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<nettime> ATTAC NEWSLETTER 53 - SEOUL IS NOW
The Sand in the Wheels on 19 Oct 2000 22:21:19 -0000


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<nettime> ATTAC NEWSLETTER 53 - SEOUL IS NOW




SAND IN THE WHEELS (n°53)
ATTAC Weekly newsletter - Wednesday 18/10/00

______________________________

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Content

1- Prague balance sheet for ATTAC
2- Alternative Summit in Marseille
3- Dear Timothy...
4- Tobin Tax
5- Seoul 020
6- Education or training business?
7- New EU Treaty May Give European Commission 'Fast-Track' Negotiating
Authority



______________________________

1- Prague balance sheet for ATTAC
____________________________________________________________

On 26 September 2000, Prague entered after Seattle, Bangkok, Washington or
Geneva, into the list of cities in which the names are and will be quoted
as symbols of the rise of struggles against neo-liberal globalisation.

The size of the demonstration which took place on the opening day the
joint IMF and World Bank general meeting, confirms the breadth of the
protests which is expressed, today on every continent. But as with every
event, this had its own uniqueness and deserves to looked at for its
specificities.

The first lesson of Prague relates to the policy of the IMF and the WB.
This policy is more often expressed by Bank President James Wolfensohn
than by Horst Koehler , executive director of the IMF.  The recent arrival
of the latter, after serious controversy over the succession to Michel
Camdessus, is not the only reason for this.  The Bank has always nurtured
its public relations an would like to present itself as the institutional
spokesperson for the "world poor".

At bottom nothing has changed. No-one speaks any more about "structural
adjustment plans" but of "poverty and debt reduction plans", but the
content is the same.

But the discourse is completely different.  In the debate which opposed
the IMF and WB directors and the NGO representatives, James Wolfensohn's
only defence was to repeat that "he also had a heart", a line which he
maintained throughout the demonstrations of Tuesday, 26 September,
declaring to the press that he "understood the motivations of the
demonstrators."  This discourse is the same as the one maintained by
representatives of the Bank who received a delegation from ATTAC and
French NGOs on 26 September, in Paris, on the occasion of a solidarity
demonstration with the Prague initiatives.  This defensive line, going as
far as a partial mea culpa - the Bank as well as the IMF acknowledged that
poverty had increased in recent years, is explained by the breadth of the
critiques, critiques which come from three different directions.

First they come from the most neo-liberal quarters, Americans in
particular, who consider that the role of international institutions
should by reduced to a minimum.  While their attacks have traditionally
concentrated on the UN and its agencies and UNESCO in particular, the IMF
and the WB are not spared.  A US Congress committee has just demanded a
limitation on the intervention powers of the IMF, and in Prague, the
financial press multiplied its critiques of the IMF and the WB.  The
editorial of the Financial Times, of 28 September was thus directly aimed
at James Wolfensohn, who is judged to be guilty of collusion with the
opponents of globalisation!

The second type of critique, of more recent origin, is internal to the
international institutions.  They emanate from top functionaries who
severely judge recent actions of the IMF and of the Bank.  Joseph
Stiglitz, former chief economist of the Bank, is the best known amongst
them.  He has developed a very critical view of the IMF's actions, both
during the Asian crisis and of its interventions in Russia.  While he does
not question the essential principles of the "Washington consensus"
founded on the privatisation of public enterprises, the restriction of
deficits and the generalised opening of markets, Joseph Stiglitz
criticises the IMF's failure to take into account the necessary structural
measures (cleansing of the banking sector, "good governance" etc.) in
Russia, as well as the necessary dialogue to obtain a broad enough
agreement with the countries subjected to the adjustment plans, especially
after the Asian crisis.

The third critical axis the one which emanates from the social movements
and which has been borne by the demonstrators of Seattle, Washington and
Prague. These are more fundamental critiques, which bear on the very logic
of a system which increase inequalities, creates job insecurity and
threatens the environment, the most recent examples of which being the
great civil engineering projects financed by the Bank; the Three Gorges
dam in China, or the oil pipeline across Chad. This is a system which
functions without real democratic control, the weight of votes both in the
IMF and in the Bank give an absolute majority to the rich countries.

The World Bank and the IMF are in an unstable situation where they
continue to apply the neo-liberal line, but giving the impression of no
longer believing in it.  The mobilisations have been broad enough to
destabilise the system, but not enough to reverse the logic which
underlies it!  And for those who don't have confidence in the weight of
our mobilisations, it is useful to quote "The Economist" of 23 September
which in its editorial, wrote that "the anti-capitalist demonstrators who
will be in Prague. are right on two points, on the major question
represented by third world poverty, and on the reversible nature of
globalisation, despite the power which it represents."

The second big lesson of Prague is the size of the youth mobilisation for
the demonstrations.

