Published to the Web: Wednesday 8 January 2003 @ 3.25pm CET
MONITORING THE WEB On Trade & Regional Org's.
Welcome to ICDA's WTOMC4 Directory
Here, you can find the latest critiques, and analyses of developments in International Trade & Regional Organisations, regional dynamics, and regionalism .
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WTO Impact List #348 | Thu-30 Jan 2003 | [REG-TRADE]:
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* Agriculture Looms Over NAFTA & ECOWAS Regions
* WSF Says No to FTAA
* NIGERIA Reacts to IMF
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List of contents:
1) NIGERIA REACTS TO IMF's FEARS REGARDING ECOWAS & NIGERIA
2) INDONESIA SHOULD LOOK MORE TO THE EU
3) WSF: "NO TO WAR, NO TO PAN-AMERICAN FREE TRADE!" (D)
4) QUID PRO QUO: JAPAN-CHINA's GROWING TRADE (D)
5) QUID PRO QUO: GHANA & BURKINA's GROWING AGRICULTURE
6) QUID PRO QUO: CANADA & MEXICO's TRADE AMITY & RIVALRY
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Dear WTO Impact Lister,

Sometimes it's not all about the money. Sometimes, it's about co-operation.

Regionalism, for all the apocalyptic visions it may offer to free-traders who fear that regionalisation is tantamount, or equivalent, to protectionism, is about the quid-pro-quo factor. Meaning you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours, it could perhaps epitomise the very essence of what regionalism aspires to do--to foster co-operation. And while it's very easy to repine over the inefficiency of national control of domestic industries, some of these articles demonstrate that the argument about regionalism transcends domestic control and/or protectionism--it's still about co-operation.

It was with this in mind that three of Thursday's articles wittingly started off with the same title, because, tellingly, it involves three regions; respectively: ASEAN (article n#4); ECOWAS (article n#5); and NAFTA (article n#6).

In article 4, Japan is exhorting, or encouraging, China to foster trade between the two countries--and this would be significant. Think about the fact that Japanese TNCs were responsible for creating the necessary dynamic within the ASEAN region (even if Japan is not yet a member of ASEAN), and you understand why this development is particulary noteworthy for engendering ASEAN trade.

Article n#5 is a classic case of two countries -- in this case, from the West African region-- somewhat contrary to the popular image propagated by the West about that region for it notorious instability (cf Ivory Coast; Liberia; Sierra Leone) cooperating. I repeat: *cooperating* over agriculture. There's no Western dependence here--just two regional neighbours seeking cooperation, and thus lending further credence to the idea that the ECOWAS region, for all its problematics, can become a constructive project. ECOWAS may have made moderate success with the Ivory Coast crisis, but Sierra Leone, and Liberia are two feathers in its cap for West African regional peace and security--and that's not necessarily a personal opinion--academics, such as David J Francis of the University of Bradford, UK believe so too--he wrote a book on Sierra Leone and ECOWAS, published 2001. Besides, it's high-time, too, for faster regional integration; it's been in existence since 1975.

Which leads us directly to article n#1--again, on ECOWAS, but this time, with a particular focus on Nigeria. In this article, Nigeria hits back at the IMF for starting a whispering campaign that due to Nigeria's corruption (which Nigeria acknowledges); and its government spending (which it doesn't see a problem with) that Nigeria in ECOWAS, and common currency for that region would necessarily obviate trade within the region. That Nigeria refused an IMF loan a couple of weeks back doesn't feature in the IMF worker's arguments at all!!

That's not to say that conspiracies abound, but reading article n#6, you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Looks like it's not all well on the NAFTA front. The "regional" grouping comprising Canada, US, and Mexico is experiencing some teething problems--at least Canada and Mexico are over investment within their respective countries, among other things.

However, as discussions over the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) go apace, there remains a big problem for these two countries--astronomical subsidies of the United States on...agriculture.

