From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Seven
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
"Recent News Articles about the World Trade Organization"
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- 5/20/96 Trade deficit balloons to $8.92 billion mark. Washington - Imports hit an all-time high even the two biggest items on America’s overseas shopping list - crude oil and autos - declined. The politically sensitive trade gap with Japan widened by 5.5 %.
- 5/20/96 President extends favored trading status to China. Washington - President Clinton, proposed unconditional renewal of most-favored-nation trade benefits to Beijing. His rationale is that it is a vote for America’s interests, such as in telecommunications there has been a 200% increase in U.S. exports to China. Congress has 60 days to reject MFN renewal. Renewal is opposed by a mixed ideological group critical of China’s abortion, nuclear proliferation and human rights policies. It is one of the fastest growing markets for American exports, which we can not go without, in fear of loosing them to our competitors.
- 6/23/96 Arab leaders call for peace. Cairo, Egypt - The first Arab summit in six years focused on the Mideast peace process, which has been threatened by last month’s election of hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel prime minister. They want Israel to negotiate on the principle of land for peace, as agreed to at the Madrid conference five years ago. The summit drew 21 of the Arab League’s 22 members, including 13 heads of state and PLO leader Yasser Arafat. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was not invited.
- 6/24/96 U.N. chief seeks support. United Nations - Washington is openly seeking a successor to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (an Egyptian), the U.N. chief who is trying to rally Third World support for his reappointment. The 15-member Security Council must choose a new secretary-general and forward his name to the 185-member General Assembly before Dec. 31. He hopes to gain endorsement from Africa when leaders of the continent meet July 8-10 in Yaounde, Cameroon, for the Organization of African Unity summit.
- 11/25/96 Clinton gets win on trade. Subic Bay, Philippines - President Clinton won a victory on the trade front today by persuading Pacific Rim leaders to accept 2000 as the year for cutting tariffs on information technology. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia basically led the objectors, and a statement read by Philippine President Fidel Ramos called for "the conclusion of an information technology agreement" by the World Trade Organization that would "substantially eliminate tariffs by the year 2000," but recognized "the need for flexibility" in the WTO negotiations. The United States, backed by Japan, Canada and Australia, had wanted all tariffs on computers, software, semiconductors and telecommunications abolished by 2000.
- 1/27/97 Private markets taking over. With private markets taking the economic lead in the developing countries, the World Bank (President James D. Wolfensohn) and International Monetary Fund may have outlived their usefulness in the post-Cold War world. Neither were designed to operate a global economy. These two were originally known as the Bretton Woods institutions (secretive organizations) for the town in New Hampshire where a conference in 1944 established them to create a new economic order from the ruins of World War II. The World Bank was established to help rebuild Europe, the IMF to monitor a new monetary system.
The other players include the U.N. system, regional development banks for Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, bilateral institutions, the European Union and the World Trade Organization.
- 2/15/97 Orion Supports World Trade Organization Agreement. Rockville, Md. - Orion Network Systems (Nasdaq: ONSI) was the first company to seek regulatory approval for private ownership and operation of an international communications satellite. Their present satellite provides Trans-Atlantic and Pan-European communications for multinational corporations, etc.
Orion has two additional satellite contracts to be launched in late 1998 and 1999 with:
Hughes Space and Communications International to build its Asia Pacific satellite;
and Matra Marconi Space to build a third to expand services into Latin America, the Middle East and Russia.
This provides a global communication covering 85% of the world’s population, and could not have been achieved without the WTO multilateral agreement by United States Trade Representative (USTR) negotiations on opening these markets.
- 4/23/97 World economic outlook bright, barring stock market plunges. Washington - The outlook for the world’s economy is bright, the International Monetary Fund said today, but a significant decline in stock market prices could undermine confidence in some countries.
Globalization - the integration of trade, finance and information that is creating a single global market and culture. Some believe that globalization has replaced communism as the main threat to democratic societies, while others promote it as stability and prosperity.
- 5/20/97 South Asian leaders agree to form free trade zone. Male, The Maldives - South Asian leaders, met to discuss strengthening their economic alliance and agreed to form a free-trade zone by 2001, India’s Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral said. India is the largest member, and also included is Pakistan.
- 7/27/97 Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad named U.S. billionaire behind currency attacks. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Malaysia’s prime minister named George Soros as the American businessman responsible for the plunge in the value of Southeast Asian currencies. He claims that he was using his financial might to hurt countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and keep them from admitting Burma as a member because of its human rights record. Burma was admitted to ASEAN on 7/23/97 over the objections of the United States and some European countries. In recent weeks, several Southeast Asian currencies have been propelled to new lows by a series of speculative selling attacks, originally prompted by economic problems in Thailand. ASEAN foreign ministers met to fight the speculation, but Philippine Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon claims that fund managers from the West have been targeting ASEAN currencies to make profits.
