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Kong Yee! Sai Mau! Protest! WTO! International Meeting of the International Coordinating Network (ICN) Hong Kong City University Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong February 26-27, 2005 Opening and Welcome Address (Ng Ching Fat) On behalf of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, member organization of The Hong Kong People‘s Alliance on the WTO, I welcome all of you to attend the International Coordination Network meeting. HKCTU as an independent mass organization, we have been very concerned on the impact of trade liberalization and globalization on the socio-economic policy. For example, health care services, education, housing, water and social welfare. Therefore HKCTU and other grass root organizing groups set up HKPA to raise the concern on the impact of WTO. On one hand, HKPA had been focus on mobilizing local people to participate in the related activities. One the other hand, HKPA also try our best to assist other overseas groups come to Hong Kong to participate in the activities organized by the civil society during the WTO ministerial meeting in December. I hope all of us can share our experience in this meeting and bring the synergy and knowledge to the civil society in Hong Kong. I wish all the success of the meeting. Thank you very much. Hong Kong People’s Alliance on WTO (HKPA), Elizabeth Tang (HKCTU) Formed on September 22, 2004, the HKPA came out of discussions with the Global Network, a group that has been working over the last two to three years on globalization and anti-neoliberal issues. The HKPA decided to include more organizations to build a longer term stronger people‘s alliance on globalization issues. The HKPA currently involves 24 organizations, including Elizabeth from Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), Apo Leong from Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Ramon Bultron from Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), Asian Migrant Centre (AMC), trade unions, as well as other neighbourhood organizations. We are still recruiting more to join the alliance. In the short term, HKPA is specifically concerned with the WTO ministerial meeting. Because we do not have much time until the meeting in December, we are not attempting to develop one common position on the issues relating to the WTO. We will not attempt to go deep into organizational and structural issues. There is much work to do, and we need to get it done quickly and hopefully successfully. The most important tasks are to have a successful mobilization and good grassroot educational activities. The HKPA has determined seven tasks/areas which are absolutely necessary to make it a successful mobilization: program (Centralized opening and closing plenary session); finance; logistics; action and mobilization; documentation; media and publicity; and outreach. W The main objective of the ICN and workshops is to develop more concrete plans for activities we are going to do from now until December, as well as during the action week. HKPA has some events scheduled during the action week: December 11th will be a mobilization and cultural night; December 13th will be an open plenary session; December 18th will be the closing plenary session. The working groups will involve important discussions on specific plans that will make our voices stronger for the world, not just Hong Kong. Updates from Geneva, Esther Busser (ICFTU) From Cancún to Hong Kong th The 5 WTO ministerial in 2003 in Cancún ended without agreement. But one important outcome was a shift in power relations. There was the emergence of the G-20, the group of approximately twenty developing countries including Brazil, India, China and South-Africa, which gathered around the issue of agriculture, and which not only opposed the EU / US proposals but developed their own counterproposals and managed to engage in the negotiating process and to become a major player. This was a major breakthrough in the power relations, and brought negotiations outside the Quad group. After Cancún, the major development was the July agreement last year. Negotiations intensified in the months ahead of the July General Council meeting, with a number of mini ministerials taking place. A draft text was presented little before the General Council meeting, and members had not really the time to discuss this draft extensively with their capitals. Most of the focus was on agriculture. Negotiations took place in a small group, the FIP (Five Interested Parties), with US, EU, Brazil, India and Australia. This process was criticized, as it excluded many members, but it did lead to some progress in the agriculture negotiations. Other areas such as NAMA were not given enough attention and the Derbez text on NAMA (the Cancún text), which was criticized by many developing countries, was included in the July framework after clear opposition. The main outcome of the July meeting was the so-called July framework, this framework provided not much progress, contained some positive elements in Agriculture, and led to dropping of three of the Singapore issues, but no positive developments in other areas and concerns about the text on NAMA. The July framework includes: 1. Agriculture and cotton: Negotiations focus on three pillars for modalities: 1. market access, with a tiered formula for tariff reduction, inclusion of sensitive and special products, and a special safeguard mechanism, but with little concrete language on the latter two; 2. export subsidies. They will be eliminated but no end date was set. It was also decided to discipline export credits and State Trading Enterprises, but no detailed commitments here; and 3. domestic support, with targets for reduction of overall domestic support and a cap on blue box support, which will however allow the US to shift subsidies into the blue box . It was decided that cotton would be included in the Agriculture negotiations, and that a sub committee on cotton would be set up. 2. NAMA: The July text provides only initial elements for future work on modalities. The elements that need to be negotiated include: a non-linear formula for tariff reduction, addressing high tariffs, tariff escalation and tariff peaks. Tariffs are to be reduced from the bound level, and there needs to be a conversion of non ad valorem duties into ad valorem duties, as well as credit for autonomous liberalization. A sectorial tariff component, aiming at elimination or harmonization of tariffs in selected sectors; The binding of unbound tariffs (of up to 100%, but for countries that have less than 35% of their tariffs bound, no tariff reductions will be made, just binding). Longer implementation periods, and some flexibility for developing countries. For LDCs no tariff cuts and no sectorial component, but substantial binding. And finally the development of modalities that address NTBs; 3. Services: The July framework asked for initial offers to be submitted, and revised offers to be submitted before the 31st of May 2005. An improvement of the quality of offers, in particular in sectors and modes of interest to developing countries, including mode 4. Negotiations on rules have to be intensified, and technical assistance to be provided to developing countries. 4. Singapore issues: Three of the issues namely Investment, Competition Policy and Transparency in Government Procurement were taken out of the Doha Development Agenda, but will remain in the WTO. On Trade Facilitation negotiations will start, taking into account the lack of technical capacity and financial resources in developing countries, in particular in LDCs. Sand D will have to be taken into account as well. Least-developed country Members will only be required to undertake commitments to the extent consistent with their individual development, financial and trade needs or their administrative and institutional capabilities. 5. Development: only limited progress here, the 27 recommendations on the 28 agreement specific proposals were not adopted. There is a deadline for July 2005 to complete the review of the outstanding proposals. After the intense negotiations in July, the fall was rather calm. Not much happened, also due to the elections in the US, and the change of the European Commission. In the meantime, since the beginning of this year, negotiations have restarted in all areas. Many negotiating sessions are scheduled for the period up to July. Another General Council will take place in July, and the objective is to get draft modalities in agriculture and NAMA by July, improved and initial offers in services, and progress on rules and development, in order to get full modalities by December, for the Hong Kong Ministerial. There have also been some indications, for example by the US, that they aim to finish the round by the end of 2006. So a very important moment will be again July. Therefore, any strategies that are developed will have to focus not only on Hong Kong, but also on Geneva, July. There are indications that Hong Kong will just be a gathering of ministers, but that real decisions will have been taken before December, to take away the pressure of the Ministerial and avoid another Cancun and Seattle. Of course, the lack of progress in the negotiations so far raises questions on the feasibility of this. Issues at the moment: 1. Agriculture: Market access: the tariff formula has to be negotiated. In this respect negotiations currently focus on the conversion of specific tariffs into percentage tariffs (ad valorem equivalents (AVE)). These specific tariffs are mainly used by developed countries, and the conversion method will have implications when the tariff formula will be applied. It seems to be a contentious issue at the moment, that is expected to be resolved in or before Kenya, during the mini ministerial. Other issues are the tariff quota administration, criteria for sensitive and special products, and a special safeguard mechanism. In the export competition pillar the negotiations focus on criteria for export credits (and Sand D for developing countries) at the moment. On domestic support the negotiations focus on a formula for cutting trade distorting domestic subsidies. A 20% cut is to be given in the first year of implementation, however, due to gaps between allowed and actual levels of support, such cuts would remain insignificant. Discussions also focus on classification of (developed) countries to determine the level of cuts. And finally there are discussions on preference erosion. Agriculture negotiations are held in three different settings: informal negotiating sessions for the full membership with a full reading of the issues, more focused open ended technical consultations, and small group consultations with technical experts. A first approximation of modalities is aimed for by July with full modalities for December (tariff and subsidy reduction formulae, criteria for domestic support (for the different boxes) schedules, deadlines and transition periods). 2. NAMA: main issues that were identified are: the formula for tariff reduction, the treatment of unbound tariffs, the issue of sectoral initiatives, non-tariff barriers, and preference erosion. The formula proposed in Annex B of the July framework is a Swiss formula proposal, which cuts higher tariffs by a larger percentage than lower tariffs, aiming at harmonization of tariffs. This would however mean that developing countries which have higher average tariffs, will have higher tariff cuts then developed countries, which is contrary to the principle of less than full reciprocity. The US have proposed a Swiss formula with two coefficients, one for developed and one for developing countries, but of course in exchange for less flexibility in other areas. The treatment of unbound tariffs discusses which percentage of tariffs should be bound, which countries should bind their tariffs, and should, after binding, the tariffs be subject to tariff reductions. The sectoral approach is rejected by many developing countries. Many countries do not want this approach to be a priority in the NAMA negotiations, and countries should not be obliged to participate in these negotiations. Furthermore non-tariff barriers have to be dealt with as they often put up unnecessary strict restrictions for developing country products. But a balance has to be found between those NTBs that are legitimate (health and safety and environmental and social purposes). Whenever they are used for protectionist reasons they should be dealt with in the negotiations. The discussion also focuses on which NTBs are to be dealt with in which negotiations, there is the TBT commission, the SPS committee, the negotiations on trade facilitation etc. And finally there is the issue of preference erosion. Many countries (LDCs, ACP, GSP) receive tariff reductions under preferential trade agreements. Lowering the MFN base for tariffs will erode their tariff preferences. This is an issue that has to be addressed. The Africa Group is preparing a communication on this. 3. Services: the need for more initial offers (although the number of countries that made an initial offer cover 85% of the market of trade in services, it seems), 47 offers have been made and Indonesia announced its initial offer, with openings in energy, education and health and commitments on construction, financial and maritime services. Some countries feel pressure to make their initial offers, 46 countries such as Egypt, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela. Furthermore there is pressure for improved revised offers. In this regard they will try to establish some benchmarks for elements in offers in order to get improvement, such as benchmarks in a number of sectors where they should be committed to or which indicate the removal of a number of barriers. Also for instance to see whether offers to provide market access in services are equal to commitments in bilateral preferential trading agreements. In December Quad countries plus India, Mexico and Chile, Australia, NZ, Singapore, Norway, Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Iceland and Norway, called for engagement in the request offer process and for improved offers by May 2005. LDCs are not expected to make offers. Overall progress slow. During the services session last week 15 proposals were discussed on issues such as domestic regulation and postal services. On Mode 4 two proposals were made for defining and classifying different kinds of service providing professionals. To have a common system, which will facilitate deeper liberalization, and simplify temporary entry. 4. Cotton: a cotton sub-committee was established and it held its first meeting on the 16 th of February. This committee is chaired by the Agriculture chair Groser. 5. Anti dumping: there are 30 proposals for concrete changes. 6. Development: a split between those who want to deal with the 88 specific proposals and those who want to address cross cutting issues including principles and objectives of S&D. Both are going on simultaneously, by clustering agreement specific proposals based on their motivations. Four elements/principles were identified by the Chair: enhanced market access, enhanced flexibility in rules, consistency with the multilateral system and enhanced capacity building. Four working groups might be established around these clusters of proposals. Within the discussion on the 88 proposals no decision has been taken yet whether to reopen the discussion on the 28 (Cancún) proposals. The Africa group wants to renegotiate them as they would not deliver enough. 