As in the US, in Seattle and in Washington, the overwhelming majority of
the demonstrators were around 20 years of age. There is here a wave of
radicalisation which involves every country, even if some, like France,
are behind in this process. The figures speak for themselves: 500 young
Swedes and several hundred Norwegians and Finns, 300-500 Greeks, 1000
Italians, an even greater number of British and as many coming from the
Spanish state. This is a country where in Madrid 4000 young people
demonstrated on Tuesday 26th in solidarity with the Prague demonstrators
and where some days later 5000 demonstrated in Madrid, and as many in
Barcelona against Czech police repression.

The methods of action which were applied in Prague were a precise copy of
those which were proved in the United States. The base structure is the
"affinity group" , an especially useful principle for a multinational
mobilisation, where differences of political organisational traditions are
added to those of language.  These groups met in a "convergence centre"
which allowed the delegates to work out their demonstration plans and for
those present to train themselves and to discuss with the other
delegations.  Once the demonstration plan was established, each group
chose its route in relation to its own characteristics, risky or not,
short or long, etc. Everyone has their basic consignments, founded on
radical non-violent action.

This wave of youth radicalisation, even if it is smaller today than that
of the 60s and 70s can profoundly change the relationships of forces and
the situation of the social movements in numerous countries.  But as
always when a new militant generation is formed, the link between these
youth and the existing movements cannot be taken for granted.  The first,
classic, reason is generational: it will be necessary to forge an
identity, practices, references, which will be, at best, different from
those of preceding generations. Prague, following the American
demonstrations, gives us an idea of what these practices and identity
might be: they threaten to strongly sweep away the traditions and habits
of the "apparatuses" including those of the NGOs and of the most recent
social and militant movements. The stakes are however high: it is about
making the link between generations and across them and to share
experiences, the gains and the debates which have been those of the
workers' movement or the social movements of these last decades. It is
possible to follow the example of the American experience, where, despite
important disagreements, networks of youth and unionism, as it happens the
AFL-CIO, have dialogued and co-ordinated their actions, on 16 April, in
Washington, marking on this question a net progress following Seattle. But
there are also more difficult cases, as in Great Britain, where the trade
unions have rejected the young radicals grouped around "Reclaim the
Streets"  and which are little linked to the mobilisations for the
cancellation of the debt for the poorest countries organised by the
Jubilee 2000 coalition. The problems will not be confined to links with
the trade unions. In Prague, where the unions were globally absent, it was
with an NGO, Friends of the Earth, that the difficulties appeared.  
Confronted with the risk of violence, FoE disassociated itself from the
demonstration in advance, which provoked numerous internal debates.

The third lesson of Prague bears upon the weaknesses and the difficulties
encountered.

It is about first of all the weakness and the division of Czech activist
structures.  This is a weakness which is explained by the situation of the
country after the "velvet revolution", where mobilisation structures have
been weakened very quickly without any new forms of social movement
organisation appearing.  To this is added the situation of the Czech
Republic which has, in relation to the international financial
institutions, a very small debt compared with other countries, and with
Russia in particular.

Neither the trade unions nor any of the major parties became involved with
the demonstration of the 26th. The government and the parties which
support it (liberals and social democrats) led an hysterical campaign
against the demonstrators, both before and after the 26th, leaving Vaclav
Havel alone with a more balanced position.  The Communist Party, which is
climbing in the polls, decided to demonstrate by itself on Saturday 23rd,
a scrawny demonstration, probably to cover itself against the government's
accusations.  The debates and the alternative summits were organised by
two different structures, a "forum" prioritising debates, and INPEG which
concerned itself with the demonstration. Each of these structures were
limited both in number and representativeness.

This weakness had many consequences.

It prevented first of all a collective control of the demonstration. INPEG
assumed non violent radicality, but didn't have the means of having a
sufficient presence to make this framework respected.

Neither did it allow for a numerous presence of representatives from the
South and East. For this it would have been necessary to mobilise
financial resources or at least to ensure that other, richer, structures,
did.  Some travel was paid for, in particular by FoE and Jubilee 2000, but
the presence of the first victims of structural adjustment plans was much
too weak. It reinforced the anxieties of the trade unions, because of the
uncertainty about the nature of the demonstrations, about their
participation in the Prague mobilisations.

This weakness of the Czech participation which reflects the limited level
of mobilisation in the countries of the East (the Hungarians were the most
numerous, with a contingent of 300 people) does however say that the
demonstration will not have an effect on the Czech Republic. The fact that
Prague is only a stage in what is today a global mobilisation, and the IMF
and World Bank leaders' recognition of the demonstrators' role will lead
in some weeks or months to a more positive assessment of this
mobilisation's role than the echoes of the Czech press.  The number of
arrests of young Czechs (more than 750, against only 130 foreigners) and
their bad treatment in the police stations will also certainly be a factor
in their rise in consciousness. Prague can therefore be the departure
point for stronger links with activist networks in Eastern Europe, but it
will be necessary to ensure a continuity of contacts and exchanges.

The second weakness of the Prague mobilisation is the absence of links
with social and in particular trade union forces.

