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 October 12, 2008 10:59 PM


New York, Oct 6 2008 7:10PM
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (<"">FAO) today expressed concerns that the aquaculture industry may struggle to meet future world demand for fish as a rising global population consumes more and more fish and small farmers in poor countries face difficulties in exporting their produce.

The aquaculture sector – otherwise known as fish farming – will need to produce 80.5 million tons per year just to maintain current per capita fish consumption, according to a press release issued by FAO today.

In 2006, the sector produced 51.7 million tons, or nearly half of the estimated 100 million fish consumed worldwide.

The need for more fish from aquaculture has been heightened, the agency noted, because so-called traditional capture fisheries from the world’s seas, lakes and rivers have reached a plateau in terms of production.

“The question remains whether the aquaculture sector can grow fast enough to sustain projected demand for fish while ensuring consumer protection, maintain environmental integrity, and achieving social responsibility,” a report to be released this week by FAO states.

In addition, the rapid growth of the aquaculture sector is suggested to be slowing, with previous yearly growth rates of over 10 per cent from 1985 to 1995 declining to 7 per cent in the following decade.

FAO has noted a series of issues facing the future of fish farming in a report that will be presented to countries attending a meeting of its aquaculture sub-committee this week in Puerto Varas, Chile.

Other challenges that will be explored in FAO’s report include the environmental impacts of fish farming, food safety and antibiotic use and the impact which climate change may have on aquaculture.

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 October 12, 2008 8:56 PM


New York, Sep 24 2008 4:10PM
Hundreds of thousands of small farmers, especially in Africa and Central America, are expected to benefit from a United Nations-backed initiative announced today to provide them with reliable markets for surplus crops at competitive prices, thus bolstering fragile local economies.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the Government of Belgium have committed $76 million to Purchase for Progress (P4P) to transform the way the UN World Food Programme <"">(WFP) purchases food in developing countries.

“The world’s poor are reeling under the impact of high food and fuel prices, and buying food assistance from developing world farmers is the right solution at the right time,” WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran <"">said.

“Purchase for Progress is win-win – we help our beneficiaries who have little or no food and we help local farmers who have little or no access to markets where they can sell their crops.”

Developed in partnership with the foundations, P4P will be launched in 21 pilot countries over the next five years. Innovations in WFP’s local food procurement practices, which are central to the agency’s new business model, aim to strengthen the role of smallholder and low-income farmers in agricultural markets and enable them to gain more from supplying food to WFP’s global operations.

WFP, the world’s single largest purchaser of food for humanitarian operations, will explore different ways to maximize gains for small farmers while minimizing any distortion to local markets. By supporting small farmers’ ability to produce and supply food to WFP’s global operations, P4P will help them increase their incomes, which is critical in addressing hunger and poverty at their roots.

“Developing new ways for WFP to purchase food locally represents a major step toward sustainable change that could eventually benefit millions of poor rural households in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has committed $66 million to fund pilot projects in 10 countries in Africa.

“P4P will help large numbers of small-scale farmers to become net producers rather than net consumers, ensuring that they stand to gain rather than lose from the current climate of rising food prices,” said Howard G. Buffett, President of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which has committed $9.1 million to support pilot projects in seven countries.
The Government of Belgium contributed $750,000 for the project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Three other countries have not yet been funded.

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 August 23, 2008 10:43 PM


New York, Aug 21 2008 1:10PM
A successful outcome to global trade talks is vital to strengthening the world economy and improving the livelihoods of millions of poor and vulnerable people, the head of the United Nations Development Programme (<"">UNDP) said today, following the recent collapse of the Doha round of trade liberalization negotiations.

The seven-year-long round of global negotiations, led by the World Trade Organization (<"">WTO), broke down at the end of July after countries failed to reach agreement on a safeguard that would allow developing nations to raise tariffs temporarily in the face of import surges and falling prices.

“It is clear that an agreement was close to being reached that, while not perfect, would nonetheless have been beneficial to developing countries and the world economy,” UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis said in a statement issued today.

“It is very desirable that the remaining obstacles to an agreement, especially regarding a special safeguard mechanism for agriculture, be overcome,” he added.

Mr. Dervis noted that while in some cases bilateral and regional trade agreements are beneficial to those participating, they cannot replace a truly multilateral system.

This is especially the case, he said, for developing countries, which can benefit from many of the rules and the dispute settlement mechanism of the multilateral trade regime.

“A balanced, equitable, open and multilateral trading system is desirable, particularly given both the current and foreseeable difficulties of the world economy owing to the financial crisis and high volatility of energy and food prices, which themselves are partly the result of sub-optimal trade policies,” stated Mr. Dervis.

He added that the next few weeks will be critical to revitalizing the negotiations.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed similar sentiments in a statement issued last month, in which he said that “success was particularly important at this juncture when the world faces major development challenges,” including climate change, poverty, increasing protectionism, limited progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the current food, fuel and financial crises.

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 August 23, 2008 10:10 PM


New York, Aug 15 2008 12:10PM
A new public database in creative products – such as music, audiovisuals, newspapers and electronic publishing – has been launched today by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Currently the site shows global trade flows for 1996-2006. Selected products are listed along with the major exporters and importers in major markets for such creative products as art and crafts, music CDs and video and films. Statistics on some 235 products can be found at

UNCTAD says that traditional statistical methods are being updated to reflect accurately the rapidly growing international exchange of digitalized products such as music, films, videos, advertising, news, and all creative content that travel via the Internet and mobile phones.

The Creative Economy Report 2008, released by UNCTAD and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in April, showed that global trade in creative goods and services grew by 8.7 per cent annually from 2000-2005, making it one of the most vibrant sectors in world commerce.

The value of exports of creative goods reached $335.5 billion in 2005, according to figures reported by over 130 countries, while exports of creative services totaled $89 billion.

Trade in creative products is dominated by developed countries – they account for about 90 per cent of exports of music and audiovisuals, for example – although the world’s poorer nations have achieved rapid growth in the creative sector recently.

One noteworthy trend is that printed media are facing challenges because of the growing influence of electronic publishing. In Europe, which has the world’s highest rate of broadband Internet penetration, circulation of printed newspapers is declining.

By contrast, in developing countries where competition from electronic publishing is less of a factor because of expensive and limited Internet access, the circulation of printed newspapers seems less affected.

Worldwide, the database shows, global sales of published material and printed media – a range of news circulated as newspapers, magazines and books – had a growth rate of 3 per cent for 2000-2005, with exports amounting to $15.3 billion in 2005.

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 July 31, 2008 9:05 PM


New York, Jul 23 2008 6:00PM
Countries must concentrate on compromise if they are to strike a global agreement to complete the current, much-delayed Doha round of trade liberalization negotiations by the end of this year, despite recent “constructive” talks, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) <"">said today.

Pascal Lamy, the agency’s Director-General, told an informal gathering of the WTO’s Trade Negotiations Committee that progress was made during yesterday’s second round of consultations, but positive steps were “unevenly distributed across the issues discussed,” including agricultural and non-agricultural goods, subsidies and market access.

This year’s talks on the Doha Round – a round that was originally supposed to conclude several years ago – kicked off in Geneva on Monday, and Mr. Lamy said that the week-long meeting should result in “the much awaited green light that both the developed and developing world expects from us. This is a heavy responsibility and we must not let this chance slip away.”

He appealed to all delegations to deliberate on the issues at hand with urgency, emphasizing the importance of compromise.

“Success or failure depends very much on how far all are prepared to cooperate with each other on the fundamentally important issues, and whether we are each prepared to act with the interests of the broader membership, and of the benefits to the system as a whole, uppermost in our minds,” the Director-General said at today’s informal meeting of the Committee.

In his address, Mr. Lamy also welcomed Cape Verde as the 153rd member of the WTO.

“Membership will provide a stable and predictable basis for the growth and development of Cape Verde,” he said. “They have worked very hard to achieve this, knowing it will give a welcome boost to the economy, and their efforts serve as an example to us all.”

The island nation ratified its accession package – the final step in the accession process – today.

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 June 22, 2008 6:56 PM


New York, Jun 17 2008 9:00AM
Poor farmers and herders in countries bearing the brunt of desertification and land degradation can help stop or reverse those processes by engaging in sustainable agriculture, the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says.

Marking World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, which is observed on 17 June, IFAD said in a statement that poor farmers and herders can form part of the solution with the assistance of international agencies.

“Ill-conceived agricultural practices, traditional or intensified, only make things worse as their poor populations have no choice but to adopt short-term survival methods, putting more pressure on increasingly scarce local resources,” IFAD said. “Climate change is increasing that pressure, and exacerbating droughts.”

The agency called for more efficient water use, improved cropping systems and better forest management, adding that hardier seeds will also help poor farmers withstand droughts and floods.

IFAD, which is tasked with reducing rural poverty, said more than two thirds of its projects are now located in ecologically fragile and marginal areas, where nearly half the world’s poor live.

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Thanks Philip May 04, 2008 4:33 PM

for keeping up this treasury of resources - I so much appreciate that here is a place where I can browse for vital information like this!
Thanks from the heart!

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 May 04, 2008 1:44 AM


New York, Apr 30 2008 1:00PM
Marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) as a United Nations agency, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has <"">highlighted the important role of postal services, especially at a time when hundreds of millions of people have relocated from their country of origin and are anxious to share news and resources with their relatives.

“You may be one of the smallest specialized agencies, but the work you are doing is key to the broader mission of our Organization,” Mr. Ban said on Monday while at the UPU’s headquarters in Bern, Switzerland.

The Secretary-General said that the postal sector makes a well-known contribution to development, and pointed out that the UPU helps developing countries develop trade-related infrastructure and supply capacity, especially in Africa.

“The capacity of postal services to provide information, goods and fund transfers can lend valuable support to the growth of small businesses in developing countries and help them to access markets in industrialized States,” he stated.

The <"">UPU is the primary forum for cooperation between national postal services. It establishes the rules for international mail exchange among its 191 members and makes recommendations on increasing the volume of mail, and on improving the quality of services. Each year, 5 million postal workers deliver over 433 billion letters domestically, and 5.5 billion internationally, as well as over 6 billion parcels.

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 April 27, 2008 12:03 AM


New York, Apr 24 2008 5:00PM
Cumbersome customs procedures are adding unnecessary costs to the transport of goods from landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) to international markets, a senior UN official has told a meeting held to measure progress on the issue.

Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (<"">ESCAP), said yesterday that international conventions on transport and transit could solve the problem by harmonizing, simplifying and standardizing rules and documentation.

Ms. Heyzer was speaking at the end of a two-day meeting in Bangkok which assessed progress in Asia and Europe since the UN’s Almaty Programme of Action was adopted in 2003. The programme aims to help LLDCs by supporting cooperation between landlocked and transit countries, and by cutting red tape, transport costs and time.

The meeting was organized by ESCAP, along with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (<"">ECE), and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (<"">UN-OHRLL.

Cheikh Sidi Diarra, the UN High Representative, told the meeting that much progress had been made since 2003. He said that, on average, it now takes LLDCs 49 days to export a consignment of goods, down from 57 days in 2005. He also cited two ESCAP initiatives as good examples of better transit cooperation: the Asian Highway Network and the Trans-Asian Railway Network. The Highway covers 141,000 kilometres and links 32 countries, while the Railway runs 81,000 kilometres in 28 countries.