7. Trade Facilitation: Three meetings have taken place so far. EU and Korea made submissions, which focused on transparency and improved administration of regulations affecting cross border trade. The US made four proposals including on transparency of regulations and rulings, publication of procedures and procedures for express shipment. Developing countries are rather preoccupied with financial and technical assistance. The issue was raised whether any agreement arising from the negotiations should be legally binding or based on a system of incentives. Several meetings are planned in the run up to Hong Kong: Mini ministerial Kenya 2-4 March OECD ministerial early May meeting June APEC trade ministers meeting Possible informal ministerial in China in July July General Council Meeting with ministers participating Hong Kong 13-18 December Other Geneva developments New chairs were appointed for the different committees, with Amina Chawahir Mohamed first woman chair of the General Council. DSB: Eirik Glenne (Norway) and TPR chair Don Stephenson (Canada). A decision on the successor for Supachai has to be taken by the end of May. Consultations are to be held by the General Council chair, together with the TPR chair and DSM chair, which involves consultations with all members. Candidates are Pascal Lamy (EU), Jaya Cuttaree (Mauritius), Luis Felipe de Seixas Correa (Brazil) and Carlos Perez del Castillo (Uruguay). The WTO public Symposium from 20-22 April in Geneva. A NAMA strategy meeting will be organized on the 19th for those of you who are planning to come to the symposium. Some of the issues for trade unions A trade union meeting planned for April will discuss trade issues in detail and discuss the trade union position on the trade issues, but generally it can be said that: On Agriculture: Some of the major issues are the elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies by developed countries in agriculture, the reduction and reorientation of other agricultural subsidies (domestic support) towards sound rural development. Ensure that food aid does not damage local production in recipient countries. Stable and predictable market access, S and D and special products and SSM. Address preference erosion, protect food security, rural development and rural livelihoods. On NAMA: There is concern about the impacts of NAMA negotiations on employment, both in developed and developing countries, however, in particular in developing countries no adjustment programmes are in place, no social safety nets, trade unions are rarely consulted in developing countries on trade policies and development policies. Development: adoption of the 27 S and D proposals and more adequate S and D. Strong development focus, which is socially and environmentally sustainable. Services: Concern about pressure being put on DCs to table offers and make commitments to privatise and liberalise public services and services of public interest. Public services and other services of general interest should not be undermined by private sector competition under WTO disciplines. Public services should be excluded from GATS negotiations entirely. Assessment of impacts of services commitments should be made before conclusion of the round; protection of the ability of governments to regulate without possibility of legal challenge; With regard to mode 4 negotiations and commitments must ensure observance of core labour standards, national labour law and existing collective agreements by all parties for all workers concerned. Protection of migrant workers against all forms of discrimination and remittance of their contributions to social security and insurance schemes, and full involvement of the ILO. Negotiations should be built upon guarantees of migrant workers rights on the basis of ILO and UN conventions, not on the basis of making it easier for employers to move unprotected workers around the world. Other issues A focus on employment to address poverty eradication. Employment will be key. 185.9 million people are unemployed (2003). But worse, of the 2.8 billion people employed, half of them, 1.4 billion, do not earn over two dollars a day, they are the working poor. They do not earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Therefore it is not just employment that is key, but decent employment to address poverty worldwide. There is a need to improve working conditions in the growing informal economy, and to address the high youth unemployment. National development strategies have to focus on employment and respect for workers‘ rights, to ensure that the benefits of trade policies are equally distributed. The World Commission on the social dimension of globalization made several recommendations with regard to the WTO. The most important one is the need for policy coherence both at the national and international level between international org. and between ministries. Some of the recommendations should be taken forward, such as policy coherence initiatives on specific issues, such as the developments in textiles and clothing; but also on employment, bringing different organizations together such as ILO, WTO, WB, IMF, UN agencies. An inter agency globalization policy forum to undertake regular dialogue on the social impact of developments and policies in the global economy between interested org. Other recs include that unfair rules in the WTO should be addressed; S and D needs to be stronger, and built into the system. The need to address the lack of respect for core labour standards. There is intensified competition on labour standards, and the exploitation of women workers in EPZs has expanded dramatically, and effective international policies have to be developed to promote decent work, investment and trade in EPZs in particular and in global production systems generally. Updates on development in the Pacific, Jane Kenlsey (ARENA/NZ) The small and remote Pacific Islands depend on trade preferences from former colonial powers for their small range of mainly natural resources exports. Their governments depend on tariffs for between one third and half their revenue, plus aid and remittances. There is no way these countries can compete in the global economy without exploiting their natural resources. Yet they are under pressure from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, through Poverty Strategy Reduction Programmes (PRSPs) that invoke the Millennium Development Goals, and aid donors such as Australia, New Zealand and the European Union to insert themselves into the global economy, privatize, liberalise trade and remove restrictions on foreign investors, including ownership of land. The Pacific Islands governments feel they have no choice. Their preferential access to their main markets is eroding as tariffs come down. The European Union has insisted that all the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries negotiate reciprocal access for its goods under ‗economic partnership agreements‘ that include services, investment and intellectual property. Worse, all these arrangements have to be WTO compatible, even though only 3 of the 14 Pacific Islands slates are WTO members. Effectively WTO rules will govern their economic life even though most are not, and never will be, WTO members. This has led some governments to suggest maybe they should join so they have a seat at the table. But the experience of those who are WTO members shows that is a delusion. Three Islands (Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands) are founding members of the WTO members. Ever since the first WTO ministerial conference in Singapore in 1996 they have argued that the WTO needs to address the plight of small vulnerable economies. The Ministerial Declarations are going nowhere, however. They also face opposition from other countries in the South who fear that recognizing another category would further ‗divide and rule‘. They also face demands for new commitments in services — including EC ‗requests‘ that PNG and Solomon Islands remove restrictions on foreign ownership of land. NAMA will impact on fisheries, their second largest export. Renegotiation of the Sugar Protocol of Fiji‘s sugar exports with the EU will reduce the price of sugar and potentially collapse the industry, provoking an economic, social and political crisis. The potential for intensified economic, social and political instability as a result of WTO membership is enormous. The CEO of the Ministry Foreign Affairs and Trade would recommend that Fiji join the WTO if it wasn‘t already a member, so they had advance warnings of the tidal waves that were coming their way and take defensive action, even though they couldn‘t affect them. Three other Pacific Islands in the process of acceding to the WTO: Vanuatu, Samoa, and Tonga. Accession is an outrageous process that is far worse than the WTO‘s Green Room and bullying of WTO members from the South. To join the WTO requires unanimous support from a Working Party. Any WTO member can join the Working Party and they have to be satisfied with what is being offered before a country can join. The major powers routinely demand WTO plus commitments from some of the world‘s poorest countries to use as leverage in their negotiations with the likes of Saudi Arabia and Russia — and previously China. This was Cambodia‘s experience, and Vietnam and Lao are facing similar demands. Few small countries have the skill base to assess the implications and are told unless they agree they can‘t join. The significance of the Pacific is that Vanuatu completed the process and was supposed to be the first LDC to join the WTO in Doha in 2001. Days before the meeting it backed off, because the cost was too high. Last year the government decided to reactivate the accession on the basis that it was facing WTO-compatibility through regional agreements and it was better to negotiate its own terms now than have them dictated under another round of debt conditionality if they faced another economic crisis. In addition to the Doha Round or WTO accession, as members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group — the ACP — the Pacific Islands have just begun negotiations with the European Union for a regional ‗economic partnership agreement‘ under the Cotonou Agreement. This will replace their preferential market access under the Lomé Convention that is critical for their sugar and canned tuna exports. But the EPA is required to be WTO compatible, which the EC insists requires reciprocal trade in 90% of goods to be implemented in slightly more than 10 years. The idea of free trade in goods between the EU and ACP countries is fanciful enough. But the Cotonou Agreement also includes the issues that the Europeans haven‘t been able to get on the Doha agenda — notably competition and investment. It is ironic that the ACP fought so hard in Cancun to keep these ‗new issues‘ off the table, when they had already conceded much of the ground to the EU under Cotonou. A further threat hangs over the Islands. Australia and New Zealand, their biggest export markets and main source of imports, bullied the Islands into signing the PACER agreement that promises to negotiate a WTO-compatible economic integration agreement with them if the Islands negotiate with another developed country, ie. the EU. This would devastate their revenue and their fledgling industrial and agricultural exports and on food security and employment. As with most poor countries, these are huge issues about capacity. Fiji doesn‘t have a trade lawyer on its team. Small islands are lucky to have one official to deal with this whole complex array of negotiations. Secrecy, lack of understanding and government hostility to trade unions, NGOs and other social activists means that local people are barely aware that this process is underway. Solidarity and empowerment is an urgent challenge. In summary, the Pacific Islands are pawns in a game over which they have no control. Vanuatu‘s decision to hold back from WTO membership, and from joining PICTA and PACER, is significant. It needs to be more widely known and built on. But likewise, those of us whose governments are making these outrageous demands need to find ways to challenge that process. Governments have now embarked on a rescue mission for the WTO and APEC through regional and bilateral agreements. Often the agreements do no more than lock in the existing neoliberal trade, investment, privatization and deregulation policies that these governments have introduced to protect them against ‗backsliding‘. There are broader foreign policy objectives as well. The US in particular manipulates accession in line with its imperialist agenda and insists on alignment of foreign and trade policy objectives in regional trade agreements with subordinate countries. China is playing an interesting game. It was forced to make extensive commitments in its WTO accession. Yet it is now engaged in free trade negotiations. The potential effect on garment and other manufacturing has given rise to some China bashing, however, the problem lies with our governments and the neoliberal globalisation agenda. China is attempting to establish its own hegemony in the region, secure access to energy, mineral, forestry and fishing resources and create opportunities for its firms and investors. The next link is ASEAN plus Three (China, South Korea and Japan). The circle is almost complete with talks just launched on an ASEAN free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand. We need to keep the ministerial meeting in perspective. A failed ministerial does not solve the deeper problems that are endemic to the WTO itself and the outbreak of WTO-compatible agreements that are being initiated all around the world. It is the responsibility of people‘s movements to bring sanity to bear. This broader overview suggests that campaigns around the Hong Kong ministerial need to look well beyond the Doha Round to: 1. challenge the link between Poverty Strategy Reduction Programmes, the Millennium Development Goals, aid and trade negotiations as the tools of coherence for the major powers across the IMF, World Bank and WTO; 2. expose accession as the WTO‘s ‗dirty little secret‘ where the world‘s poorest countries are screwed so the major powers can advance their geopolitical agendas, through campaigns that confront the majors and empower movements in acceding countries to have their governments say ‗no‘; and 3. ensure that our campaign on the WTO highlights the link between the WTO and the interlocking network of WTO-compatible regional and bilateral trade and investment negotiations and ‗economic partnerships‘ that extend and embed neoliberal globalization so no country can escape or backtrack. Updates from Hong Kong Situation, Au Loong yu (HKPA) WTO, Hong Kong Government and China Government Hong Kong is a full member of the WTO. Trade facilitation, Services, and NAMA have been the government‘s priorities within the WTO. Agriculture has not been a priority, although the government now acknowledges the need to give it more attention, given the role agriculture plays in the Doha round. An MC6 Coordination Office was recently established, headed by Janet Wong. Transparency and consultation with Hong Kong public is virtually non-existent. A delegation from the Conference met with her on February 27, mostly on logistical issues, please contact me if you are interested in full details of that meeting. To date, the Chinese government‘s influence on Hong Kong‘s negotiating positions in the WTO has not been very evident. However, given the overall tendency of Hong Kong‘s administration to avoid offending Beijing, it maybe expected that, at the very least, Hong Kong would not take on a position that would antagonize the Mainland. In general, China often allies with the developing countries in groups like the G20. At the same time, it has a very pro-neoliberal domestic economic policy. WTO and Hong Kong People: Privatization of Services Hong Kong has always been a ―free port.