This comes back to the situation in the Czech Republic, but also to the
positions of West European trade unionism. By contrast with US unionism,
the ETUC has not involved itself in the opposition to "neo-liberal
globalisation" While for some, it is only about a delay, for others the
answer is to be founded in an ambiguous attitude on globalisation which is
seen as inevitable, the only response being "a little more of Europe".  
The relative weakness of the French participation in Prague (about 300
activists), did not allow the bringing into play of the positive dynamic
which the social movements and trade unions were able to play in Geneva or
Millau last June.

The Nice mobilisation this December can become, before the social world
forum of Porto Alegre and the Davos demonstrations, the occasion to link
more tightly trade unions and social forces, movements of youth and of
struggle against "neo-liberal globalisation".

Christophe Aguiton Paris 7 October 2000
attacint {AT} attac.org


______________________________

2- Alternative Summit in Marseille
____________________________________________________________

In Seattle, the civil society mobilized against liberal globalization and
put obstacles in the way of the determined impetus which the Millennium
Round claimed to give to the liberalization of international trade. In
Bangkok (A Call to the People of the World), in Washington (mobilization
against the IMF and the World Bank), and in Geneva (an alernative social
summit conference); these actions consolidate the victory of Seattle.

Meanwhile, in deadening silence, the European Union is working at
subjugating the Mediterranean peoples to the logic of liberalism. In 1995
the Barcelona Declaration launched the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership,
which claims to establish 'shared prosperity' in the Mediterranean
countries, imposing a free trade zone between the 15 countries of the
European Union and the 12 countries of the southern shores. By means of
bilateral agreements the Union is reinforcing its political, military and
economic supremacy in a zone whose hegemony is contested by the United
States (Oslo, Dayton). Under the pretext of ensuring 'peace and stability'
in the Mediterranean, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership plans to
integrate the economies of the southern shore countries into the Union's
before 2010, and at whatever price to their populations. Any accompanying
measures will not change anything.

What do the Mediterranean partnership agreements actually cover? They turn
on three main themes:

1) Politics and Security The aim here is to create a "unified space of
peace and stability" by lessening tensions between Mediterranean countries
and, via the fight against terrorism (read Islamism), establish respect
for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.  It seems, however, that
the will to create an exclusively European preserve in the countries of
the southern shore takes priority over the aspiration to democracy.  For
instance, support for authoritarian régimes is institutionalized wherever
such countries clearly commit themselves to participation in the free
trade area (like Tunisia or Turkey).  One might point out that the
syndrome of insecurity is fed by the discrepancies of all kinds between
the countries of the two shores, with the concomitant poverty, immigrant
pressure and identification with extremist racial or religious movements.
These elements are more important, in terms of security, than Israel's
systematic refusal of a real peace process. The security paradigm also
serves other aims, like the redeployment of NATO and the provision of new
functions for the European army now being built up.

2) Social, cultural and human factors The partners pledge to "increase
human potential, give priority to intercultural harmony and increase trade
exchanges between social communities."  However, one of the main concerns
of the Barcelona process is to contain the migrant pressure in direction
of northern countries, keeping frontiers secure by means of the visa
system provided for in the Schengen agreements, by restrictions on asylum
rights and by the refusal to regularize the situation of illegal
immigrants, etc.  Tangiers still has a bright future as the assembly point
for the "haragas", or candidates for the suicide-journey, and Spanish
coastguards can go on filling up graveyards with the drowned.

3)  Economy and Finance The objective is to set up an "area of shared
prosperity" via sustainable and balanced economic and social development,
improved conditions of life, better employment opportunities, the
narrowing of gaps in development, and regional cooperation and
integration.  All this, of course, will be consonant with the rules of the
World Trade Organization and masterminded by current ultra-liberal
theories.  To help things along, a miracle recipe is proposed: the
creation of a free trade area by 2010!  With the 'customary' ingredients:
1) development of the private sector, 2) pursuit of stuctural adjustment
policies and 3) the progressive removal of all the rules and regulations
hindering the free circulation of goods and capital.  The agricultural
question has been put off until later, while fisheries and the debt are to
be dealt with by other bodies.

It seems obvious to us that, in their present conception, the
Euro-Mediterranean agreements are going to create more problems than they
solve, and can only add their contribution to the already wide disparity
between the North and South shores.  The reality of the already
perceptible effects will be described in future newsletters.

The "Barcelona IV Conference" will bring together 27 heads of state in
Marseilles in November 2000, and claims to sanction the above process.

The signatory associations (listed below) call for massive mobilization
around the Euro-Mediterranean Meeting against liberal globalization, which
will be held in Marseilles on November 9 in order to make a first
assessment of the Barcelona process, and to draw up the lines for a
different partnership.

They are preparing for a citizens' action and developing a
counter-expertise on the economic facet of the partnership : the
implementation of a free trade zone, structural adjustment measures and
social consequences.  They invite citizens' organizations and the
populations of the two shores to join in, in order to contribute with
their own experiences as "prosecution's evidence" against free trade in
the Mediterranean.

After the Euro-Mediterranean Meeting, a common declaration will be
published. On this basis, we will throw questions at the official
conference and invite the populations of the two shores to demonstrate
their determination to take back, together, the future of the
Mediterranean.

