.S. made the
announcement in response to EU veterinary experts' recommendation that a
ban be imposed on U.S. meat imports after they found serious deficiencies
in U.S. testing procedures for beef, veal, lamb and horse meat. The EU and
U.S. are continuing talks on meat exports in light of the EU
recommendation. Meat exports to the EU are worth about US$100 million a
year to U.S. producers.

Meanwhile, the EU is expected to lift a 30-month ban on UK beef exports.
The ban has cost UK meat exporters an estimated US$850 million a year in
lost exports, contributing to a sharp fall in UK farmer's incomes. The ban
was implemented in March 1996 after British scientists discovered a link
between UK beef and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or "mad cow
disease." Since then, the UK has slaughtered nearly three million cattle,
and implemented tight controls on feeding cattle. Lifting the ban on UK
beef is expected to win easy approval when EU agricultural ministers meet
November 29--winning over consumers sceptical of UK beef safety could
prove a more difficult battle.

Also in the news, EU Agricultural Commissioner Franz Fischler last week
proposed a ban on the use of four antibiotics used in animal feed over
concern that their use could build up resistance in human consumers.
Farmers use the antibiotics to promote growth in pigs and poultry and to
build resistance to disease in those animals. Mr. Fischler's proposal
would not affect antibiotics used in feed given to animals intended for
export to the EU since those antibiotics are not used in human medicine in
the EU. The ban, which is to be voted on early next year, is controversial
because scientists have yet to show any connection between the four
antibiotics and increased human resistance to medicines. It is also
expected to be vigorously opposed by pharmaceutical companies--sales of
the four antibiotics in the EU are worth about US$75 million annually.
Earlier this year the U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimated that
between 60 and 80 percent of cattle, sheep, hogs and poultry in the U.S.
would be given antibiotics at some point during their life cycle. The same
panel recommended the establishment of a national database to track
microbe-related illnesses and trends in antibiotic resistance.

In related news, Zimbabwe's health and child welfare deputy minister Dr.
David Parirenyatwa, addressing the 13th Session of the Codex Co-
ordinating Committee for Africa, reported that African meat exports to the
EU are being rejected due to weak food control systems in African
countries.

Mexico October 21 formally opened an anti-dumping investigation against
the U.S., based on local complaints that U.S. producers were dumping beef,
pork and livestock on the Mexican market. Last year, Mexico imported
nearly 75 percent of the US$177.4 million in U.S. cattle exports last
year.

 "U.S. hopes for deal with Europe on bananas, beef," REUTERS, November 5,
1998;
 "Horns lock over beef reform compensation plans," FINANCIAL TIMES,
November 3, 1998;
 "Brussels seeks ban on animal feed antibiotics," FINANCIAL TIMES,
November 12, 1998;
 "EU poised to lift ban on Britain's exports of beef," FINANCIAL TIMES,
November 5, 1998;
 "US fights Mexico over beef exports," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, November 2,
1998;
 "Call on Africa to improve food control systems," PANA, November 3, 1998.






EXPORTERS OPPOSE BASEL LIABILITY PROTOCOL

A coalition of U.S. hazardous waste exporters are fighting an UN proposal
that would hold hazardous waste exporters responsible for cleanup of toxic
waste dumping by hazardous waste buyers. The liability protocol, currently
being negotiated as part of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary
Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, is meant to stem
so-called "environmental colonialism," or the dumping of toxic materials
in poor countries by rich industrialised nations, and would allow local
courts to decide who must pay for hazardous waste cleanup. The exporter
coalition said the proposal puts exports of up to US$9 billion in metal
by-products at risk, "undermining the whole concept of sustainable
development," by discouraging the recycling of first-world by-product
materials by manufacturers in third-world countries. Further, the
coalition charges that the proposal is an effort to go after exporter's
"deep pockets," rather than placing responsibilities with the parties
responsible for dumping (presumably third-world buyers). The U.S. is the
only major nation not among the Basel Convention's 120 parties.

Also under dispute in the draft protocol is a provision which would allow
foreign localities to seize foreign exporter's assets on their territory,
even if the exporter's country-of-origin does not sign on to the protocol.

