H.K. pressure group to hold int'l conference ahead of WTO meeting

From "pioneerhk" <pioneerhk@hkbn.net>
Date Tue, 16 Nov 2004 13:16:55 +0800


H.K. pressure group to hold int'l conference ahead of WTO meeting

HONG KONG, Nov. 8 Kyodo - An anti-World Trade Organization group based in Hong Kong will invite other pressure groups from around the world to meet in February next year ahead of a WTO ministerial meeting to be held here in December.

The Hong Kong People's Alliance Against WTO is to hold a two-day international conference in the city to work out consensus among the pressure groups before the WTO meeting to take place Dec. 13-18 next year.

The International Confederation of Trade Unions headquartered in Brussels, the AFL-CIO of the United States, Britain's UNISON, Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South, and the French and Japanese chapters of globalization watchdog Attac are among the groups on the invitation list.

Au Loong-yu, a member of the alliance' secretariat, told Kyodo News, ''Our main objective is to oppose to further liberalization of trade and investment pushed by the WTO.''

No representatives from the business sector will be invited to the conference as ''we can't reach agreement with them anyway,'' Au said.

Au expects around 100 people from dozens of local and international groups will attend the conference although the final invitation list is still being finalized.

Hong Kong officials will be asked to attend sessions of the conference, he said.

He said an anti-WTO week will be organized in December to coincide with the WTO ministerial meetings, but details of the activities are still being formulated.

Formed in 1999 by a number of nongovernmental groups, the alliance says in its position paper that contrary to the WTO's promises to help create jobs and reduce poverty, the global economy is now more unstable since the distribution of wealth has become more unequal between the developed and underdeveloped states.

The position paper also states that the agenda of the Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations is ''to further liberalize the transnational corporations' freedom to invest and trade globally.''

''We strongly oppose this aim and want no such agreement to emerge,'' it says.

The sixth ministerial meeting in Hong Kong will continue discussion of the Doha round, which came to an abrupt halt in Cancun last year as representatives from some African countries walked out in protest at Western countries' refusal to open up their markets.

November 08, 2004  15:01:34

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