Ms. Heyzer noted that “there are still remarkable infrastructure gaps which cannot be addressed without involving the private sector.” But she added that “the landlocked and the transit countries share many common problems” and cited another ESCAP initiative, the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement, as a tool that could help these countries engage in dynamic trade and investment.

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 April 26, 2008 8:34 PM


New York, Apr 22 2008 6:00PM
Landlocked and least developed countries (LDCs) have been further marginalized as a result of trade liberalization, which has led to increased growth in many parts of the world, a senior United Nations official has said.

Addressing the 12th UN Conference on Trade and Development (<"">UNCTAD), taking place in Accra, Ghana, Cheick Sidi Diarra lamented the fact that many of these countries have experienced a further loss of their market share as a result of trade liberalization.

Mr. Diarra, the UN’s High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, noted that globalization, which is supposed to lead to economic growth and reduce poverty, has served to deepen the disparities between and within countries.

To further integrate LDCs into the world economy, he called for domestic policies that support technological progress and innovation, as well as employment creation and upgrading of physical infrastructure. This must be accompanied by the creation of an enabling global environment, he added.

Landlocked developing countries are particularly marginalized in the international trading system, Mr. Diarra pointed out, owing to their remoteness from major world markets and excessive transit transport costs.

The High Representative said that addressing this situation requires the establishment of viable transit transport systems and the building up of export capacity.

He also expressed support for the Aid-for-Trade (AFT) initiative – launched at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference – which aims to scale up international financial assistance for building up trade capacity in developing countries.

Mr. Diarra hoped the Accra gathering would help focus attention on the urgent need for greater support for the LDCs and landlocked developing countries in the area of international trade.

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 April 26, 2008 7:07 PM


New York, Apr 21 2008 12:00PM
Increased trade and investment, particularly in agriculture, are crucial if Africa is to achieve the kind of growth needed to meeting its development targets, as well as to address the current global food crisis, which threatens to undo the gains made so far, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon <"
said" target="_blank">">said today.

“We face a development emergency,” Mr. Ban told the high-level segment of the twelfth UN Conference on Trade and Development (<"">UNCTAD), taking place in Accra, Ghana.

He noted that well past the mid-point of the race to achieve the set of internationally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (<"">MDGs), many countries are falling behind.

Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, “is most at risk – here, not a single country is on track to meet all of the MDGs by 2015,” he told the gathering of trade and development officials from around the world.

At the same time, advances on specific goals in individual African countries such as Ghana, Kenya and Uganda suggest that rapid progress is certainly possible, Mr. Ban stated, adding that the successes in these countries need to be replicated and expanded across Africa with effective support from the international community. “This scaling-up of our development activities requires unprecedented effort, but it is achievable.”

The Secretary-General pointed out that Africa has yet to fully benefit from globalization, especially increased trade and investment, noting that the continent’s share of global trade and foreign investment languishes at a mere 3 per cent.

Critical to spurring Africa’s growth is to ensure a breakthrough in the Doha Round of trade talks, as well as more South-South exchanges and greater foreign direct investment, he said.

Mr. Ban also drew attention to the “alarming” rise in global food prices, which he said threatens to undo the gains achieved so far in fighting hunger and malnutrition.

The situation calls for a substantial increase in investment and expenditure in agriculture, and underscores the importance of pushing for an open trading system in agricultural commodities – which would benefit countries around the world, the Secretary-General said.

Stating he was “especially troubled” by incidents of food riots in Africa and around the world, Mr. Ban urged countries to consider “bold measures to guarantee affordable food to even the poorest of the poor.”

In particular, he urged donors to support the appeal for $755 million by the UN World Food Programme (<"">WFP) to sustain food aid to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

In addition, he called for a substantial increase in expenditures on agriculture, adding that trade and investment should be used to bring about a ‘Green revolution’ of improved agricultural productivity across Africa.

The Secretary-General’s visit to Ghana is the first stop on a four-nation tour of West Africa that will also take him to Liberia, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire.

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 April 05, 2008 5:37 PM


New York, Apr 2 2008 10:00AM
Global rice production is expected to increase by 1.8 per cent – or 12 million tonnes – this year, easing a tight supply situation in key cultivating countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) <"">said today.

Assuming normal weather conditions, sizable production increases are expected in all the major Asian rice-producing countries – Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand, where supply and demand are currently rather stretched.

“The international rice market is currently facing a particularly difficult situation with demand outstripping supply and substantial price increases,” said FAO Senior Economist Concepcion Calpe.

She added that higher rice production in 2008 could reduce the pressure, but short-term volatility will probably continue, given the very limited supplies available from stocks. “This implies that the market may react very strongly to any good or bad news about crops or policies,” she stated.

Production is also expected to rise in Africa, Latin America and the European Union, while it may contract in Japan, one of the few countries where producer prices fell last year, the agency said.

Meanwhile, the forecast for Australia is “dismal,” in light of extremely low water availability, and a decrease is also expected in the United States, owing to competition from more profitable crops.

According to FAO, global rice prices have risen by about 20 per cent since January, reflecting the limited supplies available for sale. Prices are not likely to rise further in the coming months, with the arrival of new rice harvests in Brazil or Uruguay, as well as in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam. “So far, prospects regarding these crops are positive,” said Ms. Calpe.

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 February 15, 2008 8:34 PM


New York, Feb 14 2008  3:00PM
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) today predicted a rise in world cereal production this year but warned that prices will remain at record levels and could even increase.

Greater anticipated production is resulting from winter grain plantings and good weather among major producers in Europe and in the United States, coupled with a generally satisfactory outlook elsewhere, according to FAO's latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.

But with dwindling stocks, continuing strong demand for cereals is keeping international prices high, despite a record world harvest last season, the report said. International wheat prices last month were 83 per cent higher than in January 2007.

Poor countries where food is scarce are expected to import less cereal but pay more, <"">FAO said. "Cereal imports for all Low-Income Food-Deficit countries in 2007-08 are forecast to decline by about 2 per cent in volume, but as a result of soaring international cereal prices and freight rates, their cereal import bill is projected to rise by 35 per cent for the second consecutive year," the agency said in a news release.

Worldwide, 36 countries are currently facing food crises, according to the report.

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 February 15, 2008 7:58 PM

New York, Feb 14 2008  5:00PM
World tea prices are continuing to rise because of a tight global supply worsened by a projected 10 per cent decrease in production in Kenya, which has been rocked by civil unrest in recent months, a new report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (<"">FAO) says.

For many years, there was an oversupply of tea, but the FAO report says that prices increased by 11.6 per cent in 2006 and are expected to reflect a further 6.5 per cent rise in 2007.

World tea production grew by more than 3 per cent to reach an estimated 3.6 million tons in 2006, according to the latest available figures cited by the report.

Increases in China, India and Viet Nam should offset declines in major producing countries, according to the report.

The expansion was due to another record crop in China with 1.05 million tons and a record 28 per cent increase in output in Viet Nam, which pulled its production up to 133,000 tons.

An increase was also recorded in India, the second larger producer, where harvests were 3 per cent higher, totalling 945,000 tons for 2006.

Consumers are also drinking more tea, with consumption up by 1 per cent in 2006, reaching 3.64 million tons. Green tea appears to be gaining popularity; black tea production is projected to grow at 1.9 per cent annually while green tea production is expected to grow at a rate of 4.5 per cent.

FAO tea expert Kaison Chang called for strategies to improve demand. “Opportunities for an expansion in consumption and improvement in prices exist in producing countries themselves as per capita consumption levels are relatively low.”

The report was prepared for the Global Dubai Tea Forum 2008, which opens next week with a focus on sharing industry-specific knowledge and best practices for improving tea production and marketing worldwide.

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 February 02, 2008 10:44 PM


New York, Jan 30 2008  5:00PM
The United Nations Development Programme (<"">UNDP) is setting up a partnership with the confectionery conglomerate Cadbury to support cocoa-farming communities in Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean by helping them to boost their crop yields, find new sources of income and improve local infrastructure.

Under the public-private initiative, announced this week in Accra, Ghana, Cadbury is to invest seed funding of $2 million in the project this year, with annual funding to rise to $10 million by 2010.

About 70 per cent of the money will be invested in Ghana, which provides the cocoa beans for Cadbury’s chocolate products in the United Kingdom and where current cocoa yields reach only 40 per cent of their potential.

UN agencies in Ghana and elsewhere will work with local farmers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government officials to determine how best to spend the funds.

The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership is expected to focus on increasing the yields of farmers so that they produce top-quality beans. It will also introduce new sources of income, through microfinance and other forms of business support, while some funds will be spent on building or improving infrastructure, including schools, libraries, water wells and biodiversity protection projects.

Daouda Touré, UNDP’s Resident Representative in Ghana, said the agency was striving to promote a more inclusive model of sustainable development.

“We hope to show just how effectively sustainable cocoa production can be in generating improved opportunities for local farmers, conserving the environment and building a brighter future for younger generations,” Mr. Touré said.

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 January 26, 2008 9:31 PM

Purchasing food from developing countries a ‘win-win’ situation – UN – (23 January 2008)

The United Nations World Food Programme is purchasing most of its food from developing countries in a ‘win-win’ situation for both parties, according to the chief of the agency, which last year paid cash to poorer nations for a record 80 per cent of its food.

The world’s largest humanitarian organization, WFP bought 2.1 million metric tons valued at over $760 million from 69 developing countries in 2007, with Uganda as the largest supplier.

The agency has a policy of buying food locally when and where there is an abundance, but it avoids these markets at times of scarcity in order to avoid distorting prices.

“Local purchases create win-win situations to hunger,” said Josette Sheeran, WFP’s Executive Director. “In an era of soaring food prices – which hit hardest those already hungry – such solutions are more critical than ever.”

To offset a surge in prices, the agency buys food in local markets in developing countries where prices can be lower and which are located close to where WFP distributes supplies.

Rising fuel and commodity costs have impacted WFP’s ability to supply food to the hungry, but transport costs are minimized through the agency’s delivery of food purchased in developing countries either locally or regionally.

“Buying ‘local’ helps provide more income for small-scale farmers, while saving money for WFP,” said Ms. Sheeran, who is currently in Davos, Switzerland, to speak about local food procurement and other issues at the World Economic Forum to be held later this week.

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 January 11, 2008 11:22 PM


Finland has donated CHF620,000 (EUR375,000) to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF). Since 2000, Finland’s contributions have reached CHF4.9 million.
> Press release:
> More on technical assistance:
> More on Finland:

(Click on the links or copy and paste them into your browser.  Alternatively, you can go to our home page and follow the links.)

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 October 06, 2007 10:15 PM

Burma: No Clean Hands for Foreign Businesses

"Leave Burma Now": ITUC Tells Multinationals

Brussels, 2 October 2007 (ITUC OnLine):  The ITUC is writing to several
hundred companies known or suspected of having business links to Burma
to pull out of the country and "stop propping up the brutal regime", and
is calling on governments to extend economic sanctions to cover all
economic sectors.  While numerous foreign companies have ceased doing
business with Burma, under pressure from the international trade union
movement and human rights and democracy groups, many multinational
companies still have relations with the military dictatorship.