‖ As Hong Kong still plays a role as ‗trading agent‘ between China and the world (although this is diminishing as China increasingly undertakes structural reform), Hong Kong people identify very much with China‘s future, and generally want to see China benefiting from more open markets, whether in the US, EU, Japan, or other developing countries. This is a real-life issue for many of Hong Kong‘s middle-lower class populace, many of whose wages depend on importing or exporting goods or services. Given that Hong Kong has historically been a very open economy, and that many Hong Kong people are self-made, there is a lot of faith in how markets work. Competition, squeezing out, the drive for efficiency at the cost of working conditions – these are all realities that many Hong Kong people have lived, and consider ‗natural‘, given that many have their roots in refugee families from China, who came with nothing to their name and little to expect from the past colonial government. The awareness of the WTO and what it does is extremely low among the Hong Kong public, not to mention the details of the AOA, TRIPS, or WTO reform. Rural poverty in China is quite common knowledge; but there is little understanding of factors such as international trade rules (aside from the common perception that international trade has caused China‘s recent wealth.) Before 1960, there were very little public laws to protect workers, women, the environment, etc. At this time, a full half of the population of Hong Kong lives in government-subsidized public housing. There have been significant social reforms, many of which are threatened under privatization. While they have had positive economic growth since 1999, unemployment has remained the same, about 6-7%. And it should be remembered that although Hong Kong has very little agriculture, about 20% of vegetables consumed in Hong Kong are produced locally. Hong Kong and China are also negotiating a number of bilaterals. HK has a CEPA: Closer Economic Partnership Agreement with China. Many services jobs, including accounting, banking, airline ticketing, software, are moving from Hong Kong to China. In addition, it is estimated that 10 million Chinese farmers will be forced to leave their land because of lowering agricultural tariffs from the WTO. In addition, almost 400,000 oil workers have lost their jobs since privatization began in China in oil sector. Also the China-Thailand FTA is causing a flood of cheap imports of fruits and vegetables into Thailand since it began 1 year ago. There is a high awareness of local poverty, although the prevalent impression is that such poverty exists due to individuals‘ inability to acquire more marketable skills, or to individual companies‘ exploitative practices. There has been little research, and consequently, limited linking of poverty with globalized trade. Therefore, the main issues facing Hong Kong people related to WTO is privatization of Services. The HKPA groups do not have access to the Hong Kong government‘s Offers or Requests, but these have been asked for and the MC6 Coordinating Office has stated that they will consult with HKPA on this issue. The HKPA will be focusing an enormous amount of effort on education of the local population about the negative impacts of the WTO and the threat of WTO expansion, with a focus on services and privatization. Updates on the response from Civil Society, Tony Tujan (APRN) Social Movements Concerns on Trade Liberalization -- Towards the Hong Kong Ministerial The people and social movements have a difficulty talking about the WTO because trade liberalization and the agreements around them seem so unfamiliar and technical. They are negotiated by our governments and those most concerned about the negotiations are the trading entities, mostly the transnational corporations who conduct a full two-thirds of all world trade. When we talk about trade in services, the first thing that we must consider is the workers who provide or create that service. Who are the social movements and why are they so concerned about trade liberalization? The social movements represent the people. We are the workers and their unions who run industry and make up the bulk of our urban populations. We are the small farming and fishing communities and the associations of peasants, fisherfolk, rural women, small producers, pastoralists, forest gatherers and others who make up the bulk of the population of mainly agrarian countries of the South. We are the students and the youth who seek a brighter, more secure future. We are the indigenous communities, stewards of the land and seas. We are the women and the rest of marginalized sectors who carry the burden of society, we work for its survival and we suffer for its problems. The people‘s organizations and the NGOs who serve the PO‘s make up the social movements who are increasingly concerned over the worsening economic situation and the social problems resulting from globalization and trade liberalization in particular. Ten years ago since the GATT Uruguay Round was negotiated, social movements in many countries have launched a spirited campaign against the agreement and the establishment of the WTO. The coming 6th Ministerial in Hong Kong is significant because this as an opportunity to bring forward concerns and objections to the WTO in the light of the massive displacement and misery it has caused on the people across the globe in the past ten years. Impact of WTO and trade liberalization The WTO was supposed to establish a so-called ‗level playing field‘ or free market competition. This is the big double myth of the WTO. Free market policies of the WTO have not resulted in free competition, but the freedom of transnational corporations who monopolize trade and industry all over the world to dominate even more. Worse, the agreements provide further advantages for the industrialized countries and their monopoly TNCs. The burdens of those losses are also consciously passed on to the workers, the artisans and the small suppliers in the South as well as in the North. As a result of the GATT, TRIMS and other related agreements, tariff and other barriers to cheaper industrial products from richer industrialized countries have been removed. As a consequence locally manufactured products are priced out of the market. Workers have been losing their jobs in the resulting bankruptcies, relocation of production and production subcontracting or outsourcing. Wages and benefits are cut because of the loss of union rights, and job security. As a result of the Agreement on Agriculture and related agreements, peasants and other rural producers are unable to compete with cheap, subsidized agricultural products dumped from the industrialized countries because quantitative and tariff barriers have been removed. Agrochemical TNCs have a heyday as industrial methods of agriculture take over traditional systems whether in domestic food production or export crop production in the South. Indigenous and other traditional communities suffer immensely due to the flood of cheap subsidized imports and the increase in speculative investment in development projects that take over their ancestral domain. Trade liberalization has left prices unchanged as merchants pocketed whatever windfall from price differentials was available. On the other hand, the income of consumers has eroded dramatically as a result of economic recession, joblessness, contractualization and the like. The concomitant effects of liberalization and globalization have been most severe on marginalized social sectors like the women, youth, Dalits, settlers, migrant workers and the like. They suffer from the loss of social services and support systems due to the intensification of privatization and deregulation that is pushed by the WTO and other mechanisms of trade liberalization. The people are even more concerned with the Doha program At the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the WTO in Doha, Qatar, the industrialized powers pushed for the continuation of their agenda to achieve investment liberalization and further expand the scale and scope of the WTO. The main agenda of the industrialized powers was the inclusion of the so-called Singapore issues as new areas for negotiations that provide for incredible benefits and protection for transnational investment. The Singapore issues were defeated in the 5 th Ministerial in Cancun. The focus of contention has shifted to expanding the Agreement on Agriculture, the GATS and the NAMA, as well as the TRIPS review. Peasants and other social movements working on food and agriculture issues are seriously concerned that the devastating impact of the WTO AoA on agricultural systems in developing countries remain unaddressed. The focus is towards reducing tariffs and maintaining the unbalanced subsidies in the rich industrialized countries. The negotiations on NAMA are meant to further increase reductions in tariff and other barriers to industrial products. Many developing countries are already experiencing the phenomenon of shrinking industrial sectors. The negotiations in the GATS promise to create a new agreement that shall expand investment and trade liberalization as sectors generally shielded from trade and investment liberalization are opened to the private sector, particularly to transnational corporations such as education and health, as well as natural resources and environment. The people are concerned that the Doha program targeted to be concluded at the Hong Kong ministerial is meant to expand this even further in such sensitive sectors as agriculture, services and the already weakened industrial sectors. Social Movements Strategy on the Doha program towards the HK Ministerial Since the second ministerial of the WTO in Seattle, many social movements and the NGOs aligned with them have long formulated a strategy that has challenged the neoliberal agenda of the WTO. This position is expressed in the statement ‗Shrink or Sink‘ of the Our World Is Not For Sale network. This strategy has been updated in relation to the Doha ministerial and again to the Cancun Ministerial, where it has been generally successful in derailing the objectives of expanding the neoliberal agenda of the WTO and further exposing the character of globalization and the WTO. This strategy is premised on our rejection of the WTO, in particular the neoliberal framework and agenda of the WTO, and its undemocratic character dictated by imperialist powers and their multinational corporations. The objective has been to expose this character of the WTO and delegitimize it. This is accomplished by people‘s campaigns and direct actions. The strategy is realized through derailing its negotiations. Cancun is a clear example of how negotiations were derailed, in the process exposing the character of the global powers, highlighting the impact of liberalization and concerns of the people and exposing the negative features of the WTO and its agenda of liberalization A specific tactic in derailing negotiations is in paying attention to concrete contradictions that emerge both among global powers and industrialized countries, and between blocs of Southern and Northern countries. Specific contradictions can become so severe as to sabotage the negotiations. NGOs in Geneva and in our respective capitals are able to follow negotiations and note areas where intense contradictions emerge that can be enhanced both through lobby action and outside campaigning. Examples of these are the Mode 4 issue for GATS, the possibility of creating an opposing bloc for NAMA and revitalizing the Group of 33 and 21 for AoA. Increasing migrant rights and welfare struggle can help push the effort of India and include other countries like the Philippines in pushing for Mode 4 which is unacceptable to the US and other Northern countries. Trade union action can help increase pressure to develop and block with a stronger position against Northern demands for accelerated reduction of industrial tariffs under NAMA negotiations. Increasing peasant struggles can hopefully strengthen the ranks and the cause of Group of 33 countries on Special Products. Prospects for the conclusion of the Doha program The negotiations in AoA, GATS and NAMA are facing extreme difficulties and lack of time to conclude towards the ministerial. It is too early to say that the Doha program will be derailed. In any case, it is imperative for the social movements not to allow the conclusion of the Doha program without at least massive protests around the world. The run of the campaign For practical reasons, campaigning is most effective through concrete issues related to the various negotiations such as AoA, GATS, NAMA. Coordinated campaigning is conducted on these issues at the national and international level. The campaign is most effective when we bring the issues to the people, mold public opinion, hold protests and lobby our governments to our cause. International level campaigning is important in order to influence international public opinion, expose the character of the negotiations, strengthen the opposition of Southern governments, and develop monkeywrenching possibilities. In this regard, there is a need to increase our presence during crucial periods in Geneva such as the General Council meeting in July. On the other hand, we should also pursue campaigning in relation to the mini-Ministerials so as to prevent the objective of isolating specific countries for imperialist arm-twisting. We should also prepare for the APEC Leader‘s Meeting in Pusan, South Korea sometime in November which will most probably be used as a prelude negotiation for Hong Kong. Combining with other issues and campaigns Campaigning on the WTO cannot be isolated from the development of other free trade and investment mechanisms. Bilateral and regional free trade mechanisms are aligned to the WTO and complement its current negotiations for GATS, NAMA and AoA. Campaigning on them should not be separated but combined into a synergy that allows for more tactical opportunities as well as exposing globalization better to the people. The issue of the US-led ‗war on terrorism‘ is another phenomenon which must also be incorporated or linked in our campaigning on liberalization and globalization and the WTO in particular. We should make clear links between the WTO and campaigning against trade liberalization with the issue of the Empire and it global war agenda. The fact that most of this war is happening in Asia, most of the sensitive geopolitics of trade and of oil are in Asia makes it imperative for us to address the issue of war in relation to the WTO Hong Kong ministerial. The resurrection of the Doha program despite the debacle in Cancun for the WTO shows how resilient the neoliberal agenda still is, and how powerful and resourceful the global powers are. However, the WTO and the agenda of liberalization and globalization are not invincible in the face of a strong, determined global movement of the people. General Discussion None of the speakers mentioned the word ―empire‖. The WTO is one form of empire. This meeting should gather around one small value – resistance to empire. The resistance should include brothers and sisters within developed countries, not within corporations. It is important to link the WTO with militarization. The market could not exist without the hand of U.S. military resources. The post-MultiFibre Arrangement (MFA) findings are worrisome, as a lot of garment industries will close, leaving thousands of workers unemployed. Many had speculated that the apparel industries would collapse and go to China and India. That projection has already been revised. The US and Europe are currently working to bring back the MFA. The US is considering creating the mechanism that garments using US textiles have preferential entry. Third World Countries would then go back to the usual schemes, whereby they suffer in the end. The issue is not with China and India; we need to look at the broader scheme with U.S. Should we agree with the statement that the enemy is not the WTO, but transnational corporations? One of the traps when looking at the WTO is to focus on an institution‘s events or activities. You risk losing the bigger picture at times. Governments are acting as agents for corporations, with the government playing a global role. There is a shift in language to partnerships, which is designed to disguise the relationships involved. The U.S. and corporations have forums where they push the agenda, but the militarism relationship underpins all of it. One of the great successors in the movement has been to force the government and institutions into a defensive position about secrecy. The Sutherland report makes it clear that future dialogue with civil society is important, but not to those who oppose the WTO agenda. Civil society is allowed, but uncivil society will remain outside. In terms of services, there are lots of accusations that China and India are the winners of the MFA. Workers of China are not the winners, however. For example, in the central and western regions, there is much downsizing and layoffs