In related news, an U.S. trash-hauling firm will this month pay for the
cleanup of 4,000 tonnes of toxic incinerator ash dumped in 1988 outside
the Haitian city of Gonaive. The ash, which originated from the city of
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the first known case of U.S. waste being
dumped on a third world country (outside of Mexico), and has been the
centre of a decade-old dispute between Philadelphia and environmental
groups in and outside of Haiti. Until this year, the city of Philadelphia
refused to take responsibility for the ash, which will now be returned to
the United States.

 "UN plan shifts cleanup of toxic waste to exporter," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE,
November 3, 1998;
 "U.S. toxic waste to be returned to sender," IPS, November 5, 1998.






IN BRIEF

President Clinton early this month lifted most of the economic sanctions
the U.S. imposed on India and Pakistan last May in response to the two
nations' nuclear tests. The president lifted the sanctions in response to
work undertaken by India and Pakistan toward nuclear arms control, and as
an incentive to continue work in this area. The U.S. will also withdraw
its objections (in place since May) to international lending to Pakistan,
on the brink of financial collapse, although the objection remains in
place for India.
 "Clinton lifts most sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan,"
INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, November 9, 1998.

Mexico and the EU November 9 launched negotiations toward a free trade
agreement. The EU is Mexico's second largest trade partner, after the U.S.
Mexico is keen to reduce its dependence on the U.S. for its exports.
Mexico and the EU expect to conclude an agreement by late 1999-- the
agreement would be the first concluded by Europe and a Latin American
country.
 "Mexico, EU start talks on free trade," FINANCIAL TIMES, NOVEMBER 9,
1998.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN), the world's largest environmental
group, this month appointed Dr. Maritta Koch-Weser to the post of Director
General of the organisation. Dr. Koch-Weser, who will succeed current
Director General David McDowell in January 1999, is the first woman IUCN
Director General post.
 "IUCN-The world conservation union appoints new Director General," IUCN
PRESS RELEASE, November 9, 1998.

Early in November, at IUCN's 50th anniversary event in Fontainebleau in
France, French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Alain Juppe
both called for the creation of a World Environment Organisation, saying
it should fall to UNEP to gather together the secretariats of the
inernational environmental conventions to progressively create a World
Environment Organisation. Jacques Chirac also called for the WTO to take
environmental issues into account.
 "Chirac, champion du monde de la nature," LIBERATION, November 4, 1998;
 "Jacques Chirac propose la creation d'une 'autorite mondiale' pour
'evaluer' l'environnement," LE MONDE, November 4, 1998; ICTSD Internal
Files.

A recent report on technology and jobs from the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the services sector now
accounts for 70% of all jobs in the world's richest countries, spanning a
broad range of occupations from coffee baristas at Starbucks to lawyers
and computer programmers. This is reportedly good news for developing
economies, which can absorb labour-intensive low-wage manufacturing jobs
as they move outside industrialised countries. The study said that
technology change not trade is responsible for the shift in jobs, as the
skill set of industrialised countries' work force changes to meet the
needs of high-technology businesses.
 "Learning to love the service economy," INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE,
November 3, 1998.






WTO IN BRIEF

The WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures convened on 11-
12 November 1998 and announced that the three-year report on the
implementation of the SPS Agreement will be released in early 1999. The
long-horn beetle infestation in the U. S. was discussed. The dispute is
between the United States and China, the former claiming that the beetles
entered the U.S. in wooden crates used for shipping. (See also BRIDGES
Weekly Trade News Digest, Vol. 2, Number 37, September 28, 1998) . China
not being a WTO Member, it was represented by Hong-Kong. No agreement
between the two parties was reached. Also mentioned during the SPS
Committee last week, was the fact that China uses methyl bromide to
fumigate said crates, an ozone-depleting substance prohibited by the
Montreal Protocol.
 ICTSD Internal Files.

Australia and New Zealand tabled last week at the WTO working papers
(WT/GC/W/111 and WT/GC/W/112) outlining the scope, structure and timeframe
for the negotiations on agriculture. These issues will be discussed next
week at the next intersessional meeting of the Special Session of the
General Council, on 23 and 24 November.









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with support from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade 
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email: cdommen@ictsd.ch; tel: (41-22) 917 8497; fax: (41-
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