Center for trade union worker's service (Egypt)  / Association pour une
taxation des transactions financieres pour une aide aux citoyens / (Attac
Spain)  / Paz y solidaridad (Spain)  / RED Ciudadana por la abolicion de
la deuda externa (Spain)  / Association pour une taxation des transactions
financieres pour une aide aux citoyens / (Attac France)  / Collectif "Le
Monde n'est pas une marchandise" Marseille (France)  / Coordination
nationale des collectifs des sans-papiers (France)  / Méditerranée
Solidaire(s) (France)  / Syndicat National de l'Enseignement Supérieur
(SNESup) (France)  / Associazione Mediterranea (Italy)  / Sindacato
intercategoriale dei Comitati di base (Sin.COBAS) (Italie)  / Institut
Nord-Sud (Lebanon)  / Association pour une taxation des transactions
financieres pour une aide aux citoyens / (Attac Morocco)  / Democracy and
worker's rights center (Palestine)  / Rassemblement pour une alternative
internationale de developpement (RAID-Attac / Tunisia)

Contact for more information: Olga Otero secretariat.euromed {AT} attac.org

Barbara Strauss. Newsletter editor newsletter {AT} attac.org


______________________________

3- Dear Timothy...
____________________________________________________________

Timothy Geithner
Under Secretary for International Affairs
U.S. Treasury Department
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington,  D.C.  20220

Dear Under Secretary Geithner:

The AFL-CIO strongly supports deep debt relief for developing countries.
We have worked closely with Jubilee 2000, the Congress, and the
Administration to secure full funding for the U.S. portion of the enhanced
HIPC debt relief initiative this year. I believe we are close to achieving
our goal, and we appreciate the hard work you and your colleagues have
done to make debt relief a reality.

But debt relief will not effectively promote growth and reduce poverty in
developing countries if its receipt is conditioned on the adoption of
policies that stunt development and harm the poor. The IMF and the World
Bank currently require some borrowing countries, including HIPC countries,
to impose or expand user fees on primary education and health care as a
condition for receiving loans and relief. Research has shown that these
user fees provide little revenue for developing country governments and
impose long-term costs on school attendance and basic health.

Whether these fees are called by a different name - such as "cost
sharing"or "community financing" - or combined with exemption programs for
some service users, the result is too often the same: the poor simply do
not receive the basic services they need, children do not go to school,
and poor families are turned away from hospitals and clinics. The World
Bank's own Operations and Evaluation Department and its most recent World
Development Report have recognized the limited utility of exemption
programs in mitigating the harm caused by these user fees. Even World Bank
President James Wolfensohn has recognized the need to reform the World
Bank's policy on user fees.

The United States government must use this opportunity to stand up on the
right side of this issue. The IMF and World Bank should not condition one
dollar of debt relief or development financing on the creation, expansion,
or continuation of a user fee program by a borrowing country. No loan
agreement, decision point document, or poverty reduction strategy paper
should contain such a requirement, and the United States must make it
clear to the Bank and the Fund that future support for these initiatives
will depend on the institutions' assurances that users fees have been
eliminated. Of course, the U.S. Executive Directors must also be
instructed to vote against any program or document that includes user
fees. Finally, the Treasury Department must report to Congress each year
on progress made in eliminating user fees, and the voting record of the
U.S. Executive Directors in this regard.

Ending the imposition of user fees by the IMF and the World Bank will help
ensure that debt relief and development financing are not only more
generous, but also more effective. We look forward to working with you and
the Congress to reach a consensus on this important issue.

Sincerely,

David A. Smith, Director. AFL CIO Department of Public Policy


______________________________

4- Tobin Tax
____________________________________________________________

The ACP*-EU joint parliamentary assembly moves in favor of the
introduction of a Tobin type tax.

During its October 11th session, the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly
moved in favor of the introduction of a Tobin type tax, a significant
development in the international campaign to tax speculative financial
transactions. On voting the "general report on the partnership between
ACP-EU and the challenges related to globalization", this Assembly,
composed of parliamentary representatives from 15 EU member countries and
over 70 African, Caribbean and Pacific states, adopted a paragraph
requesting that "the major industrialized countries, and namely the
European Union, introduce a tax on transfers of capital, as proposed by
Professor Tobin".

It's high time European governments responded to the appeal by Northern
and Southern parliamentary representatives and seriously examined the
feasability of implementing a measure which could procure some 50 to 250
billion dolllars a year, to subsidize the development of poorer countries.

The vote, adopted by elected representatives of over 90 countries will
make it easier for the French presidence of the European Union to propose
a study, within European institutions, of a ruling that would make Europe
the "first Tobin zone".

October 11th. Harlem Desir. European deputy. President of the Intergroup
"Taxation of capital, fiscality, globalization" stand-in member of the
Paritary Assembly ACP-EU.