of workers. Countries should be able to access relief in the WTO, but in reality, countries go through a long process, and many poor countries do not have a big delegation in the WTO with lawyers. In practise, we know that trade liberalization, or even colonial trade, creates a balance of payments. These are handled by countries through borrowing. The growth of the massive anti-war movement has strengthened the anti-capitalist movement. The combination of those two movements has increased the power of what we have, the world‘s second superpower. The failure of one ministerial meeting affirmed that the symbolic end of the talks gave lots of confidence to the movement. We need to bring together all those things for the Hong Kong ministerial meeting. In the next six months, we need a visible mobilization in Geneva and Europe against the WTO and against possible conclusion of the new framework and modalities. It is very important to focus on policy analysis, as well as mobilize local activists and trade unions, so that there is a protest outside. We need to have an inside and outside strategy. We need to have a clear, common position, and we need to execute that position both inside and outside the formal structures. Some people do, however, use this inside/outside strategy as a convenient smokescreen to allow people to do with they want internally (lobbying with the government) but without linking to the accountability to local people outside. Strategies for December Meeting: Action Plan before the WTO Meeting Tony Tujan, from APRN, talked about Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS), a loose network of social movements and NGOs. Anyone who has problems with the WTO would find a place in OWINFS. De-legitimizing the WTO is the alternative way, combining with the support of the efforts of the south. Derailment contributes to the strategy against the WTO. The objective of the Hong Kong ministerial is to derail the Doha program. The position of social movement is to have more subsidies. The debate in the WTO is no subsidies. Those who are needier of subsidies do not get them. The subsidies for the north should be dramatically reduced and reformed so they benefit small farmers, and the southern subsidies should be increased and reformed so they also address small farmers and land owners. Au Loong yu, from HKPA, shared three issues that have developed since the foundation of the alliance. Wherever we launched the education project on the WTO, we always encountered big obstacles. People are unaware that twenty percent of the vegetables are grown here. Food requires food safety. The WTO is bad for food safety. One of the great things is that the trade unions have been working closely with NGOs in establishing HKPA. Since Seattle, trade unions were a little slow in joining the anti-globalization movement, but they are now catching up all over the world. In Hong Kong, there is great fruit in the wing to see the CTUs and other trade unions, NGOs, Christian, Catholic groups coming together to form an alliance for the first time on these international issues. In terms of China, Au frequently hears that opposing the WTO automatically implies that the person opposes the Chinese government, but this is an inaccurate categorization. One delegate here said that what we are opposing is the new liberal policy. Any government doing that will be opposed. Esther Busser, from ICFTU, suggested that we need to focus on NAMA, which is now taking off. Civil society has focused a lot on agriculture and GATS. Draft modalities are to be prepared for the General Council meeting in July, so we should focus on the negotiations from this moment on until July. The Geneva meeting will be very important in the eyes of the negotiations. In the spirit of plurality, the HKPA knows the diversity of participants and positions with the WTO, trade, and liberalization. We would like all ICN participants to have a common mobilization during the December Action Week in Hong Kong. During the common mobilization, everyone is invited to mobilize and carry their own slogans, banners, coalitions, etc. The HKPA is a carry banner saying, ―Stop the WTO corporate agenda!‖ All are invited to carry the same banner, but it is not mandatory to march under that banner. If you believe in something else, that is fine. The plural march will be quite open. It is anticipated that there will be parallel activities during the Action Week, which will be left to participants to come up with together. The HKPA wants to coordinate as much as possible, however, the HKPA cannot help people who have not talked to us and come to activities. The HKPA will do our best and rely on participants to coordinate in respective countries/regions. Working Group Workshop Reports There are three aspects to the future functioning of the working groups: 1. All HKPA members are part of the HKPA e-group 2. Working groups have their own sub-lists (for example, program, finance, etc.) 3. Groups provide regular updates, which do not have to be from just one person all the time. For example, ―this week‘s update from finance committee is…‖ so it does not burden one person, and it is easy to find different the reports from different groups. This coordination will be up to the working groups to decide. It is important that they are open and remember that we do not represent the whole anti-globalization movement in this room. A note about the contact people for the working groups: In many cases, the contact people listed here are the ones who have given the reports, but they may not be the group‘s coordinator. Please let us know about any discrepancies. Sectoral Workshops Fisher folk Contact Person: Gerardo Corpuz of Pamalakaya (Philippines) [email@example.com] Participants: 14 participants, representing peoples' organizations, fishery related non-government organizations, academic groups and research institutions involved in fisheries from five countries- The Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Japan The workshop discussed the following concerns 1. Burning issues confronted by small fisherfolk in their respective countries and 2. Proposed line up and schedule of activities for the December affair against WTO in Hong Kong Thailand Shrimp farming activities in Thailand are contributing to the massive destruction of fishing areas in the country, particularly in the Southern part region of Thailand. The Thai fishers are campaigning against the government's sea food policy and lobbying for the amendment of their fisheries law Philippines Pamalakaya has 10 years of experience campaigning against the WTO (1995-2005) The group made a study on the impact of WTO (182,000 Filipino fisherfolk were displaced from their main source of livelihood due to globalization) According to Pamalakaya, the WTO and neo-liberal policies strengthened the export- oriented, import dependent character of the Philippines' backward fishing industry The Philippines has become one of the biggest dumping ground of imported fish and other water-based products over the last 10 years. Surplus fish and water-based products of big fishing nations were dumped to the Philippines in the form of export products Pamalakaya also said the neo-liberal policies rallied investors to appropriate coastal areas and fishing communities and convert these into sites for eco-tourism projects, industrial and commercial projects that led to the displacement of thousands of fishing families along bays, lake shores and coastal areas Pamalakaya's proposed activities and initial schedules: 1. Workshop conference on impact of and resistance against the WTO. This workshop falls under the AoA major workshop/conference sponsored by Asian Peasant Coalition in cooperation with Pamalakaya and the World Forum of Fisher peoples (WFFP). This will be held on December 14 or 15 2. Sectoral Workshop on December 16- Bayside Conference of Pamalakaya/WFFP to be held in the Hong Kong bay area facing the Convention Center near Central Park. A fluvial protest will follow after the Bayside Conference 3. Prior to the December protest in Hong Kong, Pamalakaya and WFFP will conduct a protest rally in Manila against WTO (December 13). Kilusang Mangingisda (Fisherfolk Movement-Philippines) for its part shared the following: 1. The group addresses the issues on fish importation; export subsidies, aquaculture development, environment and other national issues. It would also tackle the issue of NAMA. 2. The group is planning to hold a fluvial protest against WTO this December in Hong Kong. There were two options cited to realize the fluvial protest. First, it would encourage fisherfolk groups in Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia to go to Hong Kong by boats of if this won't, identify a staging point where they could mass up before proceeding to Hong Kong. No dates were set for this activity 3. The group and their allied organizations are set to conduct a campaign committee meeting on March 29-31 to discuss the details and finalize the set of activities Labour Contact Person: K L Kwok (HKCTU) [firstname.lastname@example.org] General Objective: 1. To come-up with a concrete plan for coordinate, international, regional and national actions to derail the WTO 6th Ministerial meeting. 2. To define and identify the responsibilities, roles as well as concrete plans for each tasks. 3. To finalize what organization will be the over-all coordinator in the labor sector in all actions leading to the 6th ministerial meeting in Hongkong. Activities International May 1, 2005 (International Labor Day Celebration) o The Labor Sector decided that the main issue among other issues to be bannered during the International Labor Day Celebration will be the Working Class Global Day of Action against the World Trade Organization (WTO). o It is emphasized that the working class should mobilize in May 1, in as many countries as possible to project the coordinated and simultaneous actions of Trade Unions, Workers organization and the whole Labor Movement that the promise of prosperity of neo-liberal globalization is a hoax. That the WTO and its policies only (further) worsens, in equalities, poverty, hunger, proliferation of human rights violation and workers rights violations, among others. o Thus, the working class as a mutual force, affected by the neo-liberation globalization should struggle and engage the system towards a society that truly represents and addresses their interest. International/ Regional Electronic Mail o Considering the distance and workers participating in the labor sector workshop came from Asia, the Pacific and Europe, exchange of news and updates and other actions like campaign and mobilizations against the WTO etc. can be communicated to different countries through e-mail. o A directory of the workers participating in the workshop have given their e-mail address and website of their respective organizations, thus, the directory should be forwarded to all participants, for further communication and information sharing until we reach the 6th Hong Kong Ministerial meeting. National: Education/ Mass Membership Seminar o It is understood that all trade union and other workers organization shall include in their trade union/workers organization‘s Education curriculum, topics about the World Trade Organization, its policies, scopes, agents, the effects of its policies to the working people in particular and the Neo-Liberal Globalization in general. Other forms of propagating information against WTO: 1. Propaganda Work 2. Newsletter/Bulletins 3. Manuals 4. Posters 5. Forum 6. Conference 7. Press Conference Campaigns: 1. EXPOSE Transnational greediness/Boycott TNC‘s that violates workers right to self – organization, collective bargaining and concerted actions. 2. Engage the Government/State to be transparent in their positions in trade offers and counter offers on the multi-lateral and bilateral talks, FULL DISCLOSURE, so that no concession will be made. 3. The workers should engage the system in such a way that the wealth created is distributed rightly to workers. 4. Media Work should be effective. 5. DERAIL THE HONG KONG MINISTERIAL MEETING. Mobilizations: It is understood that mass mobilizations of workers to include: Rally Picket Demonstration Big and large mobilizations on specific dates as determined by each national centers as a group of national labor centers. Lead Coordinator Of Labor Sector: Unanimously approved that all efforts and concerns before and during the week of action in Hong Kong shall be coordinated to the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions. (HKCTU) Migrants Contact Person: Tatcee Macabuag (Migrant Forum in Asia) [email@example.com] Also: Rex Verona (AMC) [firstname.lastname@example.org] Participants: 40 participants Issues to highlight in WTO and migration: International Financial Institutions and relations to Debt, Landlessness and mobility Conflict and migration in relation to trade and migration; militarization and trade Militarization, the US led war on terror and trade o Discriminatory immigration policies as a result of the US war on terror in relation to migrant workers leading to the crackdown of migrant workers. o Criminalization of migrant workers (undocumented workers) o Restrictive treatment of foreign domestic workers Debt repayment and remittances: impact not highlighted by the sending countries; o how migrant workers remittances are used to off set the debt repayment Commodification of migrant workers o temporary movement of persons GM4; dehumanization of migrant workers; removal of rights of migrant workers in GM4. o Commodification of labor despite mode 4. WTO creates unemployment that promotes migration of persons/commodification of labor o GM4: focuses on professionals, managers etc, does not tackle bigger informal sector of migrant workers and the so called ―unskilled‖ workers. o GM4: Developing countries pushed for mode 4 for the deployment of labor. Strategy of developing countries to promote migrant labor. Restriction on mobility rights: Demand for open boarders Unfair trade practices and agreements results to unemployment leading to migration. Coordinate action with other groups working on WTO leading to the ministerial meeting in December o WTO‘s impact on developing countries (e.g. Bangladesh) – MFA:Multi-fiber agreement resulted to structural adjustments creating unemployment leading to migration Restrictions on labor and migrants rights: restrictions on migrants from the South who are considered as ―unskilled‖ compared to the ―skilled‖ workers from the North Discriminatory classification of ―skilled‖ and ―un-skilled‖ labor Rights based approach to migration vs. WTO framework. Where do we place rights in the WTO framework. Difficulty of raising labor rights in WTO for it talks about trade and does not include labor. Strategies: How to make the Government accountable in their commitments outside WTO. Governments should not be making commitments in WTO that are contrary to their commitments in the UN, ILO, bilateral agreements. Make receiving governments accountable to labor rights in the host country. Pressure governments to affirm their other commitments outside WTO to bog down negotiations in WTO. Call for the strengthening of labor standards, unity of migrant unions, migrant workers outside WTO to affirm commitments of Governments outside the WTO Need to conduct massive Information Education Campaign among civil society and the governments. Linkaging and connecting anti-WTO campaigns, bringing issues of various sectors together. Activities/POA for the December week of action: Specific activities per group or organization during the week of action in Hong Kong[e.g. Public debate during the week of action inside the WTO coordinated by accredited NGOs] Country level activities before and during the action week to promote massive action [workshop participants need to forward their specific action plans and calendar of activities to the working group] Consolidated mass action of various sectors on December 18, international migrant workers day in solidarity with migrant workers [Propose to Hong Kong Peoples Alliance to show solidarity for migrant workers on December 18. All activities focused on mass mobilization with the migrant workers] Participation and support in the activities of other sectors [coordination of activities with other sectors/ groups] Creation of a working committee to organize and coordinate activities for the week of action Creation of a working committee to draft slogans Arrive at a common call or slogan for migrant workers Tasking: Working Group: o To recommend possible activities for the week of action. List of activities will be sent out to the workshop participants o Coordinate the activities of the migrant network with the activities of other sectors to show solidarity o Collect national level activities of various migrant network members o Creation of an e-group to include all participants of the workshops and other ICN participants who want to be included to help coordinate and update on activities. Drafting Committee: o Draft a consolidated statement with common calls for migration issues. o Members: Rex, Irene, Connie o Suggested slogans: Migration out of WTO Migrants say no to WTO Migrants are not for sale Stop trading people Migrant Workers are not Commodities No to the commodification of migrant workers, no to WTO Migrants and Workers unite against WTO No GATS no worry Religious/Interfaith Contact Person: Joseph Widyatmadja (facilitator) (CCA-URM) [email@example.com] Points Discussed: 1. Faith can provide moral values for society. 