"No company can claim to have clean hands if it is doing business in or
with Burma, since the Generals take their cut out of every deal. We have
been calling for several years on companies to disinvest, and those who
have refused to do so will now be exposed to the full weight of public
condemnation for effectively supporting a ruthless, corrupt and bloody
dictatorship", said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

Burma's economy is built on absolute repression of its workforce, with
the use of forced labour still rife in the country despite international
pressure on the regime to respect fundamental rights.  The case for full
and effective sanctions is now absolutely compelling, and any company
which does not withdraw voluntarily must be made to do so by governments
and international and regional organisations including the United
Nations and the European Union.  The international trade union movement
and the European Trade Union Confederation have for many years called on
the EU to include Burmese state monopolies covering gas, oil, mining,
tropical woods and precious stones in the list of companies with which
EU-based multinationals are forbidden to do business.

"The junta's murderous reaction to the demonstrations in recent days
shows how far they will go to maintain total power, and continue lining
their own pockets at the expense of the massive majority who are
deprived of access to proper healthcare, education, decent food and
other essentials.  Only a tiny few benefit from Burma's links to foreign
business, and they are the very authors of the murder, torture and
violence which is still going on," said Ryder.

Top of the ITUC list are several key multinationals with well-documented
business links to Burma, including Caterpillar (USA), China National
Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC),
Daewoo International Corporation (Korea), Siemens (Germany), Gas
Authority of India (GAIL), GlaxoSmithKline (UK ), Hyundai (Korea), ONGC
Videsh Ltd (India), Swift (Belgium), and Total (France).  Several
hundred other companies are currently being investigated for links to
Burma, and the results will be published shortly.  Military aid will be
a special focus of the trade union campaign, which will also look
closely at the junta's growing economic links with India, China and
several other countries.  India's trade for example has grown from some
US$ 341 million in 2004-5 to $650 million the following year, with a
target of US$ 1billion set for 2006-7.

"Companies which think they can continue to pretend that their business
with Burma somehow helps ordinary people there are seriously mistaken.
They will come under unprecedented pressure to pull out," said Ryder.

A meeting of the global trade union committee on Workers' Capital this
week in Madrid will also examine shareholder and investment strategies
in support of the worldwide campaign.

The ITUC is asking its affiliates to join worldwide Burma democracy and
human rights demonstrations this Saturday.

Founded on 1 November 2006, the ITUC represents 168 million workers in
153 countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates.

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 October 06, 2007 7:58 PM

Costa Rica: ITUC supports “No” to DR-CAFTA in referendum

Brussels, 5 October 2007 (ITUC OnLine):  On Sunday the people of Costa Rica
are casting their vote in a referendum on the ratification of the DR-CAFTA,
a free trade agreement between the US, the Dominican Republic and Central
America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua). Costa
Rica is the only one of these seven nations that has not yet ratified it.

The ITUC’s affiliates in Costa Rica, the CMTC (Central del Movimiento de
Trabajadores Costarricenses) and the CTRN (confederación de Trabajadores
Rerum Navarum) have been deeply involved in the campaign for a NO vote. On
Sunday September 30th, the last official day of the campaign, a huge
demonstration calling upon the people of Costa Rica to vote NO took place in
San José, with massive trade union mobilisation.

The ITUC supports the position of the Costa-Rican unions, also backed by the
AFL-CIO in the United States.  “The proposed agreement fails to take account
of the impact DR-CAFTA stands to have on workers’ rights and other decent
work issues,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. “It is extremely likely
that an acceleration of trade flows between both regions will further erode
respect for core labour standards. It is, in fact already extremely
difficult for workers in Central America and the Dominican Republic to
organise into trade unions, as would-be members face intimidation, threats,
dismissal, and blacklisting.”

In the case of maquiladoras (also known as Export Processing Zones or EPZs),
employers place great obstacles to trade union organising and collective
bargaining. Abuses of workers’ rights abound both in Costa Rica and in the
other countries covered by DR-CAFTA. Furthermore DR-CAFTA contains no
protection for women against discrimination and other groups that have
historically faced abuse in the workplace.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of workers’ rights being routinely abused,
DR-CAFTA offers no solution. Its single enforceable workers’ rights
provision requires only that countries enforce their own labour laws, laws
that the International Labour Organisation has documented as failing to meet
international standards. DR-CAFTA contains no enforceable provision
preventing countries from weakening or even eliminating some of their labour
laws. In this sense DR-CAFTA can be seen as a step backwards since under
existing commercial laws the US can withdraw trade benefits from Central
American and Caribbean countries not only if they do not enforce their
labour laws but also if those laws do not protect workers’ rights.

CAFTA does not just fail to address workers’ issues. Its impact on the
development prospects of the Latin American sub region is debatable. Indeed
if the trade deal goes into effect, 80% of U.S. industrial goods will enter
Central America and the Dominican Republic duty-free, with the remaining
tariffs to be eliminated entirely after 10 years. This will largely prevent
the Latin American countries from protecting their own industries from
external competition and may therefore jeopardise further industrial
development plans.

CAFTA also opens the door for introducing competition into Costa Rica’s
telecommunications and insurance markets, both of which are publicly run
today. A liberalisation of such markets would entail the privatisation of
these services, with particularly damaging consequences for employment.

In the agricultural area, CAFTA does not dramatically increase access to the
U.S. market for the Dominican Republic and Central America, but it does
eliminate those countries’ tariffs on basic grains such as rice, beans and
corn. This may have a detrimental effect on Central America’s agricultural
sector because relatively small-scale farmers will not be able to compete
with subsidised agricultural imports from the US. A negative impact on the
livelihoods of the rural poor - the majority of the population in many of
the countries - can be expected.

Founded on 1 November 2006, the ITUC represents 168 million workers in 153
countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates
Website: <>

 [ send green star]
 July 07, 2007 11:07 PM

New York, Jul  5 2007  4:00PM
Increased demand for biofuels is leading to changes in agricultural markets that could drive up global prices for many farm products, according to a new United Nations-backed report.

The Agricultural Outlook 2007-2016, published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (<"">FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), blames the recent hikes in farm commodity prices on factors such as droughts in wheat-growing regions and low stocks.

Biofuels are currently made from such materials as sugar cane, palm oil and maize and, given they can substitute for fossil fuels, hold the potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

The growing use of these materials is underpinning crop prices and, indirectly through higher animal feed costs, the prices for livestock products, stated FAO.

The report notes that “most biofuel policies are new and it is not clear which measures are most effective in achieving the mix of objectives such as lower fossil fuel dependence or less greenhouse gas emissions.”

According to the report, annual maize-based ethanol output is expected to double between 2006 and 2016 in the United States, and in Brazil, annual ethanol production is projected to reach some 44 billion litres by 2016 from around 21 billion today.

In the European Union the amount of oilseeds used for biofuels is set to grow from just over 10 million tons to 21 million tons over the same period.

The report pointed out that higher commodity prices are a particular concern for States classified as net food importing countries, as well as the urban poor.

Trade patterns are also changing, the report noted.  Production and consumption of agricultural products will generally grow faster in the developing countries than in the developed economies - especially for beef, pork, butter, skim milk powder and sugar.

Trade in beef, pork and whole milk powder is expected to grow by more than 50 per cent over the next 10 years, coarse grains trade by 13 per cent and wheat by 17 per cent. Trade in vegetable oils is projected to increase by nearly 70 per cent.

 [ send green star]
 June 23, 2007 9:58 PM


Gemede Robe
View a personal thank you from Oxfam and Ethiopian coffee farmers

I have great news for you today. We’ve just received word that Starbucks and Ethiopia have finalized an agreement that ends their trademark dispute and brings both sides together in partnership to help Ethiopian farmers. This agreement has the potential to give these farmers a fair share of the profits for their world-renowned coffees, and it’s what Oxfam has been pushing for since November.

More than 96,000 of our supporters around the world helped make this happen. Your emails, faxes, phone calls, postcards, and even in-person visits to Starbucks added strength to the call of Ethiopian farmers and brought global attention to this issue.

Because of your actions, Ethiopian coffee farmers have chance at a better life. You should feel very proud.

Click here to view a personal Thank You from Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser and some of the Ethiopian farmers who will benefit from this agreement.

While we’re all celebrating this important victory, our work is far from over. We will continue to raise awareness about issues of poverty, hunger, and injustice around the world. We are creating a force for change, and you are a critical partner in our work.

 [ send green star]
 June 10, 2007 12:14 AM

Trade and WTO
Trade Justice

Watch War on Want's new WTO film here >>

International trade rules have a massive impact on people in developing countries, whether they be farmers, workers or families just trying to make a living in the context of globalisation. Yet the rules of the global economy have been set up to serve the interests of big business, not people’s needs. That’s why War on Want is at the forefront of the trade justice movement, campaigning to ensure that trade rules put people first.

International trade rules have a massive impact on people in developing countries

Our key focus is the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its current round of trade negotiations, which aim to write the rules of the global economy for the next generation. The Doha Round was launched in 2001 and is now entering its final phase. The WTO needs to reach a deal on the main issues very soon if it is to have any chance of completing the round in the next few years, as it hopes. But the talks are now in crisis, and could well collapse without a deal.

At the root of the problem is a string of broken promises made by the EU and USA. When this round was launched, it was widely billed as the Doha Development Agenda, supposedly designed to deliver a trade deal which would genuinely help the world’s poor. That would include ending all the subsidies which lead to the dumping of EU and US farm produce on markets in the Third World, and rolling back the damaging new agreements brought in by the last round of trade talks.

Yet the promise that the current Doha round of negotiations would focus on a development agenda has proved completely hollow. The EU and US have managed to preserve their agricultural subsidies intact, while proposals to address the problems caused by previous agreements have been sidelined and forgotten.

Instead, both the EU and US have tried to force developing countries to open up their agricultural, industrial and services markets to multinational corporations. War on Want’s research has revealed the nightmare that this will bring workers and their families, including mass bankruptcies, job losses and poverty. Yet the EU under Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has turned its back on the world’s poor – and the UK government has supported him in doing so.

That’s why the crisis for the WTO is good news. We need a rules-based system for world trade, but it must serve the interests of the poorest and most vulnerable, not lead to their increased marginalisation as the WTO negotiations are now doing. War on Want has joined with millions of campaigners from around the world to call for an end to the current round of WTO talks. Use the email action below to add your voice to ours.

The WTO and the 'Free Trade' threat:
A summary of the dangers of trade liberalisation and the UK Government's objective to force open developing country markets.

The Ding Dong in Hong Kong:
The WTO met in Hong Kong in December 2005 to decide the future of international trade - and War on Want was there.

Mass Lobby of Parliament:
Over 8,000 people showed up to lobby their MPs for trade justice not free trade, and War on Want was there with them.

UK Government is part of the problem [pdf]:
Download full briefing as to why the UK government's aggressive free trade agenda is a major barrier in the fight against poverty.

NAMA watch:
Forcing open industrial and  [ send green star]

 April 14, 2007 8:18 PM

New York, Apr 12 2007  5:00PM
The results of renewed negotiations aimed at liberalizing international trade might hurt rather than help the world’s poorest countries unless those nations are given the necessary leeway to protect their food security and essential development needs, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (<"">FAO) has warned.  