- 7/28/97 Asian, Western officials discuss Cambodia, drugs. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Ministers of the nine members (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Burma and Laos) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met with the United States, China, Russia, Japan, the European Union, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, India and South Korea, to address Cambodia’s political crisis, a recent coup, by Co-Prime Minister Hun Sen, who ousted Co-Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, and to ASEAN not to intervene in domestic affairs.
- 9/22/97 Southeast Asian markets remain troubled. Hong Kong - U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said that Southeast Asia appears to be taking steps needed to avoid further problems, but their currencies continued to fall (Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines). Traders blamed the nations economic fundamentals, and the region is now learning its lesson, but short-term problems are by no means over. Also China’s vice premier, Zhu Rongji, made a strong plug for China’s early admission to the World Trade Organization, an issue President Jiang Zemin is expected to discuss at his Washington summit in November. The WTO will benefit not only China’s economic development, but the world growth.
- 11/25/97 Asian leaders seek economic answers. Vancouver, British Columbia - The 18-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, is raising question of concern about the ASEAN turmoil, Thailand faltered first, then the Philippines, and Indonesia, Now South Korea. And the worst may yet to come. It could next spread to Hong Kong, Taiwan, or even Japan. The Asian Miracle for the past five months has become the Asian Meltdown, as the proud and confident Asians have watched their economic achievements drop by as much as 40% against the dollar. This region for years was the darling of international investors has been rocked by slow growth or worse, plunging stock markets and a rash of business bankruptcies. Indonesian President Suharto, can only watch in shock as his economy that was growing about 8% a year for 20 years, just stopped.
- 11/28/97 OPEC production deal won’t come easily: Kuwaiti minister. Producers don’t want prices to plummet. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. OPEC’s stated production ceiling stands at 25,033 million barrels a day, and ministers are talking about raising it to between 26 million and 27.5 million.
- 1/5/98 Southeast Asian currency woes hit Asia. ASEAN Hong Kong, - The unsettled regional currency situation will last for another two months. The Thai baht, Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah and Philippine peso fell to record lows. The Taiwan dollar plunged to a 10-year low. In Japan, Tokyo stocks shed more than 300 points as markets remained pessimistic about the future course of the Japanese economy.
- 1/9/98 Indonesian currency drops 26% on fears IMF will stop bailout. Jakarta, Indonesia – The Indonesian rupiah lost a quarter of its value in a single day, which sent panicked residents to the supermarkets, where they snapped up everything in sight. The drop was driven by fears that the International Monetary Fund will yank back a bailout package from last year when Asian economies began falling. Indonesia (fourth most-populous nation) has failed to implement reform measures required for the $40 billion bailout.
- 3/27/98 NAFTA’s successes. North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S. economy is booming, the jobless rate is at the lowest point in 24 years. Canada is heading to its first balanced budget in 30 years. The trade agreement played a big role (Clinton administration $12 billion emergency loan) in helping Mexico recover from its 1995 financial crisis (devalued peso, wages fell 40 percent, inflation soared). Mexico then began exporting its way out of its mess, and has since repaid the loan.
- 4/20/98 Duty-free trade by 2005 set as goal for Americas. Santiago, Chile – Leaders of the Western Hemisphere’s 34 democracies (Summit of the Americas) plan for hemispheric duty-free trade by 2005 in the largest free-trade area in history, a combined economies of $9 trillion and 800 million people. This proposed zone will reach from Alaska to Cape Horn, where virtually all existing tariffs and duties would be eliminated. Countries involved with the summit are Chile (President Eduardo Frei), Brazil (President Fernando Henrique Cardoso), Panama, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Ecuador, and the United States. Communist Cuba was excluded from the summit.
- 5/11/98 Summit of developing nations looks toward Asian crisis. Cairo, Egypt – Leaders of the so-called G15 group of developing nations (Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Venezuela, Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka has applied.) began a summit in the Egyptian capital about the current economic crisis in Asia. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, stated that the Asian crisis illustrates to the world the dangers posed by integration into the global economy. "The liberalization of our markets must be gradual," he said, the problems of Asia – and their impact on other regional economies – had shown "the weakness of our global system."
President Suharto of Indonesia, warned that unless Asian economies were rehabilitate quickly the fallout would spread to countries outside Asia.
"The lesson we must draw from the Asian crisis is that no country can be spared from the mistakes of an unregulated system, no matter how developed it is," he added.
Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori on behalf of the Latin American G15 members stated that the region was taking steps to integrate, especially with free trade zones.
Last updated Nov. 27, 1998
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