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Auckland Anti-WTO Actions - Timetable

Auckland Anti-WTO Actions

STOP THE WTO!

``Organise against Qatar! Join the fightback!”

Text of the box:

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Public Meeting - The WTO & Workers Resistance
7pm Thursday, 8th November
Auckland Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road.
Speakers: Jane Kelsey, Radha D'Souza, Maxine Gay, Robert Reid.

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Rally and march - out and about against globalisation and war
Queen Elizabeth 2nd Square 12:00 noon Saturday 10th November
Speakers include: Jane Kelsey, Radha D'Souza, Maxine Gay, Jim Gladwin, Chloe Heffernan.

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Video Screening & Music
Freyburg Square (High St)
8pm Saturday 10th November
Big-wall video screening - DJ - Street Party!


WHAT IS THE WTO?

Set up in 1995 to liberalise trade. Successor to the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which reduced tariffs (taxes on imports) and quotas (limits on the amount of imports). Uruguay Round of negotiations (1986-93 ) expanded the mandate to just about anything which could affect free trade. Unlike other international organisations the WTO has teeth. The victor in any dispute can bring sanctions. However sanctions imposed by the stronger countries are clearly a greater threat, giving them more power to use the dispute mechanism.

Supposedly each of the 134 members have equal say: in practice decision making is dominated by the 'Quad': USA; European Union; Japan and Canada. Ministerial Conferences of Trade Ministers meets roughly every three years. The next WTO meeting is in Doha harbour, Qatar from November 9-13, 2001.

A General Council of Member Representatives meets in between Ministerials. The small secretariat is based in Geneva, with a Director General appointed by the members. A dispute panel of lawyers adjudicates over disputes.

4 REASONS WHY THE WTO HAS TO GO!

(1) The WTO is undemocratic: No-one elected the WTO officials, or representatives - they are all appointed by business or governments. The disputes panels are also appointed by WTO officials.

(2) The WTO pollutes: WTO rules prevent countries from insisting on high standards of environmental protection - companies can sue a goverment that sets standards by accusing that nation of potentially lowering the company profits or putting up a trade barrier.

(3) The WTO undermines working conditions: Companies can move to countries with the cheapest pay rates, and then export slave-made goods to other countries, which can't ban it because the WTO rules don't allow you to block goods made with low pay and working conditions in the country of manufacture.

(4) The WTO bullies small nations: The WTO has a dispute panel which adjudicates trade disputes, but it is then up to individual countries to enforce their decision by imposing trade sanctions. The US has little to fear if a small Third World country threatens sanctions, but could destroy an economy if the situation is reversed.

AFFINITY GROUPS:

Anti-War Coalition (AWC) http://www.geocities.com/aklantiwar

Aotearoa Indymedia http://indymedia.nelson.org.nz

ARENA http://www.arena.org.nz

Asia Pacific Workers Solidarity Links

Water Pressure Group http://www.water-pressure-group.org.nz

Citizens Against Privatisation (CAP)

GE Free Coalition http://www.gefree.org.nz/

Events organised by ARENA and APWSL (Public Forum) and Anti-WTO Action Group (AWAG).

CONTACT: Brian van Dam (AWAG) Luke Coxon (ARENA/APWSL) 373-7599 ext 5745 (025) 248-7005 vandam@math.auckland.ac.nz

ENDS


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