* General Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of
States

First published Courriel d'information 176 journal {AT} attac.org Translation:
Pamela Denton, Volunteer translator coorditrad {AT} attac.org


______________________________

5- Seoul 020
____________________________________________________________

The progressive sector of Korea have been active with preparations for the
O20 struggle coming up and interest and participation is higher than ever.
Groups in the preparatory committee are busy organizing and coordinating
for the struggle. A joint concert and culture festival was held a few days
ago, in which actors, bands, and musical artists were present to voice
their opposition to neo-liberal globalization, and international financial
institutions. Students have been holding rallies, discussions, and other
events with the purpose of raising awareness among the public about the
effects of investment treaties and globalization. Many joint discussions
and debates have been held on the effects of globalization.

 Actor Moon Sung-Geun's speech at the concert: "Koreans related to the
movie industry have been involved in a year long struggle against plans by
the government to liberalize the movie industry by agreeing to an
investment treaty with the U.S. If this treaty is concluded, U.S. capital
will swamp our movie industry and we will never again be able to movies
that we make and we produce. We will never again be able to make, or watch
movies that deal with our history, our culture, our people, and our
perspective. The Korea-U.S. bi-lateral investment treaty is just another
form of cultural imperialism. We oppose neo-liberal globalization which
destroys cultural and artistic diversity and we declare our solidarity to
the struggle against globalization." was just one of countless voices
against investment treaties and the free trade order during the
preparatory process for the O20 struggles.

 Workers have started off the struggle against the Kim Dae-Jung
government's plans for further privatization and foreign sale of the
public sector with a huge rally, jointly organized by the Korean
Confederation of Trade Unions and the Federaition of KoreanTrade Unions,
on the 8th against plans for re-structuring and privatization(close to
50,000 workers took part in this struggle). The National Health Insurance
Corporation Union (and their 10.000 members) has decided that they will go
on strike for the duration of the summit meetings and are planning on
gathering in Seoul to participate in the O20 struggles against
globalization. The Korean Metal Workers Federation, the largest affiliate
of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, is currently going through a
discussion process to decide if they will do the same. The National Street
Vendors Union, angered by the government's decision to clear away street
vendors for the Meetings (in the process denying them of their livelihood)
have resolved to initiate an all out struggle against the government's
oppression at the O20 struggle as well.

 The joint independent media project group for ASEM 2000 has been working
hard to bring the live voices of the people leading up to the O20
struggle. Independent media activists have been busy reporting on the
preparations for the O20 struggle, and the materials they have produced
have been piling up. We are in the process of converting this material
into English, our first visual data is being uploaded on to our homepage
as we speak. Many articles and updates have been written and updates sent
out. Visit their work at the KoPA homepage!!(http://antiwto.jinbo.net)

 The government is doing all that it can to prevent the success of this
struggle. A recent news article reported on the government putting
pressure on the police and corporations located in the vicinity of the
ASEM tower to ban any demonstrations or rallies in the area during the
meetings. As in Seattle, the area around the conference area will be off
limits during the duration of the meetings, and as in Prague. Around
30,000 policemen will be stationed to block demonstrations at the site of
the meetings. A clash seems unavoidable at this point in time.

 We have received many messages of solidarity and support from activists
abroad, but as we have let you know in previous newsletters, it is vital
for our movement that progressive activists and organizations support us
and our cause. We once again ask that you let other organizations,
activists, and contacts about this struggle. Organize discussions,
organize actions if possible, and please let us know about your thoughts.
Your solidarity will be a great help to our common cause. The pieces for
an exciting struggle are falling into place, every one of your messages of
support count!!

The two joint coalitions organizing for the O20 actions in Seoul are:

-The Korean People's Action Against Investment Treaties and the WTO (KoPA)
is a people's network opposed to the MAI and the WTO, composed of more
than 40 social, labor and citizen's movement organizations. Its aim is to
make people recognize clearly the negative effects of the WTO, and also to
stop the on-going negotiations of Bilateral Investment Treaties(BIT)
between Korea and U.S / Korea and Japan. KoPA focuses on four issues
mainly; first, opposition to the investment treaties and the WTO.
Secondly, control of transnational financial capital, thirdly,
cancellation of foreign debt and redistribution to people, and the lastly
stopping the IMF's SAPs. It also stress the importance of international
solidarity in the development of its struggles.

-The People's Rally Committee is a composed of the major people's
organizations in Korea, including the Korean Confederation of Trade
Unions(KCTU), the Korean Farmer's League(KFL), and the National Union of
the Poor. It organizes The People's Rally to defend the people's
livelihood and basic rights against capital and the government's
neo-liberal policies

The Struggle of the People Continues in Seoul!! An Immediate Stop to
Neo-Liberal Globalization!!

More information on the actions can be seen at:
http://antiwto.jinbo.net

Regular updates on the preparations for the ASEM action can be heard
through the internet broadcasts at:
http://cast.jinbo.net/news/yundai.html

Contact us at: kopa {AT} jinbo.net

Korean People's Action against Investment Treaties and the WTO(KoPA) /
People's Rally Committee


______________________________

6- Education or training business?
____________________________________________________________

The United States is by far the largest exporter of education in an
international trade context, so it should not be a surprise that it has
put on the agenda of the WTO reduction of impediments to the growth of
education exports to other countries, both in the more and less developed
countries.