In its annual <"">report on the state of the world’s agricultural commodity markets, released yesterday in Geneva, FAO urged government ministers participating in the revived Doha Round of trade talks to make sure any new rules are compatible with a global target – known as the Millennium Development Goal (<"">MDG) – that calls for the proportion of people living in extreme poverty to be halved by 2015.

The report stated that while economically advanced countries are likely to benefit from further liberalization of the global trading system, and some developing countries are becoming much more competitive as well, others could be left behind.

“Many lower-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are less well placed to gain in the short- to medium run from trade liberalization,” it said, pointing especially to those most dependent on agricultural commodities to support their development and efforts to reduce poverty.

Launching the report, the Chief of the FAO’s Trade Policy Service, David Hallam, said it was not surprising that the world’s poorest nations regard trade liberalization “as a threat to their domestic production and food security.”

If tariffs are reduced, there will be increased competition from imported foods for local products, and domestic production systems may not be able to adequately respond, threatening rural incomes and employment levels Mr. Hallam said.

“It is clear that many countries will need to be allowed some flexibility in the implementation of new trade rules, and also to be given assistance, at least for the short term, while they adjust to the new market realities arising from trade liberalization.”

The report called for action to be taken to ensure that the potential benefits from trade liberalization are spread as broadly and equitably as possible, suggesting developing nations be given more training and greater policy advice on how to defend their interests during trade negotiations.

The so-called Doha Round of trade talks, named after the Qatari capital where they began in 2001, stalled last year amid disputes between developed and developing countries over agricultural subsidies.

 [ send green star]
 March 14, 2007 8:01 PM

The United States has given US$110,000 (approximately 136,000 Swiss
francs) to help developing countries analyse and implement international
standards on food safety and animal and plant health — so-called sanitary
and phytosanitary (SP standards.
> Press release:
> More on technical assistance:
> More on sanitary and phytosanitary measures:
> Standards and Trade Development Facility website:

 [ send green star]
 March 07, 2007 7:30 PM

Hot Coffee, Cold Wages
By Andy Davey, YES! Education Outreach Intern

Recently hitting national movie screens is Black Gold, a documentary about the coffee industry that follows Tadesee Meskela, a courageous advocate of Ethiopian farmers. Tadesee asks farmers what they think a cup of coffee costs in America. The farmers, who receive 23 cents for a kilo—which produces roughly 80 cups o' joe—are stunned when told one cup is $3.00.

The price we pay as American consumers—and profits made for the corporations—doesn't relate equitably to the earnings of Ethiopian coffee farmers. Why the disparity? Is our desire for a morning java infringing on the human and economic rights of these farmers?

Here's one YES! story on Fair Trade—a movement seeking to decrease the disparity:

Java Justice
Shows the work of one coffee cooperative in Uganda to raise the earnings of coffee farmers and create religious harmony, too, between Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Ask your students to find out about the coffee that's consumed in their homes and neighborhood coffee shops.

"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion
thrown from the table of someone who considers himself
my master. I want the full menu of rights."
Bishop Desmond Tutu

 [ send green star]
 February 02, 2007 3:44 AM


As part of his ongoing consultations with WTO members on how to move
forward the trade talks, Director-General Pascal Lamy will tour East
Africa on 1-6 February 2007. He will meet the Presidents of Uganda,
Tanzania and Kenya, government representatives, parliamentarians, civil
society and business leaders in these countries.
> Press release:

 [ send green star]
 December 12, 2006 2:07 PM

Oxfam AmericaDonate NowTell A Friend

Dear Michael,

Earlier this month, Starbucks CEO Jim Donald met Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to discuss Ethiopia's ownership of its coffee names and the benefits that ownership could bring to the 15 million poor Ethiopians who depend on coffee for their livelihood. Unfortunately, Starbucks has yet to agree that Ethiopia should own its coffee names.

Join Oxfam and thousands of others around the globe as we amplify the voices of Ethiopian farmers at a Starbucks day of action on December 16th.

Click here to download a Starbucks fact sheet, then sign it and deliver it to your local Starbucks on Saturday, December 16th.

It's a simple but effective action. You hand the fact sheet to whoever makes your coffee, and thousands of Starbucks employees pass our message up the chain of command.

Many Starbucks employees have asked to know more about the campaign. We need your help to let them know the facts. The best way to do this is to go into a Starbucks store, ask for a cup of Ethiopian coffee, and give the employee the fact sheet to educate them about the plight of Ethiopian coffee farmers.

Remember, Starbucks has a team of lawyers to protect its name; the Ethiopian coffee farmer has you. If you are interested in participating in a conference call to learn more about how you can help, click here and we'll send you more information.

Thank you again for your support!


Tim Fullerton
Oxfam America

 [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Petition. Need signatures and help November 20, 2006 2:43 PM

Rebeca has received 12 new, 364 total stars from Care2 membersRebeca has been awarded 55 butterflies for taking action at Care2 Rebeca C.

Dear friends...
This time it's mine. Please sign and pass along.
Also, can anyone help me figure out what to do once a bunch of signatures have been collected. This is my first petition and could use some advice.

Border Fauna in danger of Extintion

The U.S. government has voted for the construction of a wall between Mexico and U.S creating an enormous wildlife barrier. The construction of this wall will: - prevent wildlife migrations between the two countries - destroy the habitat of endangered species - cause water pollution - destroy environmental resources along the border thus further hurting the recovery of endangered especies such as the Jaguar, Sonoran Pronghorn, and Mexican Gray Wolf. We appeal to the U.S. government to work closely with conservation organisations and make use of their technological and economic power to find alternatives to the border planned to be built between Mexico and the U.S which do not cause further damage to endangered species and their environment.
While we recognise that the US is entitled to let in whoever they please, border control should not extend to animals, especially endangered species who have used their routes long before humans started dividing the natural world with borders and fences.

 [ send green star]  [ accepted]
For fair trade coffee and chocolate, etc.... November 19, 2006 2:07 PM

Shop at for the holidays!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 November 18, 2006 9:44 PM

New York, Nov 16 2006  4:00PM
Global seaborne trade, measured by tons of goods loaded, expanded by 3.8 per cent in 2005, the second consecutive year of increase and is expected to grow at roughly the same rate in 2006, according to the United Nations Review of Maritime Transport.

The global total for 2005 was 7.11 billion tons. The expansion was about one-fifth lower than the 4.1 per cent increase of 2004, but there was a significant rise among developing countries, which experienced a growth rate of 6.2 per cent. Developed nations saw a growth of 2.7 per cent.

Maritime activity, as measured in ton-miles, increased in 2005 to 29,045 billion ton-miles, up from 27,635 billion ton-miles in 2004.

The Review is compiled by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (<"
UNCTAD)," target="new945444224">">UNCTAD), which was established in 1964 to promote the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. It functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, undertakes research and policy analysis and provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries.

There was a significant increase in the world’s merchant fleet, which grew to 960 million deadweight tons (dwt) by the beginning of 2006, an increase of 7.2 per cent, the highest expansion in merchant ship capacity since 1989, when the fleet began its recovery from the 1980s shipping slump.

But the main operational productivity indicators for the world fleet in 2005 – tons carried per dwt and thousands of ton-miles per dwt – were 7.4 and 30.3 cent respectively, marginal decreases from 2004.

During the period 2003-2005, the economic performance of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa remained below that recorded by developing economies as a whole. In 2005, the total tonnage of the African merchant fleet, including the open registry of Liberia, reached 98,563 thousand dwt, or 10.3 per cent of the world total.

The share of Sub-Saharan African countries in the African merchant fleet, excluding major open registry, increased to 41.7 per cent. The average age of African developing countries’ merchant fleet, not taking into account major open registry, is 20.5 years, considerably older than the world average
 [ send green star]
 October 27, 2006 8:28 PM


Germany’s contribution to the Standards and Trade Development Facility
(STDF) will assist developing countries in improving compliance with
international sanitary and phytosanitary standards which must be met if
imports of certain products are to gain access to foreign markets.
> Press release:
> More on technical assistance:
> More on the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF):
> More on Germany:

 [ send green star]
 October 26, 2006 8:18 PM

NAFTA fails workers

ImageTwelve years after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the US, Canada and Mexico, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has released a report detailing the trade deal’s effects on the economies, working people and the labor markets of all three nations. NAFTA has not lived up to its promise of better jobs and faster growth. Instead, inequality is growing and real wages are stagnating in all three countries, while the US-NAFTA trade deficit has skyrocketed. In his introduction to the report, Jeff Faux, EPI Distinguished Fellow and author of The Global Class War, says “NAFTA rules protect the interests of large corporate investors while undercutting workers’ rights, environmental protections, and democratic accountability…The time for a continent-wide debate over the future of this agreement, which was negotiated by and for the rich and powerful in all three countries, is now overdue.” Read the report on

 [ send green star]
Nafta Video October 03, 2006 10:22 AM

This is a great discussion group. I believe that the best way to address global poverty is to trade wisely. See how NAFTA has made poverty worse in Mexico.

NAFTA: Ten Years of Broken Promises

The North American Free Trade Agreement was supposed to raise living standards for both American and Mexican workers. Instead America has lost jobs by the thousands and Mexican workers are being exploited. Now the Bush Administration wants to extend the same types of agreements to the rest of Latin America, China and India. Tell Congress not to accept these exploitive agreements.

 [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 October 01, 2006 8:06 PM

New York, Sep 28 2006  4:00PM
The head of the United Nations agency that seeks to integrate developing countries into the global economy has called for the speedy resumption of the so-called Doha round of trade talks, underlining the critical need to open up industrialized nations’ markets to agricultural and other exports from the world’s poorer states.

“The suspension of the talks hurts the world’s poorest most acutely,” UN Conference on Trade and Development (<"
UNCTAD)" target="new1890221761">">UNCTAD) Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi told the organization’s governing body in Geneva yesterday.

“Countries’ prospects for export-led growth and development have diminished with the suspension of the Doha Round,” he said, referring to the talks which have been in limbo for months, partly over subsidies from wealthy nations to their agricultural industries, tariffs and quotas, which all shut poorer agricultural countries out of the market.

“The distortions caused by subsidies in world agricultural trade will persist at the current level, thereby jeopardizing the prospects of developing countries to generate additional export revenue and income from agricultural exports, including cotton,” he added.

But if the current round of negotiations concluded with a substantial development-oriented outcome, it could bring gains for economic growth and poverty alleviation.

On Monday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the world’s wealthy countries to “go the extra mile” to re-balance the rules of the trading system in favour of the poor and push ahead as soon as possible with the Doha Round.

“I join developing and least developed countries in calling for the round to resume as soon as possible,” he said in a message to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum in Geneva.

 [ send green star]
 October 01, 2006 7:54 PM

New York, Sep 26 2006  7:00PM
Ministers from a number of small island developing States were joined by other speakers at the United Nations today in calling for efforts to combat global warming, achieve energy efficiency and boost trade to protect susceptible countries from environmental and economic shocks.