2. All faiths promote life, which relates to food. 3. We need to mobilize religious forces (theological, spiritual, etc.) to counter globalization. 4. We should link people of faith and other sectors (labor, women, students, etc.). 5. There is a need to restrain the aggression of TNCs that bring their values with them. 6. In the 21st century, faith plays both a positive role (promotes moral values) and a negative role (influence in the U.S. election and support for the invasion of Iraq, for example). 7. Today there is the militarization of religion and the religionization of the military (Iraq War). 8. There is a similarity between religion and the military (―ranks‖ of general, colonel, etc., and bishops, etc.; there is an emphasis on obedience and hierarchy). 9. The link between Bush neo-conservatives and the Religious Right was noted. 10. Globalization is like a ―crusade,‖ a belief in the ―invisible hand of the market‖; faith in the market and faith in democracy is being brought to Iraq. 11. Islam is under attack, especially by America. A predominant image of Islam is jihad, etc. This attack on Islam is based on politics and economics. We have to work with all religious groups to avoid a ―clash of civilizations.‖ 12. Demonizing Islam is needed to justify the enormous amounts of money spent on defense; demonizing Islam is a political tool. 13. Osama bin Laden has articulated the concerns of Islamic societies (the domination of Muslim countries by the West is at the root of frustration and anger in the Muslim world). 14. In recent years, there has been a fundamentalist reaction to globalization (Hindu nationalists in India). 15. Religion has failed to promote the interests of the poor in the world and to promote justice and peace. 16. As a long-term response to globalization, we should consider exposure programs that bring the poor and middle class face to face. In this way, it is hoped that the poor will ―convert‖ the middle-class. The exposure program could include how the WTO affects the lives of the poor. 17. The middle class in both developed and developing countries may have to give up part of the comforts of their lifestyle in order to respond to the needs of the poor. 18. Plans by the ecumenical community in Hong Kong to respond to the WTO ministerial conference in December include an interfaith workshop on the WTO prior to the WTO ministerial conference. The workshop will focus on issues of food, trade and life. Does the WTO trade agreement on agriculture support the life of the people, for instance? 19. Another possible action includes an interfaith vigil during the WTO conference. 20. There is a need to link trade and war. Thus, there could be a Peace Festival and a prayer vigil as part of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Decade to Overcome Violence. Peace for Life noted that they will organize a Peace Festival that includes a prayer vigil. 21. The Asian Peace Alliance (APA) is also considering plans for activities during the WTO conference. 22. Grassroots people and their organizations in Palestine and Iraq could come to Hong Kong and share the stories of their suffering and problems, but this should also include their analyses and vision and plans for change. This should not just portray them as victims. Conclusions 1. The Hong Kong People‘s Alliance (HKPA) will act as the umbrella group under which people of faith will seek to respond to the WTO. 2. A working committee in Hong Kong will include representatives of the following organizations: Asia Regional Exchange for New Alternatives Asian Human Rights Commission Catholic Justice and Peace Commission Christian Conference of Asia Hong Kong Christian Institute Mission for Migrant Filipinos 3. There is a need to invite people from other faith communities in Hong Kong to participate on the working committee at a very early stage. 4. This working committee will keep the international faith community informed of their plans for the WTO conference. Women Contact Person: Gigi Francisco (IGTN) [firstname.lastname@example.org] Participants: Women from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines and Thailand Ongoing Global & Regional Initiatives IGTN Global education and Consultation activity. Beijing +10 meets WTO +10. A workshop on the same subject will be held at the WTO Symposium at Geneva. Trade Justice Campaign‘s call for a Global Week of Action during 10 of April to 16 of th th April just prior to the WTO symposium at Geneva, in about 25 countries around the World. Asian Indigenous Women‘s Network‘s Second Conference in the Cordilleras, Philippines, in April 2005. National Level Initiatives AMIHAN‘s ―Women Weaving a World Free from WTO and Globalization‖ Peasant women and fish workers in Philippines organize national and local protest on 11th and 12th of December at Metro Manila, Bohol, Cebu, etc. GABRIELA‘s Women‘s Summit on the Impact of the WTO, in June in the Philippines. Freedom From Debt Coalition Women‘s Committee - Launching of the Women‘s March against Poverty and Globalization on 31st of March, culminating with a women‘s National strike in December in Philippines. Bina Desa. In Indonesia series of training and workshop on WTO and Women and on impact of water Privatization. Rally in major cities – Osaka, Tokyo – Japan. IGTN & women‘s groups in HK - Workshop on the WTO & impact on women during first week of May. Common Women’s Initiatives at the People’s Action Week against the WTO, Dec 2005 APWLD and Asian Indigenous Women‘s Network‘s Speak Out by grassroots women on WTO / AOA. Workshop and Tribunal IGTN‘s workshop on Beijing +10 Meets WTO + 10 Women‘s March against Poverty & Globalization in coordination with women workers in HK to conduct a workshop on women workers and globalization. Women‘s March Solidarity Night. Press Conference. Trade, security, and development Contact Person: Ramon Bultron (APMM) [email@example.com] Workshop participants agreed on the need to show the relationship between trade (and trade conflicts), development, and war. As in previous gatherings of WTO, people‘s movements and social movements of various advocacies shall mobilize to oppose the WTO in various ways. The run-up to the 6th Ministerial meeting in HK in December comprises a series of negotiations and other preparations on one hand, and of parallel actions and mobilizations to expose and oppose these on the other. These and other occasions can be availed of to highlight the linkage or relationship between trade, development and war. 1. Activities and actions can be undertaken up to December There are a host of events and activities where the linkage between trade and war offer both the need and the opportunity. The workshop unanimously agreed to endorse the call for a global day of protest on March 20 against the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US and its allies. The following events were enumerated: o April – commemoration of 50 anniversary of Bandung Conference ―Spirit of th Bandung‖ Asia Africa Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia o May – anniversary of nuclear non-proliferation treaty, New York o June – G8 meeting o August – commemoration of 60th anniversary Hiroshima and Nagsaki bombings o September 10 – UN Millennium Summit o November – APEC meeting, Korea In addition, the following activities were mentioned and suggested o support for boycott of US brands o petition letter opposing privatization of services relating to extraction of energy resources, especially oil o for the G8 meeting: bus caravans from Africa to EU capitals, parallel report to Africa Commission Report, ―white band action‖ o for the MGB meeting: an alternative people‘s report on the Millenium Development Goals, ―Global Call for Action Against Poverty‖ action or campaign on the weapons trade action or campaign on militarism, military intervention and wars of aggression Activities for the Week of Action on the HK Ministerial o organize caravan of poor people from all over Asia to Hongkong o mini-conference on ―Trade and War‖ o workshops highlighting trade and development, trade and war, trade and people‘s rights/human rights – may be part of mini-conference or stand-alone o alternative people‘s report on the WTO and ―free trade‖ globalization 2. How to coordinate actions Proponents of activities or actions are responsible for providing written proposals detailing the rationale (eg. How the event or activity is related to the theme, ―Trade and War‖), mechanics and design, and means of coordination. Coordination shall mainly be through email. All those who attended the workshop will be provided a list of email addresses. A proposal was made for an e-group to be set up to facilitate exchange. 3. How to mobilize towards December The events and activities enumerated shall serve as build-up activities for the December Week of Action in terms of 1. education and public information, 2. network-building, 3. occasions for coordinated actions and mobilizatons, 4. exchange of information, research materials, and analysis. Organizations and groups shall be encouraged to make national and possibly regional and international campaign plans and avail of the network made possible by the HKPA/ICN. 4. Actions to undertake to derail the WTO HK Ministerial The abovementioned activities pertaining to the theme ―Trade and War‖ are an essential component to the overall campaign to expose and oppose the WTO by contributing to a comprehensive people‘s critique of the WTO and neoliberal ―globalization‖, and particularly by linking the WTO and trade issues to the urgent issues of poverty, oppression and war and… It will contribute to building the broadest people‘s movement against the WTO HK Ministerial by drawing the support and participation of anti-war and peace movements worldwide. Youth and Students Contact Person: Lee Khai Loon (ASA) [firstname.lastname@example.org] Participants: Students and young adults from Thailand, the Philippines, UK, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. At the outset, the group‘s consensus is that youth and students would feel the impact of WTO policies mostly in the area of education and employment. The common experience shared is that education is rapidly being commercialized and privatized. Governments are increasingly pressurized by WTO to grant corporations access to privatizing education. Some of the results of commercialization of education are that school fees have increased, thereby further reducing access to education by students of poorer families. Students who had to take up student loans to finance their studies may find themselves saddled with debt and high interest repayment even before they can seek gainful employment. Another interesting sharing by a Thai participant is that while medical interns from public schools were previously available to provide medical care in rural villages, private education has rendered this service unavailable to communities where it is most needed. Further, when education is directed by commercial interests, students are usually trained to fulfill employment requirements rather than educated to unfold their creative potential. Humanity subjects and art classes are readily replaced with more pragmatic subjects like business, IT and biotechnology eg Hong Kong. The superficiality of commercialized education has led one Filipino participant to comment that students may find themselves merely ―buying certificates‖. However, the reality is that high cost education nowadays does not even guarantee employability. The students‘ market-oriented training renders them vulnerable to economic booms and busts. In times of depression, especially sectoral depression eg in IT, fresh graduates may find themselves unemployed for months or even years. The problem can be acute for debt ridden students, or students from lower income families or those with retrenched family members in need of financial support. A Taiwanese participant observed that with the high cost of education, many students have been driven to download material from the Internet or photocopy textbooks, which may at times lead to copyright infringement. It was suggested that intellectual property protectionism should be reduced in areas of public education. Separately, while youth gatherings are increasingly criminalized eg gatherings of 3 or more youths above 16 years of age in UK are presumed to be illegal, youth engagement in military service is compulsory eg Taiwan, Singapore and/or encouraged through attractive scholarship programs. The above reflection has led the group to strategise as follows : - 1. What activities and actions can we do before and during the Week of Action in HK? End April – publication on ―WTO and its impact on Youth & Students‖ (or such title) to be disseminated to students through faulty emails and post boxes. July/ August – regional youth assemblies in Asia, Europe on WTO and to discuss further specific strategies for derailing WTO 17 Nov – International Day of Action 13 to 18 Dec – International Youth & Students‘ Gathering 2. How can we coordinate our actions? Through email and egroup discussions. 3. How can we mobilize people in our respective organizations and networks during the action week in HK? What restrictions and risks do we foresee and how do we deal with them? Examination period for students especially in Hong Kong. Youths in Hong Kong and Singapore for eg are unaware/ apathetic to issues on WTO, globalization and their effects on education and employment. Organisations and networks in this movement would have to focus more efforts in conscientising the youths in the respective countries to the issues, in the build-up to the action week in December. Eg material can be disseminated to teachers facilitating discussions on globalisation in classes. 