One of the biggest service exports of the United States is Education. When
a college enrolls a foreign student, it counts as an export, regardless of
where the transaction takes place. Most other service exporters go where
the market is rather than making the market come to them. Therefore we see
that soaring enrolment of foreign students at American universities also
is pumping valuable foreign exchange into the U.S. economy.

June 1 US Trade representative Charlene Barchefsky called for
liberalisation in a broad range of service industries including education.

It has been estimated that tertiary education exports, including intensive
English language courses, were worth about $390 million in foreign
exchange in 1997 (Alvey, Duhs, and Duhs, 1999 forthcoming). Of this, $144
million is attributable to English language courses. The 1998 figures are
down about 8 per cent, mainly because of the Asian economic crisis.

Labor will commit $24 million over three years to promote Australia's
quality education export services. Education exports are already
Australia's fifth largest export industry, worth over $3.5 billion a year
and employing thousands of Australians.

Also Education exports serve a positive balance of trade as the number of
foreign students studying in American Universities is much more than the
number of American students studying abroad. A report from the
International Intitute of education authored by Todd Davis, Ph.D., the
Institute s Director of Research, indicates that here has been a 5.1%
increase in the number of foreign students studying here; to 481,280; over
the previous year.

Having experienced an overall annual growth of 16.2%, the 108,600
international students now enrolled at Australian universities account for
14.8% of the total student population, up from 12.9% in first semester
1999.

The Council is committed to working with the DfEE and other partners to
take forward the Prime Minister's initiative to attract more international
students to the UK. The initiative aims to increase the UK's share of the
international higher education student market from 17 per cent to 25 per
cent by 2005 and to double the number of further education students taking
courses offered by UK institutions by the same date. The Council has been
given lead responsibility for the development of a brand for UK education
and for its implementation in an international marketing campaign. The
projected increase in international students resulting from the campaign
will generate an estimated £700 million a year in additional revenue for
the UK. It will add significantly to the number of potential
decision-makers and opinion-formers with UK ties and lead indirectly to
increased exports, tourism and influence for the UK. Furthermore, a
competitive, world-class education system will greatly improve the quality
and international dimension of education for UK students.

Date: Friday 25 August 2000 C69/2000 MORE UNIVERSITY FOCUS NEEDED ON
ENGLISH COMMUNICATION

As English becomes the major global language of information, the Internet
and the media, universities must focus more on developing English
communication for international students throughout their entire study
programs. The English language must be seen as a core competence and can
no longer simply be accommodated through foundation communication courses
and then forgotten. Possibly no other area 'sells' one graduate better
than their ability to communicate effectively and with confidence. This
was one of the key issues raised today by Curtin University of Technology
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lance Twomey, in his paper Globalisation and
Education: Higher Education for the 21st Century. Professor Twomey
presented his paper at the Australian Universities International Alumni
Convention 2000 at Kuching, Malaysia (August 24 - 27). Professor Twomey
said. "Universities with high numbers of international students,
especially those whose first language is other than English, face great
challenges in meeting their students' needs in this area and in assisting
them to use language powerfully. "Opportunities in a globally competitive
world will flow to those with language mastery. Professor Twomey outlined
that the number of international students studying in Australian
universities had increased from 15,000 in 1984 to 75,000 in 1998, and was
forecast to reach about 90,000 this year.

WTO and Education II The Future of Education Under the WTO by Brendan
O'Sullivan.

Education What entrepreneur wouldn't salivate over, what corporate CEO
could resist a trillion dollar industry? What corporate board would jump
at the chance to manufacture the thinking, working, and purchasing of its
corporation's consumers and workers. How is it possible then, that such a
market has yet to be exploited? It's happening right now, it's been
happening, and it will continue to happen unless we act now. Welcome to
global capitalism, and it's proud sponsor, the World Trade Organization
(WTO.) Normally, we don't think of students, teachers, faculty, and staff
as profit making resources; and we don't view the institution of education
as a market. Education is many things--personal growth, knowledge,
societal betterment, conscience for society. But, then again, most of us
aren't trade representatives or corporate CEOs.

IRISH INDEPENDENT: BUSINESS SCHOOLS COULD MAKE A BUNDLE ABROAD 80% match;
Irish Independent; 05-Oct-2000 12:00:00 am ; 818 words

With the business of teaching English as a foreign language now worth
GBP250m a year to the economy, the rest of our education system is looking
to sell it wares further a field.

And with fees for non-EU students at between GBP6,000 and GBP14,000 a
year, private and state colleges have good reason to attract them. It is
believed that foreign students outside the English language sector are now
worth around GBP100m a year to the economy. However, we still have a long
way to go in realising the potential of selling Irish education as a
product. In Australia, education is their fifth biggest export and is
worth some GBP3.65bn to the economy. John Lynch, chief executive of the
International Education Board - Ireland (IEBI), says that over the past
two to three years Ireland has become a popular location for education.

