Tuesday, March 20, 2007

MORE PICS – Lop-Sided FTA PROTEST at American EMBASSY 18 Mar 07; by 300 Strong Crowd; Malaysia: No Timeframe - FTA Negotiations Until Issues Resolved

ABOVE: The imposing American Embassy and BELOW: Protesters at the front gate

Kuala Lumpur: This Sunday morning at 10.00 am a crowd of about 300 protesters marched to the American Embassy situated along Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and protested against the lop-sided nature of these FTAs for developing countries.

ABOVE: The huge floor banner "abolish FTA" and BELOW: The placards with the anti-FTA messages in multi languages

The Americans seem to be dictating the terms and the other side either has to “take it or leave it.

The unidentified spokesman (ABOVE) for the protesters claimed they represented political parties, NGOs, youth associations, factory workers and students.

ABOVE: The crowds marching to the embassy and BELOW: The line-up and displayed of the messages.

For more than two hours they shouted slogans against the US and a chorus of “down with the FTA” and "NO FTA" repeatedly with promptings from leaders.

The riot police kept their distance just as they had done in the last protest at the PM office in Putra Jaya on Mar 14 2007 (see below)

= = == = = =

Rafidah: On-going with US on FTA can continue; 19 Mar 2007; Anis Ibrahim at the Dewan Rakyat; NST;

KUALA LUMPUR, MON: Malaysia is not bound by any US government procedure, so the on-going negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries can continue. International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said the impending expiry of the current United States Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) did not mean that negotiations could not go on. "(US Trade Representative) Susan Schwab has told me that negotiations can still go on even if they do not get their TPA, it doesn't matter," said Rafidah in the Parliament lobby yesterday. "We can continue to negotiate until everything is resolved satisfactorily," she added.

= == = = == March 18, 2007 16:33 PM

KL Not Bound By Timeframe To Decide On M'sia-US FTA – Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is not bound by any timeframe to give a decision on the issues at stake in the ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks with the United States, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Sunday. The Deputy Prime Minister said Malaysia's stand on the issue was clear in that Kuala Lumpur would continue the FTA negotiations until both sides reached a consensus on the contentious issues. "Malaysia is not tied down to any fixed timeframe. We will study thoroughly every issue being negotiated (before deciding on the FTA)," he told reporters when responding to yesterday's statement by Steve Norton, spokesman for the US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, who ruled out the possibility of the talks concluding in two weeks as Kuala Lumpur had not decided on several issues.

A total of 18 issues are being negotiated including on industrial products, textile, customs procedures, intellectual property rights, financial services, investments and the environment. Malaysia and the US had held a series of negotiations in the past one year, with the latest round in Kota Kinabalu last month. Najib said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz had conveyed Malaysia's stand to the US Government. He refuted assumptions of Malaysia being pressured by the US to wrap up the FTA talks soon. "No, the US is not pressuring us. Of course, the US would like early resolution but they also understand there are some issues that require a bit of time," he said. The US had hoped to ink the FTA with Malaysia by July. Earlier, Najib launched RTM's latest interview programme entitled "Setiap Anak Permata Negara" at Angkasapuri.

= = = =Monday March 19, 2007

Unctad warns of FTA effects Global Trends: By MARTIN KHOR

FREE trade agreements (FTAs) among developing countries can help them strengthen regional cooperation, but trade treaties between a powerful developed country and developing countries can result in many problems for their consumers, farmers and industries. This emerged at a meeting in Geneva last week on the interface between the multilateral trading system and regional trade agreements (RTAs), organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad). South-South RTAs (like Asean and Mercosur in South America) are between neighbouring countries that are at the same development level while in North-South FTAs, the rich country is so far ahead economically that their goods and firms can overwhelm the developing country’s economy.

Unctad trade director Lakshmi Puri said new North-South RTAs go far beyond trade to include services, investment, competition and intellectual property (IP). However agricultural subsidies (which are a main protection tool in developed countries) are left out. This theme of “cherry picking” of issues was taken up by experts during the meeting. It reflects the lop-sidedness of such agreements. Issues like investment and IP which benefit the developed countries are put in (even if they were rejected at the World Trade Organisation) while measures that can most benefit developing countries (such as removing Northern agricultural subsidies) are left out, at the insistence of the more powerful countries. Ransford Smith, deputy secretary-general of the Commonwealth Secretariat, said that developing countries must be rightly concerned with North-South RTAs such as the treaty being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific states.