4. What actions can we undertake in order to derail the WTO? Youths, being the future leaders should take an active role and lead in the efforts to derail the WTO. The emphasis would not necessarily be on the number of participants but the creative imput in maximizing the impact of their message eg through film/ multi media. The emphasis for the youth and students gathering during the action week would therefore have to be as cultural and vibrant as possible, both to attract interest and participation. There could be a series of concerts by activist musicians, performances by concerned artists, social media/art displays. If space permits, there could be a ―model‖ classroom suggesting the types of education and environment in which students should receive their education. There should also be public forums for spontaneous speeches or ―graffiti‖ boards for youth articulation/ art and crafts. The spontaneous liveliness and aliveness of youth-directed education should stand in strong ridicule of the dull market-serving and exploitative WTO-driven educational policies negotiated behind closed doors. Thematic Workshops AoA Contact Person: Minnie Lopez (National Federation of Peasant Women – Philippines) [email@example.com] Participants: More than 50 individuals from 11 countries There was a brief discussion on the ―monkey wrenching‖ concept led by Tony Tujan. Tony also discussed possible points of discussion on the AoA which may be taken up on the 6th Ministerial. There was also a brief discussion on the possible position of China in the upcoming ministerial. As for the action plan, the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) through Danilo Ramos and Irene Fernandez presented and discussed their plans and activities for the coming ministerial in December in Hong Kong and these are the following: o Dec 11, 2005 – there will be support mobilizations in the Philippines for the December 11 mobilization in Hong Kong. On this day, there will be a Rural People‘s Countdown in the Philippines to be led by the Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP). Similar actions will also be held nationwide by the National Federation of Peasant Women (AMIHAN- Philippines). o Dec 14-15 (Hong Kong) – workshop on the AoA (impact and resistance) bearing the theme: ―10 Years of the AoA: Global Catastrophe for Agricultural Producers‖ o Dec 15 (Hong Kong) – Rural Peoples March Against the WTO o Dec 16 (Hong Kong) – WFFP and Pamalakaya-Philippines‘ HK Bayside Conference o Dec17 (Hongkong) – Amihan-Phil, Asian Peasant Women Network (APWN) and APWLD-led Rural Women‘s March Pm – Rural Peoples Solidarity Affair o These activities are open for everybody o These activities are co-sponsored by the PANAP,WFFP, APWN, APWLD Peasants from Korea shared their experiences also The importance of local, regional and international activities against the AoA/WTO was recognized as crucial and vital in the December actions in Hong Kong. FTA Contact Person: Omana George (AMRC) [firstname.lastname@example.org] Participants: 18 participants Action plan: 1. The suggestion for the global action week should have an educational and media aspect. Each day of the week should focus on one theme. 2. Open Forum on FTA during the Action Week will be on one of the days- with inputs from different sectors and countries (e.g.) labour, gender, health sector) and country inputs (e.g.) Australia, Philippines, Bangladesh etc. 3. Post ICN and before December- a series of education and mobilisation activities in their country and networks based on what the work they do. These activities are to raise public awareness about FTA and what they mean in the daily lives of the common man. It is also easier to create plans and work with each other based on the FTA‘s that the individual countries have signed otherwise it will be impractical to carry out the action plan 4. There was a suggestion to have an action at the airport when the officials from respective countries are departing for the WTO meeting. 5. A global coordinated protest on the same day in different countries where they will pressurize the WTO delegates by public protest/ action outside the U.S embassy and also embassies of other countries who have signed bilateral and multilateral agreements with the host country 6. A delegation from the South to meet Govt officials at the General council meeting in Geneva Minutes of the meeting Patricia Ranald of Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network gave an input on FTA‘s in Australia. They are working on bilateral free trade agreements in China – Australia, N.Zealand- Australia, and ASEAN- Australia; zero tariffs in agriculture and manufacturing and extending intellectual property rights. The policy of the US Government is to get more than they can get from bilateral FTA‘s by getting into the policy making process of the WTO. Australian agenda is greater and faster to markets. Thailand and China being the future markets. Looking for better conditions for investors and investments. Terms of mobilising against the passing of FTA‘s in relation to the China agreement. After 15 months of mobilising they achieved some impacts on negotiation but could not defeat the agreement so it is now being implemented and they are going to monitor the medical access. They carried out mobilisation in different communities, in the service sector and regulations regarding health sector and food (genetic engineering) Jacques- Chai of Focus Asia – Thailand has 11 bilateral and multilateral agreements. They carried out a FTA watch during the APEC summit in late 2003. ASEAN- China – ongoing in the moment. The bad impact of the FTA is the fear of flooding agricultural products in the Thai market and that‘s why the Government has not restarted negotiations. He also highlighted the importance of being involved in the ministerial meeting in Geneva (general council). There will be some upcoming drafts and the first one will be completed in July, then there will be other upcoming drafts before December. The importance of trying to influence the outcome of these meetings even if we do not have any direct participation. The US tactic has been to divide and rule- this can apply cross national and cross sector (farmers and workers ; textile markets compete with each other) Thais are very afraid that if they do not get the FTA‘s the competition will be much worse since they have 1 million Thai workers. Norma from KMU gave an example of Toyota and she said that the whole strategy of the company to ‗improve‘ the business environment meaning that since the labour is too costly and KMU is a problem. They want to encourage the formation of yellow unions. Therefore, co-operation with Japanese union groups is needed in order to plan a series of actions. Tomako Oda from the International Center for Labor Solidarity – After Cancun collapsed the Govt. started negotiations with ASEAN. There was already joint co-operation with the Korean group. There was joint action with Korean and Japanese trade unions in front of foreign ministries. Because of this joint action the Korean Government was very hesitant towards FTA‘s. Therefore, the Japanese Government does not want to disclose FTA matters instead of that they want to ‗improve‘ the business environment meaning to control the labour movement and stop the struggle. In relation to the various inputs above, there were further comments from the representatives of Bangladesh, Taiwan and the Philippines. Questions raised How can we influence the negotiators before they go to the Ministerial meeting? How can we influence them before and during the week of action? How do we engage local Governments and government officials? GATS Contact Person: Mary Lou Malig (Focus on the Global South) [email@example.com] Participants: 105 participants Summary/Key Points: 1) Calendar of actions, meetings and key points of mobilizations (e.g. deadline of offers, requests, GATS negotiations, GC meetings, etc) 2) GATS Day – a dedicated day to GATS within the week of action in December in Hong Kong: there will be plenaries, sectoral workshops, seminars and discussions inside and there will be a public demonstration on GATS 3) Common mobilization on GATS during the week of action 4) Listserve of all GATS campaigners to continue discussion and coordination Discussion: a) Current Gats Actions/Campaigns ―Resist GATS‖ campaign –> involving 12 sectors; mobilization; analyzing requests and offers made by governments to WTO ―People not for sale‖ campaign – GATS, TRIPS and their impacts; covering Asia, Mid- East, Americas; privatization of health services; liberalization, commodification of health care; coordinating People‘s Health is Not for Sale Campaign – GATS and TRIPS and effects on healthcare – network created 2 years ago – focuses on issues of privatization and impact on healthcare – launched healthcare movement Initiative and campaign to develop a ―Convention on Cultural Diversity‖ – pressure governments to stop signing TRIPS; want to coordinate Geneva actions with country- based actions on this issue; during GATS week in Hong Kong in Deccember, will coordinate cultural related actions; international culture sector – convention of cultural diversity – pressure governments not to sign away cultural rights to GATS, audiovisual services and other cultural services; meeting hosted by the Canadian government and with Brasilian Culture Minister Gilberto Gil – coordinate that with national level campaigns – there will be more information around that. GATS week in December. Lobbying effort by higher educational unions pressure governments demanding GATS and governments pressured to accept Action plan against WTO – education and mobilizations in HK – Dec 18 (International migrants days) – mobilization; education training/activities on WTO among migrants throughout the year; action on Intl women‘s Day (Mar 13); mobilization on May 1; June 2005 – concert on migrants/WTO together with Filipino musicians; April 2005, August – Indonesian migrants in HK doing mobilizations, assemblies; public debate in HK on WTO; - all the members are holding a training on the WTO on GATS mode 4, International Women‘s Day celebration and will discuss GATS, also on Labor day, also a concert with Hong Kong and Filipino musicians, December 11, cultural night and December 18 – International Migrants Day, March from Victoria Park to Central, August 17 Indonesian Independence Day – WTO will be tackled, Migrants Rights Intl (Intl network; Geneva) – WTO interventions in Geneva bringing Asian migrants‘ issues; public debate will be organized in Geneva; Migrant Forum in Asia (Asian regional) – Asia-wide campaign against WTO research on impacts of GATS on developing countries; impact assessments from various continents; will present in a panel discussion; recommend policy agendas; assess impacts of GATS on tourism in developing countries, looking for groups based in other countries to take up the assessment and training in their own countries Policy services International (international group) - campaign on quality public services; anti privatization campaigns of affiliates; campaign launched in 2005 in Asia; campaign on women migrants in the health sector; education activities on this issue, GATS Mode 4; campaign on quality public services – campaign on anti-privatization, women and the migration of health workers – possible effects of mode 4 and marginalization of women workers Vietnam: negotiations with government on agriculture-related WTO matters; linking with Oxfam ‗fair trade campaign‘ Philippines: Women‘s march against poverty and privatization; culminate in a general women‘s strike in Philippines in time for WTO Ministerial meeting in HK; Asian Network on Debt & Development (regional network)– campaign on debt, jobs, water, GATS privatization of public services, etc.; AsPac partners will form campaign plans for whole 2005; total, unconditional debt cancellation for all poor countries of the South, including tsunami-hit countries; will synchronize actions in time for WTO ministerial meeting ASA/Youth groups – are organizing activities throughout the year; national and regional/international levels; network is mobilizing youth organizations in the region/world as contribution to general campaign vs. WTO; youth-students conference in July 2005 in Geneva; international students‘ day of action (July 17); Youth-Student festival on Dec 14-17; invite other youth orgs to join these efforts. Solidarity of Filipino worker (BMP) – conduct a series of meeting to inform our affiliate unions regarding the plan to derail the WTO 6th Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong; BMP will also initiate to have ―Manila Labor Forum‖ on November to be attended by different labor group internationally and one of the main agenda are WTO/GATS and ―war on terrorism‖ – we in BMP welcome all trade unions and other groups to attend the said ―Manila Labor Forum‖ on November 27-30 and on the last day November 30, 2005 there will be a big mobilization and also planning to have a big mobilization during the week of action. b) How Our Struggles Can Converge; How We Can Work Together; Specific Areas To Address a. continue our country and network-level initiatives; b. need to do more effective, joint ‗monkey wrenching‘ efforts, coordinated actions; suggest to have common actions on issues, e.g. migrants debt cultural health environment transport, communication tourism public services (power, water, etc.) c. suggest to have common dates for action, e.g. common, global actions leading to and during Dec 2005 – in respective countries; launch actions in Greater China area (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Mainland China?) joint action in Hong Kong in Dec 2005; Action Week respective themes/sectors have to articulate their key issues … then we develop common position together for presentation in Dec; need to communicate our key issues/positions including to workers in respective countries/China (translate, popularise) so they will know our issues; d. engage our respective governments – pressure them to be more transparent re: WTO/GATS matters e. suggest to do common campaign on GATS Mode 4 – this is a key WTO-related issue for migrants do intensive seminars among migrants; migrants join mobilizations, visible campaigns in HK during Action Week e.g. through MFA, AMC, etc.; link these actions, demands with partners in Geneva (e.g. thru MRI) so they can raise our issues there. f. suggest to form e-group to communicate and coordinate our actions; g. suggest to consolidate and circulate the list/calendar of our activities, campaigns, important WTO-related dates; complement each others‘ efforts, invite each other, check if our activities relate with WTO events; h. suggest to have common website i. educational materials – suggest to share, centralize existing educational materials; can also put these in the web; existing groups doing this (e.g. GATSWATCH) can take care of this. j. suggest to have common slogan/s; k. Action week list all activities during this week (activities in Hong Kong and all over the world?) suggest to have our own workshop in Dec and do common mobilization on GATS in Dec; suggest to have panel discussions on GATS in Dec; then this will lead to a GATS-march; l. circulate a list of groups doing ―inside‖ and ―outside‖ campaigns against WTO, so that we can reinforce and help each other; NAMA Contact Person: Gigi Francisco (IGTN) [firstname.lastname@example.org] Participants: Trade activists, unionists, migrants organizations, fisher-folk and farmers networks, and women‘s organizations. We came from several countries from Asia Europe & North America. What is NAMA? NAMA is a series of negotiations within the WTO aimed at reducing tariffs on industrial products. Its real scope, however, is much wider because NAMA integrates into its rubric any product that falls outside of agriculture. In addition to industrial products, this includes natural and environmental products such as fisheries, forestry, precious metals, and gems, among others. NAMA is an important component in the current WTO negotiations. It is contained in the text of the July Framework, as ANNEX B. Because our advocacy in Cancun was strongly focused on the AoA and the Singapore issues, most activists did not immediately realize that NAMA or Annex B went through with a very detailed proposal for reducing tariffs on a wide scope of sectors. However, it is important to note that paragraph 1 of Annex B also explicitly states that its content still needs to be negotiated and agreed upon. The developing countries are conscious of this fact hence they refrain from using the exact language found in Annex B so as not to establish a language norm. The developed countries, on the other hand, are liberal in using the language of Annex B and are treating the NAMA as if it were already a done deal. These include the US, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, EU, etc. Critical Issues Although there are still many activists who do not fully understand the NAMA, there are a few who had done some work on it and found the following critical issues: 1. The current proposal for tariff reduction is asking countries to harmonize their tariff levels and cut tariffs more steeply. Developing countries will be most affected by this since they have generally higher tariffs. This raises the issues of restricted policy space and lack of flexibility for governments that would like to protect their industrialization process. The loss of such policy space and flexibility would redound to practically a de- industrialization process. It will also lead to a lost in much needed revenue to support their development and poverty eradication programs. 