on 11 December
on 12 December on Reviving the Doha Development
Agenda (DDA) Talks,
sector's demand for market access in other countries, it becomes
understandable that business lobbyists were well represented, whereas
relatively fewer environmental and development NGOs attended. A broad
debate grew from
disagreement about the term "trade" (less controversial) and how it is
to be distinguished from "trade liberalization" (more controversial),
i.e. on the
appropriate degree of the latter in individual countries. However
various NGO representatives spoke on the panel such as FoEE, Oxfam and
the Seattle to Brussels Network. John Hilary from the latter and War on
Want spoke on the basis of his personal experiences in China
on 12 December on Bilateral Trade
the Doha talks cannot
be revived, there will be a trend toward bilateral deals. Such a trend would be new, as no such agreements have been signed over the last seven years. Most
development NGOs deplore having to take this alternative because it
puts smaller (developing) countries at a disadvantage. The US often
includes provisions in bilaterals for investor/state dispute settlement
(the much-decried "Chapter 11" allowing a company to sue a
nation-state). However DG Trade's Deputy DG Mr.
Falkenberg reported that the EU would not push this. Werner Corales,
now working with IISD, spoke
on the value of having "policy space" based on his personal experiences
as a trade negotiator from Venezuela.
on 14 December at the Incoming German Presidency,
The question as to whether the
EU’s new bilateral trade deals should address issues of labour
standards and decent work has given rise to a massive debate between DG Trade, which is proud to be answering "yes",
whereas Professor J.-P. Lehmann of the Evian Group has sharply criticised DG Trade for this in the FT.
A public online
consultation is running until 12 January 2007 on DG Trade's
"Global Europe: The EU’s
Market Access Strategy in a changing global economy". Commissioner Mandelson sees risks
arising from remaining non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and other regulatory
restrictions "behind the border" (BTBs).
talked with the German
representative in the C133 Committee of the European Council mainly about the new trend toward
bilaterals. Bilaterals – unlike the DDA -- will require a
go-ahead decision in a Commission-wide Impact Assessment for each of
them. In bilaterals, investment provisions often come up as a
“shared competency” between the EU and its constituent
member states. India, in the interest of its companies Mittal Steel and
Tata, now apparently prefers to see investment chapters in bilateral
trade agreements. Eivind
Hoff from WWF and I
called the attention of our German host to IISD and its Model
Investment Agreement for Sustainable Development as a good way to
rebalance the rights of investors
and host countries.
There may be a mini-ministerial in January 2007 on the sidelines at the Annual
Meeting of theWorld Economic Forum in Davos.
15th December 2006
up to http://www.wsis.ethz.ch/seri.htm
member page Thomas Ruddy
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