We remain very concerned about the formal complaint the US has made at the WTO about EU policies “restricting” trade in GM food and agriculture. The WTO has finally convened a panel in the highly secretive dispute settlement mechanism, which will then rule on whether the EU’s policy on GM food imports is an illegal barrier to trade.

• Sign the global objection to the WTO GM dispute

• Email the Argentinean Ambassador to ask him to persuade the Government of Argentina to withdraw from the WTO complaint

• Email your friends and relatives to ask them to sign the objection online or download a multi-signature paper objection and ask them to sign

• Add the Bite Back web action link to your email signature

• Add the Bite Back banner and/or the link to the web action to your website

Further information
‘GM Trade War Looms’ briefing

In December last year, the Government published its response to the submissions to the DTI's consultation document "Liberalising trade in services - a new consultation on the World Trade Organisation General Agreement on Trade in Services negotiations".
You may have inputted to this consultation. We asked people to write submissions highlighting the lack of transparency and democracy in the GATS negotiations, and the fact that there has been a complete failure to properly assess past impacts of WTO agreements and thereby justify further liberalisation. Friends of the Earth thinks the DTI’s response to these highlighted issues doesn't adequately deal with our concerns.

• Email your MP

• Email the DTI

Further information
DTI’s GATS consultation feedback

Friends of the Earth comments on the DTI’s GATS consultation feedback:

• Robert Zoellick, US trade representative, told the Financial Times (11 January) that 'he firmly supported the developing countries in saying that investment and competition talks should be dropped, and that even talks on government procurement, which the US favours, may not be necessary'.

However caution is needed when countries talk about dropping the New Issues as they often refer just to dropping them from the current round of trade negotiations and not, critically, from further rounds or bilateral/regional trade agreements. Your email action to Patricia Hewitt at the end of October will have helped contribute to weakening the UK/EU position on New Issues but our fight to eject them completely from the WTO continues.

• Could it be that the letters you’ve sent to the Government in the last couple of years calling for fair trade rules not free trade may finally be hitting home? UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt, has apparently recognised that all does not always end well for those experiencing the sharp end of WTO rules, saying the "negative consequences of trade liberalization need to be managed" (emphasis ours). So that’s the Government finally admitting that there are negative impacts of their trade policies – progress!

Best wishes,
Eve Mitchell

Corporate Globalisation & Trade Campaigner
Friends of the Earth


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April 2004

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