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Heads Up For Media On Hong Kong WTO Ministerial

Heads Up For Media On Hong Kong WTO Ministerial Meeting

Click Here For ARENA Special Feature on WTO (PDF)

From 13 to 18 December the World Trade Organisation will be holding its sixth ministerial conference in Hong Kong. The scene is set for a repeat of the failures of Seattle in 1999 and Cancun in 2003, although there are last-ditch attempts to avoid the spectacle of another collapse by ‘recalibrating expectations’.

The text for dispatch to Hong Kong is the subject of ongoing dispute and pressure from the European Union and the United States on poorer countries’ representatives in Geneva and in their national capitals. As with Cancun, these power politics are meeting concerted resistance from governments, backed by their social movements, NGOs and trade unions.

In Cancun, it was agriculture, cotton and the ‘new issues’ that were the breaking point. One week out from the Hong Kong meeting, it appears that pressure over services could become the breaking point for the ministerial.

Thousands of activists from Asia and the rest of the world, including two thousand peasant farmers, are expected in Hong Kong to voice their opposition to the impact of the WTO on their lives and livelihoods.

ARENA has prepared the attached briefing paper to explain the concerns that are driving opposition to the WTO. Some details have changed since it was prepared in mid-November, as governments manoeuvre in the lead-up to the meeting, but the concerns remain unchanged.

As in previous years, Dr Jane Kelsey will be monitoring events inside and outside the ministerial conference and preparing regular reports with photographs. She will also be available for interviews and to write commentaries for New Zealand media. Dr Kelsey can also arrange interviews with leading international critics of the WTO. She will arrive in Hong Kong on 8 December and depart on 18 December.

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