Petrus Compton, the Foreign Minister of Saint Lucia, said small island developing States everywhere are extremely vulnerable to the impact of climate change. People in the tropics are endangered by sea-level rise while others are faced with “unprecedented and accelerated thawing of ice caps, and the consequent loss of land mass.”

The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has reached “dangerous levels,” he warned, calling for urgent measures to reverse the situation. “The international community, and in particular our developed partners, need to take more aggressive action to promote the development and distribution of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in developed and developing countries alike,” he added, advocating the establishment of a global renewable energy and energy efficiency fund.

Sato Kilman, the Foreign Minister of Vanuatu, also spotlighted the problem of global warming. “My Government strongly aligns itself with other small island States in urging the international community to reduce emissions,” he said. “The failure of major emitters to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol is a major disappointment.”

He also said that Vanuatu was recently recognized by the “happy planet index” published by the British New Economics Foundation as the happiest place on earth. While voicing pride in the distinction, he added: “But we have been careful not to be carried away… so often it is this island paradox that conceals the diverse development challenges small island countries of the Pacific, like Vanuatu, face in today’s world of globalization.”

The Foreign Minister of Fiji said his country is “a small island developing State with a highly vulnerable economy.” He pointed out that the country’s economy is over 70 per cent dependent on export trade to earn foreign exchange and meet development needs.

The multilateral trading rules emanating from the World Trade Organization (<"">WTO) “are not fair and equitable, given our developmental status, geography and size.” He said proposals for change “have not effectively addressed the multiplicity of problems we are facing.” To correct this, he called on UN members to work “towards an early resumption of the suspended WTO talks.”

Eamon Courtenay, the Foreign Minister of Belize, said the WTO had worsened conditions for his country. “Since Doha,” he said, referring to the ‘development round’ of the trade talks, “a panel set up by the WTO decided that the European Union (EU) organization of its sugar market was incompatible with WTO rules. To solve that problem, Belizean sugar farmers now get paid less for the sugar exported to the EU. The WTO has made them worse off.”

He charged that there is “something inherently wrong” with a system which promises development and delivers lower prices for exports. “There is something fundamentally unfair in a system which promises a development agenda and delivers suspended negotiations and less market access to vulnerable economies.”

“To a small island developing State, there are few thing more important than securing the necessary assistance in order to build resilience against the many hazards that afflict the country on a consistent basis, including the violent storms that pass through our region even more frequently as a result of global warming,” said Fredrick Mitchell, the Foreign Minister of the Bahamas.

He said these vulnerable nations “look to our partners to take further action to reduce greenhouse gases, and call on those countries that have not yet done so to sign the Kyoto Protocol” – a legally binding instrument that mandates the reduction of greenhouse gases. He also called for the development of alternative sources of energy “to make us less dependent on the current polluting technologies that supply our energy needs but threat our sustainability.”

Guyana’s Foreign Minister, Rudolph Insanally, called attention to the fragility of the world’s ecosystem. “Witness the increasing number of earthquakes, tropical storms and hurricanes which cause catastrophic damage,” he said, recalling that less than a year ago, a flood resulted in damage amounting to 60 per cent of Guyana’s gross domestic product (GDP).

He called for the establishment of early warning systems across the globe and said resources should be provided to the UN to facilitate early responses and recovery. “Disaster mitigation should, in short, now become an integral part of our partnership agenda.”

Anthony Hylton, the Foreign Minister of Jamaica, also decried the stalemate and breakdown in the Doha round of negotiations. “Perhaps even more significant is that in the negotiations that did take place, the development dimension, especially as this relates to the small and vulnerable economies such as Jamaica, was conspicuously absent from the debate,” he said. “These issues must be addressed in any effort to restart the negotiations.”

Any viable and equitable trade regime must take account of the wide disparity in structural characteristics among the many members of the WTO and adjust accordingly, he said, adding that this should “include the differences in levels of development among the economies and the  [ send green star]
 October 01, 2006 10:44 AM

Thanks Mari for sharing with us, as October as fair Trade Month.  [ send green star]
OCTOBER IS FAIR TRADE MONTH! October 01, 2006 8:19 AM

Save The Habitat.

Save The Species.


We search the world over to not only bring you the finest
handcrafted goods, but also to provide low-income artisans and farmers with a living wage for their work. Shop our Fair Trade department this October and beyond to help support the families of poor artisans and refugees around the world:

Thanks for shopping where you save 1,145 square feet of
forestland with every item you purchase!


Thank you for your support! Have a great weekend.


The Rainforest Site
 [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 September 05, 2006 7:40 PM

The Finnish government has donated EUR 500,000 to support technical
assistance and training activities in favour of least-developed countries.
> Press release:
> More on Technical Assistance:
> More on Finland:

 [ send green star]
 September 03, 2006 9:23 PM

New York, Aug 31 2006  7:00PM
Although a major global economic crisis is unlikely, significant trade imbalances are posing a threat to long-term world economic health, a new United Nations report warns.          

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (<"
UNCTAD)," target="new772997421">">UNCTAD), in its annual report released today, characterizes the global economy as one of “relatively fast growth in developing countries, driven by strong global demand originating mainly in the United States and amplified by the rapid expansion of the large Chinese economy.”          

The <"
report" target="new772997421">">report finds little evidence of a looming major financial crisis, comparable to the Asian or Latin American crises of 10 years ago.          

It notes that many developing countries are now less vulnerable to big shocks because they have stabilized their exchange rates at low levels and are running sizeable current-account surpluses and accumulating large amounts of dollar reserves.          

That approach poses a problem, however, because it “can only function as long as there is at least one country in the global economy that accepts running the corresponding trade deficit,” the report says.          

That country, the US, has become overburdened in its role as “global engine for growth.”  UNCTAD economists fear that, at some point, American demand will no longer be able to act as a bulwark against worldwide deflation and recession.          

They add that other key industrial countries have not only failed to play their part, but have actually added to the US’ burden by running up huge surpluses of their own.          

They say countries like Japan and Germany must increase their domestic demand to prevent a sharp devaluation of the American dollar that could send shocks reverberating throughout the developing world.          

The report notes that China’s surging domestic demand and imports have played a positive and vital role in spreading and sustaining global growth.  To prevent that process from being derailed, its currency, the renminbi, should not be revalued too quickly.          

UNCTAD economists say that redressing global imbalances requires a responsible multilateral effort rather than pressure on the developing world.          

“A well-coordinated international macroeconomic approach would considerably enhance the chances of poorer countries being able to preserve and continue recent improvements in their growth performances,” the report notes.
 [ send green star]
 August 23, 2006 7:05 PM

WTO talks: dead or just sleeping?
The collapse of the WTO talks is a tragedy, a tragedy engineered by Northern governments, who have put the interests of 'their' multinational companies before the interests of the planet as a whole?, says PSI?s Mike Waghorne. For a closer look at the reasons behind the failure of the talks, see 

 [ send green star]
World Trade- GATT DOCUMENTS. August 01, 2006 7:42 PM

On 15 May 2006 the General Council decided to make public all official
documents issued under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
Many of these documents did not exist electronically, and have been
scanned to create a digital archive. This is a work in progress —
cataloguing is not completed, and refinements to structure and help files
will be added at a later date. Of the roughly 88,000 documents issued
under GATT, about 51,000 are available through the link below.
> Find out more at:

 [ send green star]

Current trade problems and developments

Commodity prices and output

 [ send green star]

Government subsidies can be useful instruments in correcting market
failures and working towards social objectives but can also distort trade
and provoke strong responses from trading partners, according to the WTO’s
2006 World Trade Report which was launched today (24 July 2006).
> Press release:
> Audio: Highlights from the press conference:
> More on the World Trade Report:

 [ send green star]
World Trade Taks Suspended, July 24, 2006 7:27 PM

The Doha Development Agenda negotiations are to be suspended because gaps
between key players remain too wide. Heads of delegations, speaking in an
informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee on 24 July 2006,
agreed with WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy that this will be a setback
for all members.
> News item:
> Statement by Pascal Lamy at the informal Trade Negotiations Committee
> Audio: Statement by Pascal Lamy at the informal Trade Negotiations
Committee meeting:
> Audio: Highlights from the press conference:

 [ send green star]

The Council for Trade in Goods, on 12 July 2006, approved the European
Communities' request for a waiver on its trade preference scheme for the
Western Balkans and agreed to forward it to the General Council for
> News item:
> More on General Council:

 [ send green star]
World Trade talked about at the G8 Summit. July 17, 2006 7:36 PM

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy's consultations have only shown
"marginal" movement in the negotiations and the responsibility now lies
with leaders of the major economies to give their ministers more room to
negotiate, he told the Group of Eight Summit in St. Petersburg on 17 July
> Speech:
> G8 statement on Trade:

 [ send green star]
 July 15, 2006 7:49 PM

New York, Jul 10 2006  5:00PM
Developing countries, including the poorest 50 among them, are on track in 2006 to continue the impressive 6.0 per cent growth rate of the past two years, but are threatened by volatility in commodity prices and interest rates, according to a new United Nations report.

“Primary commodity exporting countries should be vigilant about the risk of a sharp reversal in prices,” according to the UN World Economic Situation and Prospects, released at the current session of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva.

The report predicts that the 50 least developed countries (LDC will reach an unprecedented overall growth rate of over 7 per cent this year, as compared with 2.7 per cent for the industrialized world.

Burgeoning economic expansion in some large developing economies, particularly China, has continued to push demand for primary commodities along with non-economic factors such as geopolitical uncertainty and market speculation.

But such factors, the report warns, are highly volatile, and could be made more so by such possibilities as a sudden and sharp devaluation of an already weakened dollar due to high United States debt.

Given such threats and in order to protect and consolidate the broad-based world economic growth of the last few years, the report says that greater international cooperation is required, particularly to redress the global imbalances while avoiding recessionary adjustment in the US.

“Coordinated global adjustment will require measures that will stimulate savings in the deficit countries and domestic demand in the surplus countries,” it says.

 [ send green star]
 July 15, 2006 7:39 PM

New York, Jul  7 2006 12:00PM
In a bid to make access to low-cost credit easier in many countries and boost economic development, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (<"">UNCITRAL), today agreed on key principles of an international legislative guide for loans that are guaranteed by collateral.                

Resulting from UNCITRAL’s session in New York that ends today, the proposed guide on such “secured transactions,” which will be the culmination of several years’ drafting by the organization, is designed to give countries a template for how they should frame their domestic legislation, and will address rights of holders of collateral in movable property such as inventory, equipment and receivables.                

New provisions on arbitration reflect the need to align the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, concluded in 1985 and already adopted by some 50 States, with current practices in international trade, the organization explained.                

“These   provisions, together with appropriate explanatory material, will significantly update the provisions of the Model Law and facilitate the use of arbitration as a method of settling disputes arising in the context of international commercial relations,” it said.                

UNCITRAL is the core legal body of the UN in dealing with international trade law, and aims to harmonize and modernize the rules of international business.        
 [  [ send green star]
World Trade Organization--News Articles.--July. July 12, 2006 7:35 PM

The Japanese government has donated Yen 50 million (CHF 572,727) to
finance 2006 technical assistance and training activities organized by the
> Press release:

The Government of the Czech Republic has given CZK 1,5 million (CHF
76,173) to the WTO Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund.
> Press release:

> More on technical assistance:

(Click on the links or copy and paste them into your browser.
Alternatively, you can go to our home page and follow
the links.)

