Europe against GMO crops! Please, sign the Avaaz petition! I already did.
It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

EU and WTO. And of course, GMO!

EU, US expect trade progress on Davos sidelines

22 January 2008

The World Economic Forum, which starts in Davos today (22 January), could help towards achieving a much-awaited breakthrough in WTO negotiations on freeing up global trade, top EU and US trade officials have announced.

The European Union and the United States still hope to conclude a long-delayed global trade pact before the end of 2008, EU Commissioner Peter Mandelson and US Trade Representative Susan Schwab announced at a joint press conference on 21 January.

The declaration came one day ahead of a six-day meeting in the Swiss resort of Davos, where political and business leaders from around the world convene each year to discuss upcoming global challenges. The hot topics this year are expected to include the state of the world's financial markets following the US subprime mortgage crisis, sovereign wealth funds, climate change, energy security and water shortage.

ut continued tensions relating to bilateral trade barriers could hamper progress. While the EU and the US have suggested eliminating tariffs on environmentally friendly goods and services as part of the WTO talks (EurActiv 4/12/07), Schwab hit out at Europe in her comments to the press, saying the bloc was all too often using environmental issues as an excuse for protectionism, whether related to GMOs or regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

"We have been dismayed at a variety of suggestions where we see climate or the environment being used as an excuse to close markets," she said, referring in particular to suggestions that the EU should introduce "border-tax adjustments" on imports from countries with less stringent climate change mitigation policies.

"Using bad science to make trade policy decisions is certainly a practice that would come back to haunt all of us in other countries," she warned. Although Mandelson defended the EU's GMO policy, he agreed with Schwab that trade restrictions are not the way forward for fighting climate change: "They are not cost-efficient, there is risk of retaliation, and they result in increasing costs for European industry at large."

At the same time, the EU trade chief highlighted European concerns about US environmental policies, notably in relation to "unfair" government subsidies for its biofuel industry (EurActiv 17/10/07). "We are likely to receive a complaint from the European industry on this and we will certainly investigate and take any action and pursue it if we find the complaint is substantiated," he cautioned, in a sign that many issues will need to be resolved before a veritable free market for green technologies is established (EurActiv 13/02/07). source

My comment: Ok, tell me how, for *uck sake, every time I read about WTO, there is the word GMO in the text? I get the feeling WTO was created to promote GMO. It's disgusting and not to mention very very disturbing. I'm glad EU defended its position on the issue. I believe every country should have the final decision over the import of potentially dangerous stocks. I don't care if they import GMO as long as they are clearly LABELED and are banned for growth. This way we can preserve the fragile feelings of WTO and still protect our citizens. Or even better, let all seeds that are imported to be sterilized. This way we all will be safe.

France softens its stance on EU Small Business Act

28 January 2008

Although insisting on the need for preferential measures to help boost SME participation in government tenders, French Secretary of State for Enterprise Hervé Novelli said his country would no longer be attempting to push the EU to copy an American scheme whereby a set share of public markets is reserved for SMEs.

However, France points to the fact that several parties to the pact, including a number of Europe's major trading partners, have obtained derogations allowing them to favour their domestic companies in awarding contracts. It thus wants the European Commission to negotiate a similar clause for European companies.

"We maintain our demand for an exemption clause, so that European SMEs are put on an equal footing compared to American, Canadian, Japanese or Korean companies," stressed Novelli.

He further backed the Commission's proposal to push for further market opening in these countries by insisting on more "reciprocity". "We should establish a system where are own public markets are punctually less open to foreign companies based in countries where public markets are closed," he said. source

My comment: Well, as much as I hate to agree, I do. It's reasonable to expect equal conditions for local small business on local projects in EU and in USA. Otherwise it simply wouldn't be fair. I think.

Eurogroup chief warns of 'excessive pessimism' as stocks plunge

22 January 2008

EU finance ministers said a US recession could have grave implications for Europe's economy but warned against overreacting, as stock exchanges around the world tumbled on Monday (21 January).

The economic situation and financial markets are highly volatile and uncertain, a good deal more uncertain than usual […] If there is a real slowdown in growth in the US, obviously that would be felt in terms of growth the eurozone," Juncker said on Monday after a meeting with EU finance ministers in Brussels.

Fears of a US recession have caused stock exchanges all over the world to tumble, with markets suffering the worst one-day fall since 9/11. The British FTSE-100 slid by 5.5% to 5,578.20, the German Xetra Dax fell by 7.2% to 6,790.19 and France's CAC-40 dropped by 6.8% to 4,744.15. Stock exchanges in Japan, New Zealand and Australia continued on a downward slope, increasing fears of a snow-ball effect.

However, Juncker cautioned against "excessive pessimism" and underlined that the economic situation in the US was in no way comparable to Europe's. "Our fundamentals are sound, restructuring is advancing well, levels of unemployment are continuing to be cut down. We feel comfortable with our economic situation at the moment and we feel that consumers in Europe have no reason to lose confidence." source

My comment: I still don't understand why the US crisis should affect the markets all over the world. True, it's not that big world, but it's not like nowhere else good are being produced. Well, the last one was for your information only, my financial education is not enough for me to grasp the idea behind the whole panic.

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