In such RTAs, developing countries should advocate enhancing special treatment for them and facilitating the movement of their workers to developed countries. South Centre director Yash Tandon said there were positive RTAs where solidarity and aid to weaker partners is the main principle. But many RTAs involving developed and developing countries have an “enforced structure” where one side dictates the terms and the other side either has to “take it or leave it.” What Tandon referred to is often called a “template”, or a fixed set of issues and demands that the developed country wants. There is only limited space to vary. If the developing country partner disagrees, the deal is off. I

f the treaty is signed, the developing country accepts a lop-sided bargain and has to implement often harmful policies. The influential development group Oxfam said that FTAs involving the United States and EU strip developing countries of the policy space that they need to effectively govern their economies. Its trade director, Celine Chaveriat, said that FTAs with the US delay the introduction of generic medicines. Medicine costs will shoot up by US$919mil (RM3.2 trillion) by 2020 in Colombia due to its FTA with the US. These lost funds could be used to treat 5.2 million people. She added that the FTAs involving the US or EU require the developing country to adopt a law that removes the right of farmers to save or share seeds, thereby making its farmers more vulnerable.

Oxfam said the US and EU also want to open up financial services in the South through their FTAs. Developing countries liberalise hoping to have more efficiency but the opposite has happened. Recent IMF and UN studies show that opening up the banking sector leads foreign banks to “cherry pick” only the most lucrative customers, leaving the poorer and higher risk customers for local banks, as a result reducing the profitability of local banks. In Mexico, following its FTA with the US and Canada, foreign ownership of the banking system had increased to 85% by 2000 but lending to Mexican business had dropped dramatically from 10% of GDP in 1994 to 0.3 % in 2000.

Chaveriat added that developing countries are also being pushed to eliminate their agricultural and manufacturing tariffs while the developed countries refuse to negotiate agricultural subsidies (which have damaging impacts on farmers in developing countries). She cited a study showing that Colombia could have falls of 57% in income and 35% in employment in nine agricultural sectors resulting from its FTA with the US. Oxfam called for an overhaul of rules governing WTO and RTAs and a change of mindset by big players about their trade policies toward developing countries.

David Vivas of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development also highlighted how the US made use of its FTAs to protect the interests of its companies by insisting on IP provisions that go beyond the current global rules. Developing countries will find it harder to protect public interests as the expanding IP rights will reduce the public domain. They should be cautious in accepting such IP measures. Officials from many regional groupings, including Asean, were present at the meeting, as well as representatives from many governments.

= = == =an earlier protest on 14th Mar 07, Wed, PM Office

About 200 in protest over Malaysia-US free trade deal; Posted: 14 March 2007 2320 hrs

KUALA LUMPUR : About 200 people opposed to a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States gathered for a rare protest outside the Malaysian prime minister's office on Wednesday, demonstrators said. "It was a noisy protest lasting up to about 90 minutes," said V. Selvam, of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress. He estimated the crowd at 200, mostly farmers from the country's rice bowl in northern Kedah state. They shouted "No to FTA, no to FTA with America," he said. The group also included non-government organisations and opposition political parties, said another demonstrator, Ahmad Sabki Yusof, national youth secretary of the Islamic party, PAS. He said they gathered outside the office of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya, south of Kuala Lumpur.

A delegation of six people conveyed their message in a memorandum handed to a government official, Selvam said. Malaysian farmers, activists and opposition parties have been demanding a halt to the talks on an FTA, which they say will damage livelihoods. Demonstrations are rare in Malaysia and even rarer at the Putrajaya seat of government, where access is more difficult. Selvam said police watched the protest but did not intervene. Dozens of activists last month held a peaceful protest outside the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur to call for an end to FTA negotiations with the United States. The two countries have held five rounds of talks but negotiations have bogged down over 58 unresolved issues and no further rounds have been scheduled. Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz has said sensitive or "no-go" issues, including Malaysia's positive discrimination policies for its majority ethnic Malays, would be excluded from the next round of talks. - AFP/de

= == = = Continue reading H E R E ON

The faltered FTA Talks with US Over TWO particularly sensitive areas Government procurement and services policies

or = = = == = === == = Go H E R E ON

More Added Pics (15) & Story - ANTI TOLL HIKE at SUMMIT USJ, SUBANG JAYA.-. The Riot Squad & Blue Uniform Police personnel were everywhere. In Future if MM RFID Chips are used; every Protester can be IDENTIFIED & Arrested for Illegal Assembly

or for some sexcitement = = == or Go H E R E ON

MORE PICS - RM14 Million Fake “Miagra” SEX STIMULANTS Seized from Penang Container; And In China a Detailed Insight into how FAKE Sex Drug “Viagra” are Produced. Use the REAL ones to see How DEEP is the Rabbit Hole.


Anonymous ByeBye said...

if negotiation continues..means one day it will be signed! no matter what, WE ARE DOOMED! it's only a matter of time.

obviously pak lah is too weak to represent us. good or bad, Tun Dr Mahathir retirement is a huge lost to Malaysia!

good luck my fellow countrymen. Once i'm able, i'm off to Melbourne.

like one of the BN minister said in the parliament, "Kalau you tak suka, you boleh keluar dari Malaysia."

5:13 PM  

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