 [ send green star]
World Trade Organization--News Articles. July 11, 2006 7:22 PM

Director-General Pascal Lamy, on 10 July 2006, welcomed the Negotiating
Group on Rules' formal approval of a new WTO transparency mechanism for
all regional trade agreements (RTAs).
>  News item:

Director-General Pascal Lamy, in a statement to the National Press Club in
Tokyo on 6 July, said that “if members are serious about creating a more
open, equitable and relevant trading system, there is no option but to
move now”. He stressed that the trade talks need Japan's help, adding that
he would expand his consultations to other G-6 countries on his return to
> Speech:

The two IF management bodies, the IF Working Group and the IF Steering
Committee adopted, on 5 July 2006, the recommendations for an enhanced
Integrated Framework.
> News item:

(Click on the links or copy and paste them into your browser.
Alternatively, you can go to our home page and follow
the links.)

 [ send green star]
 July 08, 2006 10:34 PM

New York, Jul  5 2006  1:00PM
Highlighting recent developments in the world economy, a senior United Nations trade and development official has recommended strengthened macroeconomic policy coordination to lessen the impact of global imbalances, particularly on the growth prospects of developing countries.

Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), also said that strengthened macroeconomic coordination was needed to improve the coherence between international trading and financial systems, because unlike global trade, international money and finance is not organized around core principles and any of its adverse effects can be very damaging.

“Of course, the correction of the global imbalances must not be deflationary if the momentum towards meeting the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) is to be maintained,” he told a high-level policy dialogue of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva, referring to the set of eight targets for tackling poverty, illiteracy and other global ills by 2015.

“Accordingly, we believe that the most promising approach to achieving an orderly adjustment would be through global macroeconomic policy coordination, involving also the major developing economies…Strengthened macroeconomic policy coordination is also necessary to improve the coherence between the international trading and financial systems.”

Mr. Panitchpakdi went on to say that a global monetary authority such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could play an important role in strengthening the international institutional framework in the monetary and financial area.

He also praised the many recent initiatives taken to cancel the debt of the poorest developing countries and emphasized that UNCTAD, as the lead agency for trade and development within the UN system, remained ready to bring its knowledge and expertise to assist developing countries in benefiting from the international trading system.

 [ send green star]
 July 08, 2006 10:33 PM

New York, Jul  5 2006 10:00AM
Although farm production is expanding faster in developing countries than in developed economies, the poorest nations will be increasingly dependent on world markets and thus more vulnerable to price fluctuations because their own growth is not keeping pace with their population increase, according to a new United Nation report.              

The joint study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the 30-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) of industrialized nations calls for greater investment in education, training and infrastructure in these countries to improve production capacity.            

Brazil, India and China are increasingly important in shaping the future of world agricultural trade, according to the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2006-2015.            

In developing countries as a whole rising incomes and increasing urbanization are changing people’s diets, leading to greater demand for and imports of meat and processed foods in particular, but also for the animal feed needed for their production.            

Growing market opportunities in certain developing countries are coupled with a shift in production and exports of farm commodities away from OECD countries towards other developing economies. This is expected to increase over the next 10 years and as a result global competition among exporters will get tougher, the report says.            

The traditional main wheat exporters - Argentina, Australia, Canada, the European Union (EU) and the United States - are likely to maintain their dominant positions, but output from Ukraine and Kazakhstan is creating growing competition. The US is expected to remain the largest wheat exporter in coming years but its market share is likely to fall.            

Similar trends prevail in other commodity markets, with rapidly growing exports from Latin American countries in particular. Global average yields for wheat and coarse grains like maize should rise by around 1 per cent a year between 2006 and 2015. Wheat and coarse grain output by 2015 is expected to be 13 per cent and 18 per cent higher respectively than in 2005.            

With likely strong energy prices, production of bioenergy from coarse grains and other cereals, oilseeds and sugar is expected to grow, creating additional demand, especially for coarse grains to produce bio-diesel as a substitute for oil-based fossil fuels.            

International meat markets are expected to grow in the medium term, but they remain vulnerable to animal disease outbreaks in key supplying countries. Potential further outbreaks of BSE (mad cow disease), foot-and-mouth disease, and bird flu will challenge markets and affect trading patterns, requiring greater international cooperation.            

Productivity growth and increased competition in international trade are expected to offset rising demand, and world agricultural commodity prices, adjusted for inflation, are mostly expected to continue their long-term decline, albeit slowly, towards 2015.              

 [ send green star]
 July 08, 2006 10:22 PM

New York, Jul  3 2006 10:00AM
With crucial agricultural genetic resources at risk, developing countries should be enabled to fully exploit biotechnology tools to stop the decline of biodiversity and use their wealth of such resources as an insurance against climatic and other changes, according to a new United Nations study released today.          

“The ability to apply these biotechnologies in developing countries is currently limited by the lack of sufficient funds, human capacity and adequate infrastructure,” says the study, edited by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (<"">FAO) Working Group on Biotechnology.          

Crop, forest, animal and fish genetic resources represent an insurance against future changes in production and climatic conditions or in market needs, but they are endangered by such factors as overexploitation, replacement of local crops and livestock with foreign species or breeds and habitat change and destruction, FAO notes.          

The need to conserve genetic resources for food and agriculture is essential and was recently highlighted at the first meeting of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture last month. They are also a source of material for scientific research as well as a cultural and historical part of mankind’s heritage.          

The study seeks to shed light on the potential role and importance that biotechnology tools, in particular the use of molecular markers, may have for agricultural genetic resources in developing countries.          

Numerous new and old biotechnologies provide a broad collection of tools that can be applied for a range of different purposes such as genetic improvement, disease diagnosis, and vaccine development. They include molecular markers, cryo-preservation and reproductive technologies that can be used directly for the characterization and/or conservation of genetic resources for food and agriculture.          

The capacities of developing countries can be strengthened through greater collaboration among research institutions in different developing countries and also between industrialized and developing countries.          

The FAO and the centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) as well as other organizations and non-governmental organizations could help to coordinate these collaborative efforts and support capacity-building activities.            

 [ send green star]
 July 04, 2006 7:49 PM

The WTO will host its sixth Public Forum on 25-26 September 2006 on the
theme “What WTO for the 21st Century”. It is inviting participants from
civil society, business, academia, media, parliaments and WTO members.
> Information site:

 [ send green star]
 July 02, 2006 7:50 PM

On the Right Path to Development: African Countries Pave the Way
> By Carin Smaller and Sophia Murphy
> Commentary June 16, 2006
> Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
> [Excerpts. For full text see]
> The June 7 proposal by the African Group (an alliance of 41 African
> countries) to the WTO on managing trade in agricultural commodities
> is a refreshing way forward for addressing poverty and improving
> living standards in rural areas in the context of the Doha Agenda.
> The proposal emphasizes the need to ensure stable, equitable and
> remunerative prices for commodity producers and to deal with
> structural oversupplies in commodity markets. The proposal lays
> down a challenge to WTO members: are they serious about doing
> something for development with the Doha Agenda or not? ...
> Since the Doha Ministerial Conference in November 2001, a group of
> African countries including Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania,
> Uganda and Zimbabwe, has called for WTO Members to address the
> rural crisis in developing countries that arises from the decline
> in prices of commodities. This group of African countries has
> emphasized the negative effects of the "colossal power asymmetry"
> in commodity markets, which allows a small number of multinational
> companies to gain an ever-increasing share of the profits from
> commodities trade, leaving producers in developing countries unable
> to get a fair price for what they produce. To date, the majority of
> WTO members have not given serious consideration to these concerns
> although the declining price of agricultural commodities remains a
> serious obstacle to reducing poverty levels and to securing
> benefits from expanding global trade for many developing countries.
> On June 7, the African Group took a stand on these vital issues.
> The proposal by the African Group identifies four areas for
> inclusion in the Doha negotiations:
> (1) The elimination of tariff escalation where it discourages
> development. Tariff escalation describes a tariff structure in
> which tariffs increase as products are transformed from their raw
> state into a processed good. For example, tariffs on raw cotton are
> typically lower than tariffs on clothing. Tariff escalation al-
> lows developed countries to import raw materials at low cost from
> developing countries for their own industries but protects
> developed country industry from value-added imports, which
> discourages industrial development in developing countries.
> (2) The adoption of international systems to manage the supply of
> commodities so as to stabilize prices. For commodities like coffee
> or cocoa, world prices are severely distorted by the structural
> oversupply of the commodities on inter- national markets.
> Oversupply has depressed prices with devastating effects for
> small-scale coffee and cocoa producers.
> (3) To allow the use of export taxes and export restrictions to
> stabilize commodity prices. Major suppliers of commodities to world
> markets, or a number of suppliers acting in concert, can thereby
> avoid sharp declines in the world price when supplies increase.
> This also allows countries to slow exports if they want to retain
> commodities for their own food security. And it offers countries
> another option for increasing government revenue.
> (4) To negotiate more concrete disciplines to eliminate non-tariff
> barriers that affect commodity trade. Non-tariff barriers can
> include health and safety standards and packaging requirements that
> are essential to any country's trade regulation. However, other
> non-tariff barriers can be used as a way to keep out imports,
> unfairly discriminating against producers and exporters from poorer
> countries. A better system at the multilateral level is needed to
> ensure that any standards put in place are the result of a
> participatory process, ideally one that provides funding to
> commodity producers to raise the quality of their goods.
> The proposal from the Africa Group is an important initiative. By
> calling for systems of supply management, the proposal offers
> meaningful alternatives to tackle the root causes of dumping (the
> sale of exports at prices below the cost of production). ...
> These are proposals that farm organizations the world over support.
> Farm organizations in the U.S. as in Kenya know that their biggest
> challenge is stopping the steady (and sometimes precipitous)
> decline in farm income - they know export expansion, lower
> tariffs, disciplines on export subsidies may all have their merits
> as trade policy, but in the markets in which farmers (not brokers
> or processors or retailers) actually trade, these policies have
> done nothing to support employment (on-farm or in the
 [ send green star]
Un Fair Trade by the U.S and E.U. July 02, 2006 7:46 PM

