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The article "Protesters waging war against the poor, says Short" which I recently posted to the list was from The Independent NOT The Guardian (so send your letters to The Independent !) The following appears in today's (30th November) Guardian. The Clare Short bit is at the end : %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Byers says WTO must modernise Global trade body still seen as servant of multinationals World Trade Organisation: special report Larry Elliott Tuesday November 30, 1999 The World Trade Organisation must transform itself into a body that protects and defends the interests of all its 135 members and stop being seen as the servant of global big business, Stephen Byers, the trade and industry secretary, will say today. In his keynote speech on the opening day of the trade talks in Seattle, Mr Byers will emphasise that the WTO needs to modernise and reform itself if it is to retain credibility and win the support of people and governments. "We cannot allow trade policies to be hijacked by narrow corporate interests which all too often veer in favour of protectionism," Mr Byers will say. "The WTO must stop being seen as a servant of multinationals and instead assert itself as a body which will protect and defend the interests of all its members." With the talks in Seattle attracting far more public attention than previous rounds, the government believes that the WTO has a serious image problem. The Geneva-based body is seen as "secretive and responsive to the needs of rich industrial countries, but not to the aspirations of developing countries and least developed countries", Mr Byers will say. He will add that while free trade has brought huge benefits to the world, it is now under threat. Protectionism anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere and if barriers to trade are erected and tariffs imposed it is the poorest and most vulnerable who will lose out. "The organisation of world trade at a time of globalisation must be sure that countries and people are partners in change and not victims of change. In Seattle the questions we deal with will be complex and technical but we must never forget that there are also human questions. The answers we give will affect individuals, their families and their communities." Clare Short, the international development secretary, said that while the WTO had become an organisation that everybody loved to hate, it was still a big improvement on its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (Gatt). In a speech prepared for a symposium of non-governmental organisations, Ms Short said much of the criticism of the WTO was misplaced and that developing countries would benefit from a broad round of trade liberalisation talks. "Those who make blanket criticisms of the WTO are working against, not for, the interests of the poor and the powerless. International trade can be unfair and exploitative. The strong can deceive and defraud the weak. That is precisely why we need an institution like the WTO which is membership based and rules based - to prevent fraud, monopoly, predatory pricing and other abuses. Just as we need rules on these issues at the national level, so we need them at the international level." Guardian Unlimited ) Guardian Newspapers Limited 1999 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi