WTO Doesn't Like Forests

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Sat Mar 13 17:33:06 EST 1999

KMorrisD wrote:
> This is from the IGC newsgroup en.alerts.  KMD
> From: Mike Dolan <mdolan at citizen.org>
> 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.

Of course, it's not how much logging that is the issue- it's the quality
of the logging. Is it just logging or is it REAL forestry, handled by
REAL foresters doing silviculture under good stewardship plans. In
Massachusetts we have lots of logging, but little forestry- as logging
isn't forestry unless a forester is involved doing silviculture;
otherwise it's just high grading.

> 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.

We need to see exactly what these NTMs are.

> 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.

Standards may or may not go down, depending on local laws. I seriously
doubt actual state laws or other local laws in other nations could be
wiped out. So, this increase in world trade could be a good thing,
raising demand, raising prices, raising the value of what we foresters
produce- but we must NOT lower standards. We must RAISE standards. Some
of us (me and Karl <G>) in Massachusetts, USA, are trying to push for
having Licensed Foresters manage all timber harvesting; and we're very
fussy guys. <G>

> 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.

The critical thing is to have professional foresters manage the
harvests. Sure, some foresters are jerks- but having a forester involved
with all timber harvesting world wide will make a big difference
compared to the current situation where forester are NOT involved with
most logging.

> 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
> Subscribe to TW-LIST, the Global Trade Watch list-server.
> We will keep you up to date on trade and globalization policy.
> Send "SUBSCRIBE TW-LIST" message to "Listproc at essential.org"

Joe Zorzin, Practicing Forester

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