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Global Trade News 04-29-01

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Monkeywrenching the WTO ministerial in Qatar
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2001
      Please send as far and wide as possible.


      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

      Monkeywrenching the WTO ministerial in Qatar
      Fri, 27 Apr 2001
      Jessica Roach <jroach@...>

      Here's a quick and easy action to call bluff on the WTO's empty
      promises of
      opportunities for civil society to have their voices heard in protest
      at the
      ministerial in Qatar this November!

      Apply for Qatari visa NOW!



      As you are all probably aware, the next World Trade Organization
      will be held in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The dates for the
      are November 9th - 13th.

      While Qatar traditionally does not allow public protests and
      demonstrations, the King has instructed the government -- in response
      European Union and other government statements of concern about the
      lack of
      freedom of expression - to make an exception for the WTO Ministerial.

      Abdulla Bin Ahmad Al Thani, of the Qatari delegation organizing the
      conference, told a news briefing that his country wanted to host a
      exchange of views. "Qatar wants to become a good venue for people who
      come and exchange thoughts and create a dialogue amongst themselves
      in a
      respectful manner," he told reporters.

      However, in later clarifications, it seems that Qatar will welcome --
      permit to protest -- only those non-governmental organizations that
      have WTO
      accreditation. Indeed, one version of the news is that only 2 (maybe
      representatives from each of the lucky NGOs selected for
      accreditation may
      attend. Apparently, a WTO credential is a prerequisite for obtaining
      a visa
      for U.S. participants from the Qatar embassy in D.C.! (And if you
      happen to
      live in South America or the Caribbean, you also will have to deal
      the D.C. embassy as there are few Qatari consulates or embassies in
      parts of the Americas.)

      The government of Qatar, in other words, is making an EMPTY PROMISE
      to permit
      protests at the WTO Ministerial meeting, by excluding -- refusing
      entry to --
      the vast majority of civil society activists, the great and good
      who are not associated with certain select NGOs! Already the WTO
      General and staff and many WTO Member governments are also hiding
      behind this
      pretense of Qatar welcoming peaceful protesters when responding to
      outrage about the venue choice.

      Let's call their bluff! Below is a sample letter to the Qatari
      requesting formal information about and the forms to obtain a visa.
      make it clear that we all have something to say about the WTO and are
      planning to attend ANY WTO Ministerial, including when the
      ministerial is
      planned in Qatar. What's more, for the many NGOs who do not feel
      working through the WTO accreditation process, we must stand up for
      principle that all civil society has a right to participate, not just
      who get accredited.

      Thus, even if you are not sure you could attend (because of money,
      etc) you should still submit this request. First, it keeps your
      options open
      because we know from past Ministerials, all sorts of technical
      excuses about
      visas and travel arrangement will be used as the date comes nearer to
      NGO attendance. Second, it is very important to send the message to
      all WTO
      Member countries that if they agree to host a Ministerial there are
      civil society obligations that go with this role. If at the end you
      get OK'd
      and cannot attend, then no loss to you. And, if (as we suspect) the
      government simply rejects or ignores these requests, those of us who
      seen the process through and been denied visas can start a
      support group of diplomatic victims of the WTO's decision to go to

      You can mail or e-mail your request to:

      Embassy of the State Qatar
      Suite 200, 4200 Wisconsin Ave., NW
      Washington, D.C. 20016
      202/274-1616 (phone)
      202-237-9880 (fax)

      or jbvisa@...

      (If you live in other parts of the world you may want to locate and
      YOUR nearest Qatari embassy with similar requests for visas.)

      Please make sure that you "cc" us if you send it electronically and
      us a copy of your letter if you send it in via snail-mail (cc e-mails
      mstrand@..., fax is +202-547-7392, and our mailing address is
      Citizen's Global Trade Watch, 215 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington DC



      Your name
      City, State & Zip

      Embassy of the State Qatar
      Suite 200, 4200 Wisconsin Ave., NW
      Washington, D.C. 20016
      202-274-1616 (phone)
      202-237-9880 (fax)

      City, Date & Year

      Application for visa for WTO Ministerial meeting

      I am planning to come to Qatar to attend the non-governmental
      being organized around the World Trade Organization's ministerial
      from November 9th - 13th, 2001. Please send me a visa application.

      I have not yet purchased my ticket to Qatar. Given some concerns that
      might be difficult to get a visa, I want to make sure that all my
      documents are in order before I buy such a costly ticket. I will make
      final travel arrangements once I receive the visa.