The Doha Deception Round: how the US and EU cheated developing
> countries at the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial
> June 29, 2006
> Media Summary
> [For full text of the summary and the full report, visit
> Threats, deception and manipulation are the underhand negotiating
> tactics used by rich countries such as the EU and US in the current
> round of global trade talks, warns ActionAid in a new report, 'The
> Doha Deception Round: How the US and EU cheated developing
> countries at the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial.'
> Power politics, exclusive meetings, diplomatic arm-twisting and
> 'take-it-or-leave-it' ultimatums are leading to a final trade deal
> that will not alleviate poverty and that could have a devastating
> impact on millions of people worldwide.
> Poor countries should not be forced to accept a bad deal at any
> price and should make history and reject it.
> Hardball tactics by the EU and US are undermining the very goal of
> the current trade talks known as the 'Doha development round' which
> is supposed to have the interests of poverty and development at its
> heart rather than leading simply to more trade liberalisation in
> favour of rich countries.
> The WTO and its chief Pascal Lamy take much of the blame for
> allowing and even encouraging a growing reliance on exclusive and
> informal negotiations which have become the norm over the past two
> years and which help the big players skew the Doha round, warns the
> study. ...
> To highlight the unfairness of current practices at the WTO,
> ActionAid looks at the lessons of the WTO ministerial conference in
> Hong Kong in December 2005. These practices are set to intensify in
> Geneva in the final stages of the WTO negotiations.
> The Hong Kong ministerial was riddled with pitfalls for developing
> countries, it says:
> * Invitation-only 'green room' negotiation sessions organised by
> the WTO leadership completely undermined the so-called 'democratic'
> decision-making process
> * Round-the-clock talks ground down overstretched and exhausted
> developing country negotiators who were unable to stand up to rich
> countries with far bigger delegations.
> * Divide-and-rule tactics used by developed countries to drive
> wedges among developing nations, ranging from trying to buy them
> off with vague promises and spin about development deals to
> providing heavy-handed "friendly advice" and pressure on their
> political leaders.
> * An eleventh hour take-it-or-leave-it 'consensus' deal brokered by
> the few which left the majority with no choice between the rubber
> stamp or the extreme option of rejecting the whole package. If they
> rejected the deal they fear they would be blamed for wrecking the
> conference, the Doha Round and even the global trading system.
> Hong Kong was billed as a milestone in efforts to complete the Doha
> Round this year. Such moves were based on ground rules set in the
> July Framework which was hatched by 'key' WTO governments in 2004
> and then handed down to the rest of the membership. The process was
> compounded by a string of so-called 'mini-ministerials' and other
> gatherings of self-selected WTO members. ...
> It is now clear the EU and US are pursuing an aggressive trade
> liberalisation agenda and are offering very little in exchange. The
> report concludes that developing countries do best when they stick
> together in coalitions and resist divide-and-rule tactics.
> Developing countries should dismiss the argument that any deal is
> better than no deal: as things stand, no deal is better than a bad
> deal for developing countries. ...
> The report is based on 37 in-depth interviews with negotiators,
> diplomats and others who were deeply involved in the Hong Kong
> conference. For reasons of confidentiality, their names are not
> revealed. It looks at a number of examples to show what was wrong
> in Hong Kong, providing a snapshot of some of the deep-rooted
> problems in the WTO process.
> Green rooms and the myth of democracy and transparency
> The 'bottom-up' approach was the big buzzword in Hong Kong. The
> theory was - and remains - that the negotiation process should be
> driven by all WTO members rather than being imposed upon them. At
> the end of the conference, Pascal Lamy told journalists that
> consensus had been reached after hundreds of meetings and other
> consultations among members and between different regional
> groupings in the WTO.
> ...In reality, the decision-making hinged on green room talks
> between a few countries deemed to represent the main interests of
> members, with Brazil and India and a sprinkling of other called in
> to represent the developing world. ...
> According to an African trade negotiator: "Ultimately, the real
> forum of negotiations was the green room and whatever you said in
> the other rooms didn't matter. What mattered was the position of
> the big guys and what they felt they could deliver." ...
>  [ send green star]
Africa: Doha Deception Round.--Fair Trade Article. July 02, 2006 7:34 PM

Africa: Doha Deception Round
> AfricaFocus Bulletin
> Jul 1, 2006 (060701)
> (Reposted from sources cited below)
> Editor's Note
> As negotiators again reported "no progress" at international trade
> negotiations in Geneva, 100 developing nations released a statement
> saying they were still willing to negotiate but that the chasm
> between the views of rich and poor countries was huge. Even if a
> face-saving agreement is reached over the next months, critics said
> that major powers had already demonstrated that they had no
> interest in proposals to address developing country concerns.
> One such proposal, presented in early June by the Africa group,
> focused on measures to address the long-term crisis in trade in
> agricultural commodities on which many developing countries are
> still dependent.
> This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from a media summary of
> a new report by ActionAid International
> ( on "The Doha Deception Round," and
> summary of the June Africa Group proposal on trade in commodities
> by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
> (, as well as links to further documentation.
> For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on trade issues, see

 [ send green star]
 July 01, 2006 10:36 PM

New York, Jun 29 2006  2:00PM
Developing countries of Asia and the Pacific need bold new domestic policies in order to benefit from free trade, and industrialized economies should back fairer trade rules giving poorer nations the chance to compete in the global marketplace, according to a new United Nations report that lays out an eight-point strategy for development.

The UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2006 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, “<I>Trade on Human Terms: Transforming Trade for Human Development in Asia and the Pacific</I>,” was released today in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and is the first in a new annual series, the agency said in a <"
press" target="new1924415580">">press release.

Trade" target="new1924415580">">Trade on Human Terms</I> comes at a critical time with only a few months left before the end-of-year deadline for the completion of the Doha Development Round. We are at the midpoint of the 10-year Brussels Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries and have less than a decade to achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals,” said <"UNDP" target="new1924415580">">UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis, referring to targets to slash a host of ills, such as extreme hunger and poverty, by 2015.

Among the findings included in the report is that Asia’s opening to the global market has propelled record economic growth and reduced income poverty in much of the region. Its cheap, labour-intensive manufacturing and high-tech goods have made it the “factory of the world.” East Asia’s “miracle” economies, in particular, have used trade to boost exports and accelerate progress in other areas including education, health and gender equality.

Yet at the same time, trade has exacerbated inequalities, not only between countries but also within national borders. And some of the region’s most open economies – particularly the East Asian success stories – are grappling with the challenge of “jobless growth,” with job creation lagging far behind workforce expansion.

Further, the benefits of free trade have accrued more to highly-paid skilled workers than unskilled workers, while job opportunities and working conditions for women in textiles and clothing in the poorer countries are threatened by competition from China and the demise of global quotas.

“Asia and the Pacific have embraced globalization, but globalization cannot embrace the region’s poor without determined action on the part of governments,” said Hafiz A. Pasha, the Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, who launched the report at a ceremony with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.  

The report also highlights that some parts of Asia-Pacific – especially the 14 Least Developed Countries that include Cambodia – and the Pacific Island countries, have seen few tangible human-development benefits from trade and also face tough conditions for membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO).  

“Due to the tyranny of averages, the relatively poor performance of Asia’s Least Developed Countries gets little attention,” said Anuradha K. Rajivan, who led the Colombo-based multinational team that prepared the Report for UNDP.

Key recommendations in the report call for investing in for national governments to make trade work for the poor are:

<li>Invest for competitiveness, including in education as well as in research and development, especially for agriculture and trade-related infrastructure

<li>Adopt strategic trade and industrial policies, by not opening up too early strategic industries and by introducing properly sequenced tariff barriers with a clear timeframe

<li>Refocus on agriculture, emphasizing investment in rural development, maintaining tariffs on food imports, and ensuring that global trade negotiations agree on special safeguard mechanisms

<li>Combat “jobless growth,” by recalibrating interest rates; phasing out fiscal incentives that artificially raise the return on capital and result in moves away from labour; and adopting labour-market policies to encourage flexibility and retraining

<li>Prepare a new tax regime, ensuring that new taxes are equitable and protect the poor; develop income taxes and curb evasion, while exploring promising new areas such as real estate, capital gains and value-added tax to compensate for revenue losses from trade liberalization

<li>Maintain stable exchange rates, providing realistic exchange-rate management that values a currency neither too high nor too low and maintains real stability

<li>Persist with multilateralism, for more durable human-development outcomes, building up slower but ultimately more productive relationships under the multilateral global trade regime rather than seeking highly imbalanced bilateral agreements with rich nations and

<li>Promote regional cooperation, strengthening regional trade agreements, pooling of foreign-exchange reserves and development of an Asian bond market.

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Food and Agriculture U.N.--Website link. July 01, 2006 10:04 PM  [ send green star]
 June 02, 2006 11:01 PM

Help Krug-Mondavi workers save their jobs

Charles Krug-Mondavi vineyard workers are requesting your help to save their jobs. These wine workers voted for the United Farm Workers in 1975.  Since then they have had to fight to get and keep their UFW contract as the company sternly resisted union representation (see chronology).  When their latest UFW agreement expired Dec. 31, 2005, the giant Krug-Mondavi company vowed to fire all the workers on July 1, 2006 and turn over operations to a land manager as a cost-savings measure.  

At the same time this major winery is pleading poverty to its dedicated workers, it is in the midst of a $21.6 million capital improvement drive on its 850 prime Napa Valley acres.
At 12 noon today, Friday, June 2, vineyard workers and supporters are demonstrating outside the Krug-Mondavi winery. Workers are announcing that unless Krug-Mondavi negotiates in good faith with the UFW for a renewed contract, they will call for a nationwide boycott. 
The UFW is filing formal charges today against Krug-Mondavi with the state farm labor board for bad-faith bargaining and discrimination. Krug-Mondavi has also been beset by complaints of sexual harassment by its foremen filed by women workers.
Krug-Mondavi's web site boasts about "the history and tradition that our family is proud to uphold."  Please send your e-mail today and ask whether Krug-Mondavi's history and tradition extend to its farm workers, many of whom have decades of service with the company.

<img title="" style="WIDTH: 26px; HEIGHT: 11px" height="11&q

Take Action at:
 [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Costa Rica: Unions under attack--Take Action, sigh letter June 02, 2006 10:58 PM

> Costa Rica has long stood out in Latin America as a peaceful and
> democratic society.  Its President, Oscar Arias Sanchez, is a Nobel
> Peace Prize winner.  It's not the kind of place you'd usually find
> LabourStart calling for a global campaign -- but that's exactly what
> we're doing today.
> Costa Rica is now the kind of country where trade union leaders have
> their lives threatened, union offices get raided by armed men, and
> courts are mobilized in an effort to break unions.  All this takes place
> in the context of the struggle by unions against CAFTA -- the free trade
> agreement between several Central American countries and the USA.
> Costa Rican unions are appealing for a large number of email protest
> messages to be send to the country's president and other leaders.
> Please lend your support to this campaign today:

 [ send green star]

 Debt Relief for the Poorest
> An Evaluation Update of the HIPC Initiative
> The World Bank Independent Evaluation Group
> 2006
> [excerpts only. For full text visit]

 [ send green star]

Africa: Debt Relief Update  
> AfricaFocus Bulletin
> May 30, 2006 (060530)
> (Reposted from sources cited below)
> Editor's Note  
> Debt relief has become a significant vehicle of resource transfer
> to countries under the World Bank/IMF HIPC program, concludes a new
> internal World Bank evaluation. But in eight countries completing
> the program, debt ratios already again exceed the Bank's
> sustainability level of 150 percent debt-to-exports ratio.
> The report notes that net transfers to HIPC countries doubled from
> $8.8 billion in 1999 to $17.5 billion in 2004. These additional
> resources have increased budget flexibility on supporting social
> programs. But changes in exchange rates as well as new borrowing
> have left program graduates Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania,
> Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mali with newly unsustainable
> levels of debt.
> This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains brief excerpts from the report
> "Debt Relief for the Poorest: An Evaluation Update of the HIPC
> Initiative" by the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group. The
> full report is available at
> Other recent reports on the current status of debt relief can be
> found at the Eurodad website ( A study of
> the current status of debt relief and related economic policies in
> Zambia, by the Jesuit Centre  for Theological Reflection in Zambia,
> is available on Eurodad and also at the Centre's website
> (
> For earlier AfricaFocus Bulletins on Africa's debt, visit

 [ send green star]
New deadline for Wotld Trade Deal--BBC Article. May 21, 2006 2:15 PM

** New deadline for world trade deal **
Officials meeting in Davos agree a new timetable to conclude a global deal on trade.
< >

 [ send green star]
 April 30, 2006 12:05 AM

Signed, thanks Philip!