2. A large percentage of products in developing countries are not bound; the NAMA requires 100 percent coverage across all sectors. It bounds developing countries to tariff ceilings and measures that cannot be unbound in the future. This will have dramatic and simultaneous effects on various sectors of a country‘s economy, if implemented. 3. The issue of non tariff barriers potentially impinges on environmental and health standards and raises the complex question of what are legitimate or illegitimate non tariff barriers? 4. Two other issues were mentioned but were not discussed due to lack of time. These were: (a) sectoral initiatives and (b) preference erosion. What do we watch out for? 1. The WTO negotiations on NAMA are going full steam. The committee chair has announced that there will be week-long meetings on NAMA every month with the objective of hammering out an agreement in time for the 6th WTO Ministerial Meeting. It is important to know that the next mini ministerial in Kenya will focus on NAMA. 2. There is still no G-20 like position among developing countries on the issue of NAMA although recently there was a strong statement on NAMA at the Davos mini-ministerial, by countries, such as, China, Brazil, South Africa. 3. NAMA could still be used by developed countries to trade off concessions in agriculture and GATS. What we should do is to turn this around and use NAMA to stick out as a sore thumb that could stall the negotiations. What can we do? 1. Activists based in the North should ―remind‖ their government of Paragraph 1 and stop them from using NAMA as if it were already agreed upon. Activists based in the South should emphasize to their governments the existence of Paragraph 1 and demand that they refrain from agreeing to NAMA without adequate assessments on the impact of variously proposed tariff formulas. Support the call already made by FOE to STOP AND REVIEW THE NEGOTIATIONS. 2. Some groups in Geneva are planning to hold a two-day strategy session on NAMA before the WTO Symposium in April. This could be an opportunity to unite on a common analysis of NAMA. 3. Demand that governments to protect their policy space and flexibility to adopt a mix of policies and to vigorously oppose WTO moves of locking-in countries to bound commitments that will only lead to de-industrialization. 4. Undertake impact assessments on development and poverty of unilateral or IMF imposed tariff reduction schemes, to provide evidence for the adverse impact of NAMA on poverty eradication. 5. Create a Listserve on NAMA to share information. Make the OWINFS list serve on NAMA an open Listserve for any group interested to join. 6. Vigorously undertake education on NAMA at the national level. Working Groups Action and Mobilization Contact Person: Tam Chun Yin (HKCTU) [email@example.com] Participants: 18 participants 1. Mechanism Through E-group to suggesting, managing and monitor actions working group is for implementing and promote activities, especially with local people. They can help to provide risk assessment according to local context. The local groups can also provide logistic help. 2. Framework 3. Non-violent 4. road to HK Mobilization The principle of the alliance is respecting any form of actions HKPA can provide logistic support Should the role of HKPA be the organizer of the activities? There was an suggestion of asking HKPA to organize one to two big actions (Opening and closing Session) Groups can organize activities with other local groups Translation Will HKPA go inside WTO? There will be different issues on different days. The group encouraged other groups to list down their activities so that the activities can be arranged without conflicting each other. Designated area for Media and events Documentation Contact Person: Sharon Schroeder (DAGA) [firstname.lastname@example.org] Participants: 11 participants Aims 1. Provide other people with information on the WTO and the Hong Kong People‘s Alliance on WTO (HKPA), in terms of position papers and activities. 2. Document the process between now and the WTO‘s ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December. Specific Functions A. Website a. Rebuild HKPA website, to put messages/information from different countries on the internet b. Sort different messages/information according to country, as well as topics (labour, women, environment, peasants/farmers, youth and students, migrants, religious/interfaith, fisher folk, indigenous people, and other topics discussed at ICN) c. Build a media library about news of counter-activities, to include various types of media like video. d. Coordinate website activities between other ICN working groups B. Archive a. Collect physical information relating to counter-activities from now up to and including December, including pamphlets, brochures, books, banners, other types of media. b. Ask participants of the December action week to send information to us before they come in December. C. Secretariat (with core group) a. Develop guidelines to be used by secretariat as well as all ICN participants to properly organize files and assist in developing archive. For example, back up e- mails and electronic documents. D. December Action Week Activities a. Develop electronic newsletter to be published every day during the event b. Document all activities and disseminate information. Recommendations 1. Hire full time staff as soon as possible, to coordinate activities of the working group, including developing/implementing website. 2. Form a core group from the larger Documentation Working Group, to be from the local Hong Kong community (comprising members of HKCTU, APMM, ASA, DAGA) General Discussion Immediate Tasks In general, we will be gathering information, updates, a calendar of activities from each country from now until December. We will also collect minutes from the meetings of all ICN activities. Is it possible to have a Documentation Centre to collect information? Website Link to five or ten of the most important materials from past WTO meetings, as we have little experience in regard to WTO issues. We can develop a media library, where we can link to video of the South Korean farmer in Cancun. Labour groups in Taiwan held a film festival on globalization. Area of materials to collect: Sectors as developed during the ICN (labour, peasants/farmers, youth and students, migrants, women, religious/interfaith, fisher folk, indigenous people, children, trade and security; NAMA, AoA, TRIPS, GATS, FTA). These areas will be organized by country and by topic. We will also update on HKPA events/activities, including those of the working groups. Our electronic documents will be gathered and consolidated from both searching through related messages as well as from articles sent by other people. Format should be cross- platform/language (e.g. PDF). We want to collect information and materials in all languages. Even if an article is not translated, we will still collect the original document in the original language. It would be good to find resource people from different countries from the larger ICN group who would send information to us. December Action Week In December, it would be helpful to develop and distribute guidelines for participant groups, so that DWG members are not running around for every activity. We can assign four or five people to each activity, to take photos. There will be many tasks to cover the activities in December, so the DWG will outline tasks that need to be done, and we will advertise for help from others. We will need to consolidate information and updates from the WTO meeting, as well as counter-activities. The DWG will be responsible for documenting the opening and closing activities, and any HKPA-organized activities. Other organizers of parallel activities during the week will be asked for their documents for our archive. The DWG will develop publications or possibly a magazine from the action week. There needs to be an office where people can ask questions. General Considerations Guidelines: We need a set of guidelines to take care that notes are gathered at the secretariat, so that they are properly organized and available. The guidelines should include such technical details as creating regular weekly or daily backups of work. Coordination: It would be good to have a documentation editor to organize and sort through information. There needs to be coordination with the other working groups from the ICN. Local coordination is most helpful, as so much is based in Hong Kong, in terms of website hosting, and activities. Having bilingual (Cantonese/English) skills is very helpful. Hiring a part-time documentalist to maintain the website would be extremely helpful, as there is much work involved. The documentalist would collect information from other groups involved, as well as develop press kits or disseminate other requested information. If this is not possible, it would be good to hire a staff for two or three months before the December Action Week. Would it be possible for an organization to give a leave during this period or volunteer a staff to do this? The core Hong Kong coordinating group can be a back-up for the hired staff. Representatives from ASA, APMM, HKCTU, and DAGA will combine resources to form the group. They would be responsible for designing the website after there is a detailed structure developed. Members’ Skills: It would be good to have a database of people‘s skills, which could be used as we see needs. Some members might be good at editing, collecting information, taking photos, writing. Eef will supply links for the website, as well as being a general resource for documenting and archiving. Logistics and Finance Contact Person: Elizabeth Tang (HKCTU) [email@example.com] Participants: 6 participants 1. The logistic group should focus only on the facilitation during the action week of MC6 2. The HKPA will not have capacity to arrange accommodation for the overseas participants. However HKPA can provide contacts of hotels and travel agencies to the overseas group. It would help the overseas participants if that kind of information can be uploaded on the web-site by the end of April. 3. The HKPA will provide facilitation of renting recreation camps for the alliance have big numbers of participants who can not afford hotel fees. However the alliances who want to stay in that kind of camp need to confirm the number of participants and send deposit for the rental by the end of July. 4. Since HKPA will organise big open forum and rally, it is important for the national network, regional and international network to inform HKPA about the number of people going to come to MC6. HKPA needed that information by August. 5. HKPA will recruit volunteer interpreter in different language for the action week activities. 6. HKPA will develop a rescue team to handle police arrest during the rally. Besides, HKPA will develop public assembly monitoring mechanism with local human rights organisation and lawyers. 7. HKPA will meet with the immigration department to clarify the immigration policy during the MC6. HKPA should facilitate a venue for communication among the participants. Media and Publicity Contact Person: Rey Asis (ASA) [firstname.lastname@example.org] Summary of Key Points/Proposals 1) press center with translators A press centre will be put up in the HKPA/NGO site. Interpreters will be placed there to help in writing statements in various languages (depending on their expertise). 2) live webcast We will have a live feed on the net coming from the events happening in the HKPA/NGO site. 3) journalist accreditation Journalists will be given accreditation in the HKPA/NGO site before they are allowed entry. 4) MSN linked to website 5) Inside-outside strategy There will be coordination and communication between the organizations inside and outside the WTO site. 6) Regional/independent press and radio We would need a listing of regional/independent media organizations and radio whom we can work with before and during the WTO MC6. 7) Pre-meeting journalist e.g.: ―real Cancun tour‖ 8) Daily newspaper/ bulletin in different languages The press centre will release a daily news bulletin about the whole WTO, HKPA and NGO happenings. 9) Website with related issues/organizations A website will be put up and related issues/organizational activities will be uploaded. 10) Further discussion to decide bottom line 11) Media training for activists 12) Directory of organizations for press and press list for organizations 13) Develop media strategy working document - media team will send out a proposed draft media strategy and develop this until group reaches consensus Develop media strategy on clearing the image of the HKPA and our campaigns while putting the government in the defensive. 14) Position on non-violence: adopt position of HKPA on violence 15) HKPA to act as facilitator to open space for organizations to speak 16) Quick response team (e.g. arrests) 17) December 18 is not the end of our movement 18) WTO guide for dummies (journalists/media) 19) Resource information Notes: Proposals: 1) press center 2) live ―webcast‖ 3) SEATINI proposal for technology SMS 4) Community radios, independent radios 5) Compile progressive journalists, media solicit these names 6) Wire services, regional news agencies 7) Pre-events for journalists ex: tour of real Cancun 8) Daily newspaper, bulletin, monitoring 9) Translation 10) People¹s gathering profiling grassroots people 11) Calendar of events, after this HK meeting, list we circulate some events happening in HK, if they¹re interested pave the way for December Issue of who speaks for who, develop shared media list of contacts, will they be flooded with information how to respond to the media, media strategy, information not a problem violence political discussion, derail or not to derail? More discussion HKPA with the international friends, HKPA already has promotional material FOE prefer organizations speak for themselves insulate HKPA as a facilitator body, create a space can have seemingly contradictory views where we will need a position is violence anti-neoliberal globalization consistent position on violence and facilitation call for all of us to send materials and distribute to the press and have a pro-active position on violence; HKPA has already said police led violence plurality of positions, line that we don‘t go e.g.: Cancun Oxfam said that it was a disaster for developing countries, not be scared to say that we have lines that we don¹t share; violence Cancun and Koreans‘ role in Cancun, fact that fence came under attack, disciplined actions, they were not violent towards people, there was direct action to the barriers, violence we be careful of what we say media groups have additional responsibility to translate the story into a favorable story we have to recognize different positions HKPA would not tell people to stop but they are just explaining to the Chinese media, we will not denounce other organizations it is important that we draw a line Australia example of infiltration violence: example the corporate violence against workers Cancun barricades were successful because the police were tolerant, don‘t know how it will be here in Hong Kong put up easy accessible way of communicating our stories migrant workers their job security is on the line if we get violent as a collective we endorse non-violence, certain code of behavior 3 positions: 1) convergence 2) divergence with solidarity 3) divergence w/o solidarity we don‘t necessarily condemn violence if it happens subsequently, we can respond appropriately, we start with the position of non-violence position: main message but hesitant to draw lines and make definite lines position its a process issue, main conclusion: we have had no space to have a discussion on political positioning, problematic in practical terms drawing the line on non-violence, look at previous statements and