      I would also like to request a waiver of the $45.00 visa-application
      fee. My
      resources are limited, and in order to make the Ministerial
      affordable for
      activists like me I urge you to waive this fee for all activists
      planning to
      participate in the non-governmental activities around the WTO

      I am looking forward to participating in educational events and
      protests, and I am pleased to see that Qatar is welcoming civil
      society to
      attend this historic WTO Ministerial. As with the vast majority of
      society participants, I am not affiliated with an NGO that is
      planning to be
      present in Qatar, and I understand that in the past that has not been
      requirement for access to the countries hosting the WTO Ministerials.

      I look forward to visiting Qatar in November!


      Your name

      In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
      without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
      receiving the
      included information for research and educational purposes.

      Margrete Strand Rangnes
      Field Director
      Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
      215 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
      Washington DC, 20003 USA
      Ph: + 202-454-5106, Fax: + 202-547 7392
      To subscribe to our MAI Mailing List, send an e-mail to
      to unsubscribe, send an e-mail to mstrand@...

      Jessica Roach
      Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
      215 Pennsylvania Ave SE
      Washington, DC 20003
      ph: 202-454-5111
      fx: 202-547-7392


      Wolfensohn all but concedes debt relief contingent upon extortion
      Sat, 28 Apr 2001

      Wolfensohn deflects any real responsibility the World Bank may have
      the poor conditions in the debt ridden developing countries and
      basically states its a problem of goverance in the developing world.
      adds, "And any one who thinks there is a silver bullet [associated]
      any number is completely mistaken, in my judgement."
      Perhaps I'm naive but I've never come across opponents of the IMF
      and World Bank who think relieving all foreign debt in the developing
      world would be a panacea or "silver bullet" to solving all the
      social, and political problems of developing countries. Does
      really think we are that naive, ignorant, or stupid?
      Wolfensohn states, "Debt relief is an important component, but is
      far from the most important component of a development strategy."
      the current guidelines for development in developing countries this
      is a
      patently false statement. Does anybody for a moment think the IMF and
      World Bank will "forgive" in the next twenty years [and probably much
      longer] the debts of developing countries? Is it not likely certain
      developing countries will even receive more loans from these
      institutions on top of their already being debt straddled?
      Keeping developing countries straddled with foreign debt is
      a "key
      component" in their development.....development as dictated by
      transnational corporations, the IMF, World Bank, and the developed
      industrialized countries. These developing countries don't have and
      won't have the "luxury" of developing themselves.
      Wolfensohn states, "It is a question of goverance, it is a
      of education, it is a question of legal and judicial systems, it is a
      question of ethics, it is a question of how a country is run." This
      mirrors the U.S. government view that corrupt and incompetent
      governments are the main cause of so-called Third World poverty. With
      the growing of globalization, however, this position will be further
      tested and found increasingly challenged.


      "Wolfensohn said the bank, the IMF and the leading industrialized
      countries have acknowledged the problem and are willing to consider
      further debt relief-but only if the countries themselves show evidence
      of more effective goverance."

      World Bank defends policies

      By Steven Pearlstein and Manny Fernandez
      Washington Post Staff Writers
      Saturday, April 28, 2001; Page E01

      World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn lashed back yesterday at
      critics who complain the bank and other financial institutions haven't
      done enough to relieve the world's poorest countries of the financial
      burden of paying off their international loans.

      As a small group of protesters chanted anti-bank slogans outside,
      Wolfensohn defended the effort announced last year that, he said, had
      already delivered $34 billion in debt relief to 22 of the poorest
      countries, with another 17 countries and $16 billion coming.

      As a result of the program, Wolfensohn claimed, debt service payments
      from the 22 countries have already been cut by one third.

      Wolfensohn took issue with critics ranging from rock music star Bono
      British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who want to relieve
      poor countries of all their foreign debts.

      "Debt relief is an important component, but is far from the most
      important component" of a development strategy, Wolfensohn told
      reporters yesterday. "The most important component in countries is how
      they govern themselves, how they run themselves, and how you have
      effective programs that deal with social issues.

      "It is a question of governance, it is a question of education, it is
      question of legal and judicial systems, it is a question of ethics, it
      is a question of how a country is run. And anyone who thinks there is
      silver bullet [associated] with any number is completely mistaken, in

      In mounting a spirited defense of the international financial
      Wolfensohn was particularly reflecting the view of the U.S.
      which has long argued that it is corrupt and incompetent governments
      that are the primary source of poverty in Third World countries.

      As Wolfensohn spoke, about 25 protesters with Mobilization for Global
      Justice formed a picket line across the street from the bank's new
      headquarters building just off Pennsylvania Avenue at 19th Street NW.
      During the half-hour demonstration, no streets were blocked off, no
      was arrested and the interchange between protesters and police was
      cordial. Protesters even made sure they picked up discarded signs and
      fliers after they were through.

