WTO Doesn't Like Forests

KMorrisD kmorrisd at aol.com
Sat Mar 13 15:42:50 EST 1999


This is from the IGC newsgroup en.alerts.  KMD

From: Mike Dolan <mdolan at citizen.org>

WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION WANTS FREE TRADE AGREEMENT FOR FORESTS:
Liberalization Plan Must be Stopped Before WTO's November Ministerial

* *Pacific Environment and Resources Center, 1440 Broadway, Suite 306,
Oakland, CA 94612, (ph)510-251-8800, (fax)510-251-8838, (e-mail) 
perc at igc.org.
* *American Lands, 726 7th Street S.E., Washington D.C., 20003, (ph)
202-547-9400, (fax) 202-547-9213, (e-mail) wafcdc at americanlands.org.
* *International Forum on Globalization, 1555 Pacific Avenue, San
Francisco, CA 94109, (ph) 415-771-3394, (fax) 415-771-1121, (e-mail)
vmenotti at ifg.org.

This year, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is descending upon Seattle to
negotiate a global trade agreement for forests.  The agreement will surely
increase logging and consumption around the globe -- unless the
environmental community brings it to a halt.

THE AGREEMENT:  The agreement will eliminate tariffs on wood products,
making all kinds of forest products cheaper and easier to buy.  Industry
representatives are also expected to introduce non-tariff measures (NTMs)
into the negotiations.  NTMs include controls on how timber is produced and
traded, many of which are meant to safeguard forests.

THE WTO: The World Trade Organization is a global trade body which makes
legally binding agreements and mediates disputes over trade barriers.  It
will likely force liberalization on all countries including Japan, one of
the world's largest consumers of forest products.  The WTO has failed to
accommodate the demands of citizen groups despite years of groups'
organized and widespread efforts.

EFFECTS ON FORESTS:  Liberalization of the wood product trade will reduce
costs, increase consumption, dilute forest management standards, and
dismantle environmental regulations.   The end result of this free trade
agreement will be increased pressure on forest ecosystems.

WHAT ACTIVISTS CAN DO:  Forest activists must organize now to demand that
trade policy-makers halt the forest trade plan. The environmental community
should call for the WTO to postpone all new agreements until they have
assessed the impacts of current agreements.  Activists should also pressure
their governments to engage citizen groups in trade negotiations on equal
standing with industry groups and to conduct formal environmental impact
assessment before discussing liberalization.

WHO TO CONTACT: American Lands, International Forum on Globalization and
Pacific Environment and Resources Center will help to mount a large
campaign to oppose forest trade liberalization before the November 1999 WTO
Ministerial in Seattle.  We will help forest activists strategize ways to
stop the forest trade plan, reform international trade policies, and focus
the attention of the press and public on the crisis in Pacific Northwest's
forests.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed
without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes.

Mike Dolan, Field Director
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
ph  202.546.4996 x322
fx   202.547.7392

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