Advertisement
 

WTO: What's at Issue?

WTO SUMMIT: PROTESTS IN SEATTLE

December 01, 1999|EVELYN IRITANI

It's not the usual fodder for protest, but here are major issues facing trade ministers from 135 nations at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle this week:

AGRICULTURE

The European Union says its massive farm subsidies are needed to preserve rural communities and jobs and to ensure food safety. The U.S., Australia, Canada and other countries say the subsidies are unfair because they create artificially low prices, undercutting producers in other countries.

URUGUAY ROUND ASSESSMENT

Developing countries are reluctant to expand trade further because they are unhappy with the results of the Uruguay Round of trade talks that finished in 1994. They want greater access to U.S. and European markets for textiles and apparel before they open their markets further to developed-country goods.

ANTI-DUMPING MEASURES

Japan and developing countries want a review of anti-dumping measures, which allow countries to protect themselves from being flooded with cheap imports. This is opposed by the United States.

LABOR AND ENVIRONMENT

Both the United States and the European Union want the WTO to consider whether minimum labor and environmental standards should be linked to trade. Developing nations strongly oppose this, arguing that it is a protectionist move by richer countries that have higher labor costs.

WTO REFORM

The U.S. is pushing the WTO to open its closed-door deliberations to the public.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

The U.S. wants a moratorium on taxes on e-commerce and tariff reductions on high-technology goods, a move opposed by some developing countries.

CHINA

Although China is not yet a member of the WTO, it is likely to join early next year and is expected to play a more active role in this year's meeting. Most WTO governments want China inside the trade tent, but developing nations and textile and apparel companies in the U.S. fear the stepped up competition. U.S. labor groups are strongly opposed to giving China membership unless it improves working conditions back home.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|