Sober reading,
Emmanuel
[Posted:Thursday 24/4/03 @ 12.06pm CET]


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WTO Impact List #343 | Thu-23 Jan 2003 | [REG-TRADE]:
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* US, MOROCCO, & a FTA
* AGOA: Civil Society Forum
* CARICOM speaks out on FTAA
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List of contents:
1) MOROCCO TO DISCUSS FREE TRADE WITH U.S.
2) AN NGO PERSPECTIVE ON IMPLEMENTATION, PROGRESS AND FUTURE OBJECTIVES
3) FTAA RE-VISITED, FROM A CARIBBEAN PERSPECTIVE
4) BAHAMAS SAFEGUARDING INTERESTS IN FTAA TALKS
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Dear WTO Impact Lister,

The U.S. continues to pursue trade agreements at the bilateral and regional level.  Today's first article discusses the country’s intent to pursue a FTA with Morocco, supposedly proving that “the administration's commitment to free trade with a leading modern Arab state sends a signal…of America's support for tolerant and more prosperous Muslim societies.”  No comment.
 
The United States was also in Mauritius this week, promising to expand trade and investment through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).  At the Second US-Sub Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, the First AGOA Civil Society Forum also took place, where over 150 participants made recommendations to promote an AGOA that is accessible to all members of society.  Our second article reports on these recommendations.
 
As the U.S. busies itself with more and more trade agreements, the Caribbean is increasingly worried about one: the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).  Our last two articles present the Caribbean perspective on the hemisphere-wide trade agreement that is to be concluded by the end of 2005.  To put it bluntly: they are not ready.  Let’s hope that as a community (CARICOM), the Caribbean states’ voice will be loud enough to be heard.
Soon,
Jennifer
[Posted:Tuesday 28/1/03 @ 1.42pm CET]
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WTO Impact List #333 | Thu-9 Jan 2003 | [REG-TRADE]
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* ASEAN's New Boss Interviewed on FDI;
* BANGLADESH Calls for Third World Integration;
* AGOA Mixed Sucess
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List of contents:
1) SPICY CURRY IN A 'SPAGHETTI BOWL'
2) AGOA's SUCCESS IN AFRICA IS MODERATE--NOT EMPHATIC (D)
3) SINGAPORE TO SHOW WAY FOR INDIA's TWO-WAY FTA PACT
4) SOUTH ASIAN COUNTRIES MUST UNITE TO FACE WTO CHALLENGE
5) MALAYSIA CONTINUES TO CONDEMN UNBRIDLED GLOBALISATION
6) ASEAN COULD BECOME CHINA's MANUFACTURING BASE
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Dear WTO Impact Lister,
*PLEASE WELCOME MS.Jennifer M Cyr WHO STARTED HER INTERNSHIP @ ICDA Thursday*
----------------
Thursday's articles comprised an interesting mix of articles all eloquently written to maximise the point that regional integration either works or doesn't work under the increasingly burgeoning power of the WTO.

The proponents of integration are to be found, in this edition, in articles 4-6. More importantly, there is what is appearing to be what some might call 'bandwagoning' in Realist International Relations theoretical terms. There is nothing realist about this, though. It appears development is the vision that is propelling many South East Asian countries within the ASEAN countries to act 'en bloc' to attract FDI, etc. This is a view that does not sit awry in the new Secretary of ASEAN's eyes. He is all for a bigger market -- and rightly so-- for who will pay attention to individual markets these days? Better a bigger area to invest than a small one--and he pulls no punches in ensuring this message is conveyed in his interview (article n#6).

Bangladesh, conversely, isn't so concerned about this as she is about ensuring that that country becomes the focal point--a conduit by which India can pass through to have access to other markets. That's not all for India, though.

It appears that the onus is increasingly being put on India to ensure that it plays *its* role not only in the ASEAN region in particular, but also acts as a voice for developing countries in general. Is the pressure too much on India now, though, one wonders?