Hugs, Susan

 [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 April 29, 2006 11:29 PM

Hi Friends,

I have just read and signed the petition: "Fighting fair-trade!"

Please read and sign my petition. thank you


 [ send green star]
 April 29, 2006 6:03 PM

New York, Apr 24 2006  2:00PM
Addressing senior economic officials from across the world gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today spoke out in favour of “genuine market access opportunities” for developing countries and a rapid termination of trade-distorting subsidies for agriculture in the developed States.          

Mr. Annan told a key meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that rich countries should take “bold measures” to facilitate a successful conclusion of the currently stalled Doha trade talks. Negotiators have called for new progress by the end of this month on what is known as “the development round” of trade agreements.          

The Secretary-General’s remarks were heard by finance and development ministers and high-level officials of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, along with representatives of the 54-member Economic and Social Council. The guests, hosted by ECOSOC, came to New York directly from Washington, DC, where they had participated over the past weekend in the Bretton Woods Spring meeting.          

Consultations between ECOSOC and the main finance and trade institutions covered a range of issues, including national strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); debt relief; and the development efforts and finance needs of middle-income developing countries.

Today’s meeting is aimed at advancing previous international agreements, including the Outcome Document adopted by national leaders attending the 2005 World Summit. Citing decisions reached at that meeting, ECOSOC President Ali Hachani of Tunisia said that the Council would review progress on the MDGs and related goals annually, and would convene a global Development Cooperation Forum.          

Mr. Hachani also warned that continued strong worldwide economic growth “should not lead to complacency,” but rather should be seized on as an opportunity to more rapidly advance national and international action on development goals.          

The chairman of the Bretton Woods’ Development Committee, Colombian finance minister Alberto Carrasquilla, noted that two thirds of the increase in world energy demand over the next 25 years will come from developing countries, where 1.6 billion people currently lack access even to electricity. He told the meeting that required investments of about $300 billion a year to meet these needs should be directed toward more efficient carbon energy.          

Mr. Carrasquilla also called on the Bretton Woods institutions to address the need to foster greater participation by developing and transition economies. This echoed a call made by Mr. Annan in an address delivered by Under-Secretary-General José Antonio Ocampo to the weekend meeting in Washington.  
 [ send green star]
World Fair trade links. April 23, 2006 6:30 PM

 Previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on trade issues are available at
> Additional updates from Third World Network are available at
> For "Geneva Update," a regular critical update on international
> trade talks produced by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade
> Policy, see

 [ send green star]
please sign this Petition-Stop the Walmart Health Care Crisis--U.S. April 21, 2006 9:02 PM

Hi Friends,

I have just read and signed the petition: "Stop the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis"


 [ send green star]
 March 25, 2006 5:07 PM

> New York, Mar 21 2006  6:00PM
> An aid programme to build better trade policy and to overcome supply
> constraints for developing countries is one of the most important results
> of the recent Hong Kong ministerial conference of the World Trade
> Organization (WTO), a top UN trade official said today at the opening of
> the Aid for Trade meeting in Geneva.
> "I must emphasize that aid for trade is not a panacea to all trade-related
> problems facing developing countries," said Supachai Panitchpakdi,
> Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),
> <"
stressing" target="new1513869938">">stressing
> that it did not replace the needed reforms of the international trade
> system being negotiated through the Doha Round of WTO talks.
> "However, if the initiative is adequately designed, managed and
> implemented, it can make a significant difference in enabling developing
> countries to really use trade and trade liberalization as an engine of
> development and poverty reduction.
> The amount of aid needed and the detailed use of the funds will be
> discussed over the course of the meeting, Dr. Panitchpakdi said.  However,
> many activities have already contributed to some of the objectives
> targeted by the aid-for-trade initiative, including UNCTAD projects
> intended to help small farmers improve the quality and competitiveness of
> their products.
> Such projects, targeting small mango and papaya producers in Ghana, for
> example, have helped farmers comply with quality and phytosanitary
> requirements, generating augmented export flows surpassing $100,000.

 [ send green star]
Curb Oil adddition for U.S., send letter March 14, 2006 7:03 PM

Take Action
> *Send an Email - Bush Administration's First Chance to Curb Oil
> Addiction*
> Americans agree with President Bush that it's time to change
> course on oil consumption. And now President Bush has a major
> opportunity to act. By April 1st, President Bush must decide on
> fuel economy standards for 2008-2011 models of SUVs, pickups,
> and minivans. Increasing fuel economy by just 1 mpg each year
> would greatly reduce global warming pollution. If extended to
> the heaviest SUVs and pickups, stronger standards would save an
> extra 600,000 barrels of oil per day. Ask President Bush to
> approve strong fuel economy standards. Send an email:

 [ send green star]
Please Sign this Care2 Petition. February 25, 2006 10:39 PM

Hi Friends,

I have just read and signed the petition: "Tell Blue Diamond to Have a Heart & Treat its Workers Right"


 [ send green star]
Nepal--Tell the King--Free Union Leaders Now. February 06, 2006 7:20 PM


The ruler of Nepal, King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, claims to be a supporter of democracy.  Of course that did not prevent him from ending 14 years of democracy last year, and more recently, arresting hundreds of dissidents.

He has now targeted trade unionists and his police have arrested a large number of union leaders from different national federations.  Among those still in jail are the secretary general of GEFONT, other GEFONT leaders, and at least seven leaders from the Nepal Trade Union Congress.

The unions in Nepal are asking all of us to take a moment and send off messages of protest direct to the King.  Please do so by clicking here:

 [ send green star]
Rich Countries Must not Pursue " business as Usual" in Trade Talks: Oxfam. February 03, 2006 8:31 PM

Rich countries must not pursue 'business as usual' in trade talks: Oxfam

Oxfam UK Release

London, January 31st 2006 - Rich countries must change their attitude to world trade negotiations and show leadership to deliver reforms that lift people out of poverty, said international agency Oxfam today on the eve of a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Ministers will reunite tomorrow for the first time this year, following an inconclusive meeting in Hong Kong in December. Oxfam warned that the EU and US must stop making excuses for not reforming agricultural trade rules and end their unreasonable demands for developing countries to open industry and services markets.

Jeremy Hobbs, Director of Oxfam International said: "The US and EU offers on agriculture won't stop dumping. They have turned this trade round on its head: from one that was meant to reform trade rules for the benefit of poor countries, to one which is about aggressive corporate gain in industrial products and services and indefensible northern protectionism in agriculture."

"The only people who think Europe has done enough are the Europeans. The EU needs to go further with its agricultural reform offer, and immediately stop making such unreasonable demands on developing countries in other areas. Then the spotlight will shift back to the US, which must cut its cotton subsides, implement full duty and quota free market access for poor countries, and keep its promises on agriculture, whatever Europe does."

The WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong was meant to agree a blueprint for trade reforms but concluded with much still to be done. There is likely to be another meeting in April and one in July to finish off the negotiations by 2007. Oxfam said that these meetings and the negotiating process in between them must be open and transparent, allowing for full participation of all WTO members and appropriate involvement of civil society.

The trend for 'green rooms', 'mini-ministerials', and bilateral meetings is dangerous because it excludes key countries and exposes others to unfair pressure. The short timeline for an agreement must not be used as an excuse to push a bad deal.

Hobbs continued: "The most important thing is whether this deal will deliver reforms that help developing countries. The demands of expansionist businesses on the one hand and protectionist northern agriculturalists on the other, must not be allowed to skew the outcome in the final months. No deal should be signed unless it is one that helps poor countries, not hurts them.

"All members must make strenuous efforts to ensure that agreements on Non-Agricultural Market Access and Services (NAMA) do not do irreversible harm to developing country economies and cancel out any gain that could be offered by agricultural reform."

Specifically Oxfam wants to see:

  • Deeper cuts in EU and US spending on agriculture; tariff reduction offers (especially from the EU) that translate into real gains in market access for important developing country products (like sugar, beef and textiles)
  • Fewer sensitive products for Europe
  • Developing countries to be allowed to designate 20% of all tariff lines as Special Products;
  • a workable Special Safeguard Mechanism
  • Tighter disciplines on blue and green box subsidies
  • Cotton: US to agree to trade reforms not aid, elimination of all trade distorting cotton subsidies,
  • implementation of cotton panel ruling
  • Food aid: US to agree to tighter disciplines on use of food aid to end dumping while protecting emergency food aid
  • A NAMA formula that guarantees developing countries have to make smaller tariff cuts than rich countries
  • Reduced pressure on developing countries to negotiate services liberalisation; more space and time for them to decide own policies and judge possible impact; no unreasonable or aggressive requests.
 [ send green star]
World Trade, BBC News Article. January 29, 2006 7:08 PM

** Uncharted path to a 'Different World' **
Delegates at this year's World Social Forum left without any real answers to the problem of global trade injustice.
< >

 [ send green star]
Davos Trade Ministers Talk Tough--BBC News Article. January 28, 2006 8:41 PM

 Davos trade ministers talk tough **
A trade ministers meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum looks set to fail, with key officials showing little flexibility.
< >

 [ send green star]
U.N. SMALL Arms Conference January 09, 2006 8:28 PM

PrepCom for the UN Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects,
New York, 9-20 January 2006  [ send green star]
 January 09, 2006 11:44 AM

Signed the M&M/Mars, making a pledge not to knowingly purchase or consume their products until they offer Fair Trade chocolate.

In regards to the 2nd one:
Thank you, LuAnn! You signed this petition at:
5:56 AM PST, Dec 10, 2005
 [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Hey Phillip January 08, 2006 11:58 PM

Thanks for inviting me to this valuable group!  I hope to do as much as I can to help out!  I started by signing the petitions and will continue to read the information offered!   [ send green star]  [ accepted]
here is a great site on Debt relief, and fair trade. January 01, 2006 8:15 PM  [ send green star]
 January 01, 2006 10:07 AM

I have just signed the petition: "Tell M&M/Mars to have a heart and sell fair trade chocolate!"

 [ send green star]  [ accepted]
petition for fair trade and Women's Equality, please sign. December 31, 2005 1:34 AM

Hi Friends,

I have just read and signed the petition: "Light the Candle of Hope - Support Fair Trade and Women's Equality"


 [ send green star]
Fair Trade Petitions, Links and Petitions. December 31, 2005 1:32 AM

Hi Friends,

I have just read and signed the petition: "Tell M&M/Mars to have a heart and sell fair trade chocolate!"

Do you love chocolate? While chocolate is sweet for most of us, it can be cruelly bitter for cocoa workers and their families. This Holiday Season take 30 seconds to sign this petition and help the people who provide us with this wonderful treat. Please follow this link:


 [ send green star]
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Labour Unions United, to help Stop Global Extreme Poverty
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