see if we can produce something in the coming weeks media in Cancun whipped people up into a frenzy because of non-violent actions arrests media training, one un-thoughtful comment from any of us can ruin things but we should show solidarity we should not condemn people we know that the press misquote people Prague: responsibility to the hosts, movement there is damaged because of our presence there, we are violent people inside actions different, responsibility to each other position: most of us are committed to derailing, but now its more difficult, there is a messaging issue extra careful with dealing issue of violence, being played up by the WTO, if we continue to discuss it, this will stay till December, we should discuss other issues develop a media strategy from now till December, message framing, gets into a 2-3 pages communication plan improvement of a suggestion: bring the media team here ahead of time HKPA can brief people and have a local briefing about papers/media here in HK drawing the line: related to your countries, your organization, your sectors that org be responsible for that; but on the WTO- we have to have an alliance, we have to appoint a few people, pragmatic issues, we have to think about it; non-violent depend on people and barriers derail, its all divergent positions, resource information Outreach Contact Person: Li Khai Loon (ASA) [email@example.com] Function: 1. Information Education Campaign: National, Regional and International Networks circulation of the materials make information multi-lingual: key languages used in the region establish an E-group maximize the function of the website: interactive, will contain list of groups in the HKPA, will provide contact details of networks, online registration, etc venues to reach out to marginalized sectors: conferences, for a, info packers on WTO 2. Coordinate/Be involved in HKPA Plans to: forward to HKPA the inputs on activities, plan of action of networks disseminate/circulate POA & activities of organizations among the networks Suggestion to HKPA: Come out with a name for the December event Identified networks who could be pact of the Outreach WG classified into sectors and issues Need to link more with organizations in Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Central Asia, Pacific Islands and Eastern Europe How to work with other HKPA Working Groups particularly Finance, Media and Publicity, Documentation. Program Contact Person: Ah Tat (HKCTU) [firstname.lastname@example.org] 1. Roles of Programme Workshop Group (PWG) 1.1 Key roles of the Programme Workshop Group were identified as: To propose the HKPA on Action Week programme To focus on coordination of the Centralised Open and Closing Plenary Sessions on Dec 13 and 18th To facilitate and coordinate the programme for the rest of the action week 1.2 PWG would design and come out with the programme plan and event calendar of the Action Week on Dec 11 – 18. It would include also the centralized and thematic programmes. 1.3 It was proposed to find out more information about the 2000 registered NGOs for better coordination and developing inside/outside strategy. 2. Goal of PWG 2.1 The goal of PWG was identified as To develop content and design of maximum impact through collective action for the centralised Opening and Closing Plenary Sessions on Dec 13 and Dec 18 To coordinate all the on-going/planned activities for Dec 14-17 and produce a calendar of consolidated activities based on the theme and sectors for each day 3. Principle of PWG 3.1 Activities should be planned with flexibility and open space for interaction and support of each other in various activities each day. 3.2 The platform should be made open for people who did not join this ICN workshop to join in. 4. Content and Design of the Action Week 4.1 It was agreed that the Action Week in Hong Kong would be held on 11 – 18 Dec. 4.2 It was agreed to acknowledge the actions and mobilization worldwide related to the International Human Right Day on 10 December as part of the Action Week. The International Migrant Day on 18 December would be highlighted in the Centralized Closing Plenary of the Action Week. 4.3 A Centralized Mobilization would be arranged on 11 Dec in Hong Kong as it would be easier to mobilize more people on Sunday to make the impact highly visible. It was agreed to arrange a second centralized mobilization on the MC6 Opening Day on 13 Dec to enhance impact – it could start with a Hong Kong-led cultural event so as to highlight the characteristic of Hong Kong and China. 4.4 It was emphasized that strong core message or declaration should be made through the Centralized Opening Plenary to address different targets categorized as 1) media; 2) public; 3) negotiators and 4) WTO. 4.5 It was decided to keep content and design of the Centralized Opening Plenary Sessions open to accommodate more suggestions and proposals especially from those who could not join this ICN meeting. Suggestions collected in the group discussion include: The centralized opening plenary session should be conducted in open air outdoor to represent the characteristic of social grassroot movement grassroot presentation must be made visible and speak out should present with rich cultural diversity there is a need to balance grassroot presentation with ‗personality‘ the Opening Plenary should highlight major issues of MC6 and potentially also include an assessment of 10 years of WTO impact, state of the art of the struggle of the world against WTO, WTO agenda and processes, as well as drawing the link between globalization and peace 4.6 The group had diverted view regarding the suggestion of setting thematic sessions for the period of Dec 14-17. It was agreed options should be kept open to accommodate more suggestions and proposals from organizations which cannot join this ICN conference. Communication with the Action and Mobilization Working Group was also identified as essential. 4.7 To facilitate the programme dated 14-17 Dec, it was suggested that HKPA should play a coordinative role to develop a programme calendar. 4.8 In view of uncertainty about the outcome and closing date of MC6, it was agreed not to draw solid plan nor developing centralized statement for the Centralized Closing Plenary Session at this stage. It was agreed that the International Migrant Day would be highlighted on Dec 18. 4.9 Other suggestions or remarks made in the discussion of PWG include: there is a need to develop inside/outside strategies to bring along strong impact. International organizations‘ input would be essential for developing the inside strategy education work in Hong Kong, national or regional level should be arranged well before MC6 while the action week should focus on demonstrating strong resistance against WTO. High level dialogue should be arranged during the Action Week It is suggested to set up a notice board in open area for organizations to post highlights and seeking signature for position paper. Good coordination among different Working Groups would be absolutely essential. It was note that Peace for Life planned to conduct a cultural festival on 13 Dec. 5. Next Step 5.1 It was agreed that platform should be kept free for people to join in the Action Week and Outreach group should follow this up. 5.2 HKPA would send a report of the workshop to all Programme Working Group Members by the end of March. 5.3 HKPA would send invitation for submission of ideas and plan of thematic programme to other people participate in this meeting in Apr 2005. All members were expected to outreach wider participation via their own network. Deadline for response was tentatively set as Aug 2005. 5.4 The Programme Working Group members will maintain close communication via emailing and e-group. Telephone conference would be called up whenever necessary. 6 HKPA’s role 6.1 It was clarified that HKPA‘s role in PWG is to collect ideas and advices from organisations of all countries and develop a realistic proposal about what to do. 6.2 HKPA will focus on coordinating the programme for 13 and 18 Dec, and try to offer assistance to request raised from different organisations which plan to conduct actions for the period of Dec 14-17. 7 Interpretation and translation service 7.1 Babels proposed and the working group appreciated the offer for organizing voluntary interpretation/translation service for the Action Week. Professional service will be provided free but expenses for board and lodge should be factored into the budget plan. The Logistic and Finance Working Groups are expected to follow up with Babels for detail arrangement. 7.2 Babels called for ICN participants‘ assistance to call for potential voluntary translators/interpreters and they could get in touch with Babels via registration online at www.babels.com. Table 1 - Summary of the Action Week Programme Date Event Remarks Dec 10, Saturday High mobilization and actions Human Rights Day worldwide related to the International Human Rights Day Dec 11, Sunday Centralized 1. To demonstrate the resistant mobilization against WTO 2. Show strong visual of the global Big and might act! movement against WTO 3. Statement for what we think about WTO and we have accomplished during this period of time Dec 12, Monday Dec 13, Tuesday Centralised Opening Opening /plenary plenary Session and the 1. Priority given to social movement second Centralized (grassroots participation and mobilization personality-political leaders) 2. Open air activities Draw maximum media 3. Declaration attention the Fight 4. Highlight Chinese characteristic in against WTO! mobilization such as cultural protest (coordinate with the Action and mobilization group) Dec 14-17 Thematic events 1. A carefully planned insider and outsider linkage with some other Platform for people to international NGOs to negotiate free to join within is essential. 2. Provide a daily update of the current situation 3. High level dialogue Dec 18, Wednesday Centralised Closing 1. Keep plans open and flexible plenary Session 2. Link the International Solidarity for Migrants and Hong Kong People. 3. Highlight the International Migrants Day Unfortunately, we do not have reports from the Indigenous People and Peasants/farmers sectoral workshops, as well as the TRIPS thematic workshop. If you know who might have the reports from these groups, please forward them to HKPA. General Discussion regarding Working Groups The Action Week form is still open. The content of the open plenary will have to cover an assessment of the WTO after 10 years of operation, as well as the current state of the agenda of negotiations themselves. There should be some kind of synthesis of what has happened to the struggle/resistance of movements to the WTO. And the cause – what do we do at the MC6. Is there a policy about fundraising and supporting people coming from regions that would need financial assistance to attend (e.g. from the Middle East or Africa)? We would need to think about this now, since we would have to fundraise. Perhaps there can be a solidarity fund for participants from least developed countries, to support people who otherwise would not be able to afford to come to Hong Kong. How can we be sure to involve other organizations in the opening march in the December Action Week? We would want other organizations‘ marches or demonstrations to be visibly linked to the Hong Kong march. There are concerns about the media message. We need to be careful how we use this language in the media world. We need to have a more substance-based message. For example, stop the WTO corporate attack. Is there a list of the funding organizations and agencies from which we should not accept money? We need to differentiate between tactic and slogans. Slogans can be anything, not about a specific position. We do not need to be visible with our tactics. It would be very important for our documentation, to get feedback on what is going on in WTO negotiations, especially with the governmental arm-twisting that is happening. It will be important for the media group to have an inside/outside strategy. There will be a number of people who have media accreditation who will communicate with those who are not allowed in. There will be good trustworthy journalists, who can provide security if something were to happen at night as things can happen. Closing Deborah James, from Global Exchange shared how the WTO is a threat to democracy and human rights. However, we represent great hope for people‘s movements in the world. The WTO is having a profound problem. There have been two failed ministerials because of people in southern countries not holding people accountable. We have the potential to make the Hong Kong negotiations fall apart or fail. The working groups have all agreed to do grassroots education in our own communities, to show the most affected groups who the enemy is, and mobilize people to come to Hong Kong. There will be many local logistical issues that will be important in the run up to the Hong Kong meeting. With all of our incredible human, intellect, and grassroots resources doing our best, we can stop the WTO. Professor Joseph Yu-shek Cheng, from the City University of Hong Kong shared that despite the undesirable effects of globalization and the extension of international product system, there is a saving grace – we are able to see more friends from more distant places. Our discussions over the past two days generate a greater sense of solidarity, commitment, and mission. Eni Lestari Adi, from the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB), shared that as we conclude the ICN, we mark another milestone in the people‘s story in the resistance against the WTO. We will combine the local and regional efforts, and strengthen the national movements for human rights and social justice. There will be an even larger number of people from every continent coming in December to Hong Kong. We are all traveling in the same direction. Sumiati, the chair of KOTKIHO (representing over 7,000 Indonesian members in Hong Kong), and a member of the Coalition for Migrant Rights (CMR), shared from the perspective of grassroots Foreign Domestic Workers, mostly women, who are also exploited by the WTO agenda. Foreign Domestic Workers are NOT in some remote part of the world. They are found all over the world, especially in the cities. But like the people in remote areas, they are made socially invisible, and more vulnerable to abuses, exploitation by the WTO and globalization. Many of the repressive and exploitative practices promoted by the WTO have long been imposed on FDWs. Governments restrict the right to work, choose jobs or employers. FDWs and women migrants have also shown that these anti-people agendas can be challenged. They can be stopped, exposed or opposed. They have represented themselves at ILO meetings, U.N. meetings, and world summits. In the WCAR (World Conference against Racism), they successfully included a paragraph recognizing the discrimination against FDWs. The victories in Hong Kong show that migrants, especially FDWs and women, are not powerless. It is an inspiring story on local action and global solidarity. Apo Leong, from AMRC, shared from his experience in the middle of the Seattle WTO ministerial conference in 1999. One Chinese government negotiator was asked to comment on the Seattle battle. His answer: ―No, no, no! The Seattle battle will not happen in China!‖ Now Hong Kong is a part of China, so Apo suggested that the government official‘s denunciation will be rejected by the people here. The year 2005 is the 10th anniversary for the WTO. In memory of people who did the besting in Seattle, Cancun, Doha, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Apo invited our Taiwanese friends to join with everyone to sing ―The Internationale‖, used across the world as a song of resistance to oppression. As there are many different versions of the song (including several in English), the lyrics will not be reprinted here, however, you can search for lyrics in over 40 languages at: http://home.planet.nl/~elder180/internationale/. To listen to a sound file of the song in many different languages, please visit: http://www.vad1.com/anthems/internationale-collection.html.
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