      The whole affair was in contrast to last year's spring meeting of the
      bank and its sister finance agency, the International Monetary Fund,
      when the world's finance ministers and central bankers were greeted by
      armies of demonstrators and police, who sporadically clashed at

      Police have been gearing up this week for a bigger gathering planned
      tomorrow, when several hundred protesters are expected to rally at a
      park outside the bank and the IMF at 3 p.m. About 1,500 officers will
      on hand.

      "I really do hope it's like this," said Executive Assistant Chief of
      Police Terrance W. Gainer of this weekend's events, as he watched the
      peaceful protest a few feet away.

      Gainer said the police are taking the protests seriously, and are
      prepared for a small element of "criminal anarchists" among the
      protesters. He said the streets surrounding the IMF and World Bank
      buildings will be closed to traffic "if and only if" there's a need.

      Anti-globalization groups such as the Mobilization for Global Justice
      view the World Bank and IMF as fronts for big corporations and
      international investors intent on profiting from the Third World's
      misery. In pushing for full debt relief for poor countries, they argue
      that so much money now goes to paying debt service that there is no
      money left for health care, education and basic government services,
      effectively trapping the countries in poverty.

      Wolfensohn said the bank, the IMF and the leading industrialized
      countries have acknowledged the problem and are willing to consider
      further debt relief - but only if the countries themselves show
      evidence of more effective governance.

      Such assurances hold no weight with the network of protest groups that
      now turn up at almost every international financial or trade
      to push their anti-globalization campaign. They were out in large
      numbers last week in Quebec for the meeting of leaders and trade
      negotiators from North and South America. Their next big push will be
      here in Washington for the regular fall meetings of the bank and the

      © 2001 The Washington Post Company


      April 26, 2001

      Naomi Klein's 'No Logo' Wins National Business Book Award

      TORONTO, April 25 /CNW/ via NewsEdge Corporation - '

      Journalist and author Naomi Klein is the winner
      of this year's National Business Book Award for her international
      No Logo, Taking Aim At The Brand Bullies, published by Alfred A. Knopf
      Canada.The announcement was made this afternoon at an award luncheon
      downtown Toronto. Co-sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Bank of
      Montreal, the award, established in 1985, has grown into one of
      most respected literary prizes. The $10,000 purse is presented
      annually to
      the author of the best business-related book published in English in

      At 30, first-time author Klein is the youngest winner of the National
      Business Book Award. Klein is a current columnist for The Globe and
      Mail and
      aformer writer for The Toronto Star. In researching No Logo, she
      spent four
      years traveling through Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom
      Asiatracking the rise of anti-corporate activism. Today, Klein is
      gaining recognition as the leading voice of a movement dubbed "the
      new New

      Speaking on behalf of the five-member jury that selected this year's
      finalists, the Honourable William G. Davis, jury chair and past
      premier of
      Ontario, congratulated Klein on the quality of her work and praised
      talented pool of Canadian business authors from which her book was

      "Naomi Klein conducted four years of research around the world to
      this unique view of branding and turned it into a number one best-
      said David Smith, Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

      "The book addresses the contemporary shifts and forces taking place
      today," said Rose M. Patten, Executive Vice-President, Office of
      Management, Bank of Montreal. "We are very pleased that, in the 16
      years of
      the National Business Book Award, it has become one of Canada's top

      Close to 40 entries were submitted for consideration for this year's
      National Business Book Award.

      The other finalists were Chrystia Freeland for Sale Of The Century,
      Russian's Wild Ride From Communism To Capitalism, published by
      Canada; David Olive for No Guts, No Glory, How Canada's Greatest CEOs
      Their Empires, published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited; Gordon Pitts
      for In
      The Blood, Battles To Succeed In Canada's Family Businesses,
      published by
      Doubleday Canada; and Daniel Stoffman for The Money Machine, How The
      Fund Industry Works And How To Make It Work For You, published by
      Walter & Ross.

      In addition to chairman William Davis, the jury also includes: William
      Dimma, Chairman, Swiss Reinsurance Company Canada; Anne Kingston,
      and winner of the 1994 National Business Book Award; Pamela Wallin,
      journalist and television host; and Michael Marrus, University of
      Deanof Graduate Studies.

      Last year's National Business Book Award winner was Ingeborg Boyens
      her book Unnatural Harvest - How Corporate Science is Secretly
      Altering Our

      /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available
      on the Canadian Press Photo Network/

      /For further information: or to arrange interviews, call: Mary Ann
      Freedman, Freedman & Associates, (416) 868-1500, Email:
      maf@..., <www.pwcglobal.com/ca/eng/about/events/nbba.html>

      If you are interested in a free subscription to The
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