Fwd: Re: [fairtrade] Activist attends pro-WTO Conference]

Chris Doss itschris13 at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 25 07:32:39 PDT 2000

> [Bruce Silverglade of the Center for Science in the Public Interest
> managed to get himself invited to a day-long high-level seminar on "After
> Seattle: Restoring Momentum to the WTO." Speakers included Clayton
> (former Secretary of Agriculture), Robert Litan (former Associate
> of the White House Office of Management and Budget), Lawrence Eagleburger
> (former Secretary of State), and Luiz Felipe Lamreia, the foreign Minster
> of Brazil. His fly-on-the-wall report is worth quoting at some length]:
> >>
> I was disappointed that only one representative like myself from a
> non-profit organization concerned about the impact of the WTO on food
> safety regulation was invited. But I was pleased that the door had been
> opened and I looked forward to [it].
> >>
> . . . As it turned out, I got a lot more than I bargained for. The
> seminar turned out to be a strategy session on how to defeat those
> to the current WTO system. Apparently, no one knew who I was (perhaps my
> graying temples and dark suit helped me blend in with the overwhelming
> older male group of attendees) and I did not speak up until the end of
> meeting.
> >>
> The meeting was kicked off by a gentleman named Lord Patterson who was
> Margaret Thatcher's Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. He began
> stating that our number one job is to restore confidence in the WTO
> embarking on any new rounds of trade negotiations. So far, so good, I
> >>
> But he then proclaimed that non-profit groups have no right to criticize
> the WTO as undemocratic because the groups themselves do not represent
> general public. (I wondered which groups he was talking about because
> organizations that are gravely concerned about the impact of the WTO on
> environmental and consumer protection, like the Sierra Club and Public
> Citizen, have hundreds of thousands of members). He then stated that we
> must never have another WTO meeting on US soil because it was too easy
> advocacy groups to organize here and security could not be assured . . .
> >>He added that President Clinton's speech during the WTO meeting in
> Seattle, in which the president acknowledged the protesters' concerns,
> "disgraceful" and stated that it was also disgraceful that delegates to
> WTO meeting in Seattle had to survive on sandwiches and couldn't get a
> decent meal during three days of social protest. The Lord finished his
> speech by recalling better times having tea with Maggie, and stating that
> the staff of the WTO Secretariat ~ should not be balanced with people
> developing countries just because of the color of their skin. After a few
> words with the chairman of the meeting, Lord Patterson added "Oh, I hope
> have not offended anyone."
> >>
> . . . The largely American audience of trade officials and policy wonks
> took the Lord's pronouncements seriously. The first comment by an
> picked up on the criticisms and asked 'How can we de-legitimize the
> >>The questioner claimed that these groups are usually supported by just
> few charitable foundations and if the foundations could be convinced to
> off funding, the groups would be forced to cease operations. Mr. Litan,
> former White House budget official, had another approach. He [asked]
> we give the NGOs other sandboxes to play in and have them take their
> concerns to groups like the International Labor Organization (a toothless
> United Nations sponsored-group). The representative from the US Trade
> Representative's office said nothing.
> >>
> . . . Under the banner of rebuilding public confidence in the WTO,
> [former Agriculture Secretary] Yeutter concurred with his British
> colleague's suggestion that the next WTO meeting be held in some place
> other than the US where security can be assured. He further suggested
> the WTO give the public little advance notice of where the meeting would
> held to keep the protesters off balance. He said that the protesters'
> demands for greater transparency in WTO proceedings was a misnomer
> the protesters didn't really want to participate in WTO proceedings --
> they wanted was to get TV coverage and raise money for their
> >>
> . . . The day ended with the usual Washington reception . . . During
> desert, the foreign minister of Brazil lamented that if the next WTO
> meeting had to be held in an out of the way place, he preferred that it
> held on a cruise ship instead of in the middle of the desert. He then
> an impassioned speech in which he opposed writing core labor standards
> the WTO agreement and defended child labor by describing how in one
> of Brazil, more than 5,000 children "help their families earn a little
> extra money" by hauling bags of coal from a dump yard to a steel mill.
> >>He stressed, however, that the children do not work directly in the
> mill. He was greeted by a hearty round of applause.
> >>
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> >>
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