Reports from Meetings
on 11 December

Coincidentally I was able to attend an event where the ‘Europe in the World’ pamphlet was presented on energy and climate security.

on 12 December on Reviving the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) Talks, Brussels

Considering the private 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 Agreements, Brussels

If 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 environmental and 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.

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).

  on 14 December at the Incoming German Presidency, Brussels
We 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.

Updated: 15th December 2006

Surf back up to SERI member page Thomas Ruddy

!!! Dieses Dokument stammt aus dem ETH Web-Archiv und wird nicht mehr gepflegt !!!
!!! This document is stored in the ETH Web archive and is no longer maintained !!!