A couple of months ago, there was pressure for her to submit bids for liberalisation under the so-called GATS (for more, please check http://www.gatswatch.org). There have also been noises that she is not playing all her cards quite transparently. Never mind that, though, Bangladesh wants India-Bangladesh trade consolidated to best effect, and also wats developing countries to rally together 'en bloc'--there's that word again--to stymie the aggressive economic globalisation.

Meanwhile, Malaysia -- as the quintessential critic of globalisation--continues, and has promised to remain a staunch globaphobe (article n#5).

Good stuff!--please visit http://www.icda.be/wtomc4/ for improved and upgraded WTOMC4 Info Page--for regional trade, please visit http://www.icda.be/wtomc4/regional-trade/

Sober reading,
Emmanuel
__________________
If you have any constructive suggestions or comments about the ICDA WTO Impact List, or articles and news to contribute, do not hesitate to contact us!
Best regards,
Emmanuel.K.Bensah & Jennifer M Cyr
ekbensah@icda.be jennifercyr@icda.be [posted: Fri 10/1/2003 @ 4.26pm CET]


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WTO Impact List #338 | Thu-16 Jan 2003 | [REG-TRADE]:
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* The New World Order -- No BANANAs & More Bully-Boy Tactics from US;
* EU-US Trade Wars;
* Fortress NAFTA, Bad NAFTA
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List of contents:
1) IN TEN YEARS, THE WORLD MAY HAVE NO BANANAS (D)
2) BRITAIN's ROLE IN AFRICA & CARIBBEAN, & TRADE IN 21st CENTURY
3) UNITED STATES LIFTS BANANA EMBARGO ON EU (D)
4) US THE WORLD LEADER IN BULLY-BOY TRADING (D)
5) CARIBBEAN REGION FEELS BACKLASH FROM VENEZUELAN CRISIS
6) MEXICO FARMERS ARE FEELING NAFTA PINCH
7) FORGET FORTRESS EUROPE, HERE COME THE FORTRESS CONTINENTS!
8) NEW ECUADOR PRESIDENT SEEKS DEBT RELIEF & INTEGRATION
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Dear WTO Impact Lister,

True to the Belgian pop group Hooverphonic's latest title, "we've got to
sing this song sometimes". Our song is one that we've been singing for over
two hundred editions of the Impact List: trade -- be it regional or
international -- must be in the interests of people. Trade, without being
people-centred, makes no sense.

Naomi Klein, writing in article n#7, transcends the trade argument by
arguing that regional trade agreements, such as NAFTA, and even the EU's
regional integration efforts are increasingly becoming exercises in
neoliberal management. A song many an NGO has sung several a time, I'm sure,
but wait, there's more: Klein argues that EU+10 -- that is enlargement -- is
necessary for Europe *not* because it's all about EU integration as such,
but because poorer members (as the Eastern European countries are dubbed to
be) are a necessary evil to ensure that the quintessential power-brokers,
i.e France, Germany and the UK, maintain their dominance.

In the same vein, so is NAFTA's inclusion of Mexico not necessarily an
attempt to foster good economic relations with a key player in the Americas,
but a ploy to get the dirty work--ie border control, etc--done. Then, she
argues somewhat trenchantly: "they lock in."

Scary stuff?

It would be if we hadn't seen it all before. Take a look at article 4--the
US in the dock again? So, what's new? AT least, good news beckons for the EU
(article n#3) as the US administration decides to lift the embargo on EU
goods, but the author forecasts future wars that will not shed blood, but
will result in economic decline and loss of trade revenue.

That's the whole spiel these days isn't it, so I'd agree with a lot of
people wanting to change the record.

By the way, article 1, published in today's Guardian, is scary stuff. Our
bananas--the subsistence of many a Caribbean region, not to mention the
staple of many an African country--looks like it could face the bleak
prospect of disappearing by 2013. To be replaced by?....GM-produced entities
passed off as bananas.

Nasty.

I want to avoid the cliché, but it must be said: Bananas must die another
day--it's not their time to go.

Sober reading,
Emmanuel

[posted: Fri 17/1/2003 @ 12.15pm CET]


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