Recent research into the value of education and training exports to the UK
economy provides a total estimated figure of between £7 billion per annum.
The Higher Education and English Language Training sectors each contribute
in excess of £1 billion in exports annually to the UK economy. Australia
In Australia, arguably the most aggressive higher education system in the
realm of foreign student recruitment, enrollments have been growing at the
astounding rate of nearly 20 percent per year in recent years. Today
foreign students comprise fully 10 percent of total enrollments in higher
education in that country and are drawn primarily from nearby southeast
Asian countries. In spite of significant economic problems in southeast
Asia, Australia continues to forecast an increase in foreign student
enrollments from 60,000 in 1996 to over 180,000 by 2001, and recently
announced its plans to invest another $21 million in the effort over the
next four years.

The devaluation of several currencies, the collapse of businesses and
massive stock market losses have made it difficult for many Asian families
to continue supporting their children's education in the United States.
"My family is middle-class in Korea. I didn't worry about money before,
but now I really worry," said Hee Young Baek, a student at the University
of Maryland at College Park. "Whenever I go out to eat I think about the
exchange rate." Miss Beak's education was financed by a check that came in
every semester, but the currency devaluation have cut the value of the
South Korean won by about half. Meaning that even if Miss Baek's parents
could send her a tuition check, it would be worth only about half the
number of dollars she needs to pay her fees. Another problem faced by
Asian families, who have businesses and support their children studying
abroad, is that the demand for goods in these countries has completely
died down. This has again affected the number of students studying abroad.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the number of students
dropping out foreign colleges has increased considerably after the
economic crisis. U.S. institutions led the world in 1998 in foreign
enrolments with nearly 500,000 students, more than half of them from Asia.
(5) (3) The 276,000 students Asians are represented in the table below: -

Canada wants its share Following the lead of the higher education sector,
Canada&#8217;s secondary schools are looking to increase their profile
overseas in a bid to attract more overseas students. Canada began showing
signs of beefing up the marketing of its education system only last year,
when the government set up the Education Marketing Advisory Board. Its
strategy, which involves a support group in the Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade, aims to increase the C$2.7 billion in
annual revenue generated by international students.

6 mesures à prendre si l'on veut AUGMENTER DE FAÇON SIGNIFICATIVE LA
MOBILITE ETUDIANTE en provenance de l'étranger dans l'enseignement
supérieur français Par Bernard Raoult, Président d'EduFrance 3 - D'autre
part, il faut créer au plus vite des cursus tout ou partie en langue
anglaise dans toutes les formations, c'est possible dans le cadre de la
loi actuelle et relève de l'initiative des Établissements. C'est une
mesure décisive pour augmenter significativement le nombre d'étudiants
étrangers, en provenance notamment des grands pays d'Asie (Inde,
Indonésie, Japon, Chine, etc) et d'Amérique du nord; prévoir en parallèle
un enseignement accéléré de Français langue étrangère (FLE). Academic
Globalization Spreads to the North The idea of the multinational
university is flourishing in the Nordic region.

France to fight for international students The French government has
entered the international education marketing fray with the launch of a
marketing body, called EduFrance, to promote French educational services
overseas. Through the new body, it hopes to secure itself a slice of the
international education market, whose value it estimates to be in the
region of FF130 billion (US$21.9 billion) per year, and which has, until
now, been dominated by the main English-speaking countries. EduFrance will
receive FF100 million from the government over the next four years, and it
will also collect fees from member organisations such as universities. It
also hopes to secure a share of the education and training funds allocated
to students from organisations such as the African Development Bank, the
World Bank and the European Union, who between them spend between FF3.5
billion and FF4 billion per year on education and training; between eight
and 10 per cent of their operating budgets; according to the French group.

The move by France's Education and Foreign Affairs Ministries comes at a
time when French cultural influences in other countries, such as Egypt,
have been eroded. According to the British Council, English is now
overtaking French as Egypt's most widely-spoken second language. In
addition, the possible emergence of a UK-lead consortium of businesses to
establish a UK university in Egypt, although still in its infancy (see
left), will almost certainly intensify the competition.

Scipo Prikatel scipoprikatel {AT} hotmail.com
Europa Esperanto-Ligo

More information
ATTAC in Belgium liege {AT} attac.org
ATTAC in France education.marseille {AT} attac.org


______________________________

7- New EU Treaty May Give European Commission 'Fast-Track' Negotiating
Authority
____________________________________________________________

"Let me get really controversial. I am determined on this trip to put the
case to the UK government for more majority voting in the forthcoming
IGC... I am talking, of course, about updating the EU's common commercial
policy as set out in Article 133 of the Treaty, to permit qualified
majority voting in the Council to determine our position in international
trade negotiations in services, intellectual property and investment."

 - EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy [1]

In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in London on 6
July 2000, Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy kicked-off his campaign to
dismantle existing restrictions on the European Commission's ability to
freely negotiate international trade and investment policies. Lamy's
campaign is directed at influencing the outcome of current negotiations
among EU Member States over another revision of the EU Treaty. These
negotiations, also known as 'IGC 2000' (Intergovernmental Conference
2000), began in February this year and are likely to be finalised at the
EU Summit in Nice, France this December. There is strong indication that
the European Commission may get more power to negotiate and conclude
agreements on behalf of EU member states in the World Trade Organisation
and other international trade fora. In effect, the European Commission is
seeking something akin to what the US government refers to as 'fast-track'
negotiating authority.

Since the mid-1990s, corporate lobby groups like the European Roundtable
of Industrialists (ERT), the European employers' confederation UNICE, and
the EU Committee of AmCham have been lobbying aggressively to strengthen
the European Union's competence in international trade negotiations.[2]
For these groups, swift centralised EU decision-making on its
international trade policy is ideal. It ensures that decisions do not get
stalled or watered-down by Member States' interventions, even if based on
legitimate national concerns, and makes it easier for lobby groups to push
business demands through an already industry-friendly European
bureaucracy, bypassing more democratic processes.

The language of these lobby groups has seeped into official documents for
the current IGC. In a note prepared for the negotiators, the IGC's Legal
Adviser concludes that the EU's external trade policy should be governed
by "clear, simple, transparent and effective" rules.[3] The European
Union, "has to act as one (presenting a united front) in all cases, with a
single spokesman stating the common position."[4] From such a perspective,
democratic procedures for deciding on international trade policy are seen
as a hindrance to 'efficiency'.

This conflict between efficiency and democratic control has, in the past
decade led a number of EU Member States, of which France has traditionally
been the most outspoken, to oppose further increasing the EU's power in
international trade and investment negotiations.[5] The issue featured
prominently in the negotiations over the Amsterdam Treaty. In the months
leading up to the June 1997 Amsterdam Summit, the European Commission and
corporate pressure groups waged an intensive lobby campaign to persuade
reluctant governments to drop their opposition to a transfer of
sovereignty.[6] Staunch French opposition forced a compromise. The outcome
was that the European Commission did not get exclusive authority to
negotiate over new issues such as investment, intellectual property and
trade in services. However, the Amsterdam Treaty now allows the Council,
by unanimous decision, to grant the European Commission full competence in
all external trade policy.[7]

Still faced with this hurdle of unanimity in the Council to expand the
EU's trade powers, the proponents of a "strong and unified EU voice" now
try to use the complex and opaque EU treaty revision process to smuggle-in
a radical transfer of powers, which would strip individual Member States'
veto powers and mandatory ratification by national parliaments once and
for all.

The French government plays a central role. France currently holds the
presidency of the EU for the rest of the year, which gives the French
government considerable influence over the treaty revision negotiations.
The French government, however, now seems to have capitulated on its
previous demands to maintain national sovereignty in external trade
issues. A September draft protocol released by the French government,
calls for qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers, and
suggests that the European Commission be the sole EU representative for
all international trade negotiations.[8]

Until now, the French government has been able to avoid publicity over
this shift in its position, which is guaranteed to create a huge stir, in
a country which boasts some of the strongest and most widespread
opposition to economic globalisation. But the corporate- backed pro-EU
camp holds some trump cards. The fact that EU Trade Commissioner Pascal
Lamy, himself French and of considerable stature among the French
political elite, is campaigning for extending EU competence on external
trade makes it more difficult for the French government to block such
proposals. And secondly, President Jacques Chirac has recently appointed
Jérôme Monod to join his staff of advisers. Monod, CEO of French water
giant Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, (see water article in this issue) was last
year's European Co-Chair of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) and
Chair of the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT) between 1992 and
1995, and is one of the ERT's 'experts' on European unification.[9] As the
French daily newspaper Le Monde headlined earlier this summer, "At the
Elysée, the Europhiles have won the battle of influence."[10]

What's at stake

Under the Amsterdam Treaty, the European Commission already has extensive
powers in international trade negotiations. However, at the moment, all EU
participation in WTO proceedings departs from the assumption that there is
so-called 'mixed competence' between the European Commission and the
Member States. Mixed competence issues imply unanimous decisions in the
Council and national ratification procedures for any resulting agreements
in all 15 EU countries.

This status quo results from a 1994 European Court of Justice opinion,
which defined trade in services and intellectual property as issues of
mixed competence. According to the Amsterdam Treaty, the European
Commission can, on behalf of all Member States, negotiate and sign WTO
agreements in areas where it has full authority- for example, in areas
pertaining to trade in goods. As WTO negotiations tend to be complex and
comprehensive, mixed competence has in practice become the general guiding
principle for EU participation in WTO proceedings. [11]

The proposed changes in EU external policy are comparable to the Clinton
administration's (failed) attempts to gain 'fast-track' powers over
international trade policies, bypassing the current system whereby the US
government must get Congressional approval for its negotiating
positions.[12] EU Trade Commissioner Lamy describes such changes as
"modernising decision-making."[13] If the Commission had such powers in
the past, many controversial EC proposals would almost certainly have
become reality, as the Member States would not have had the possibility to
block them. Former EU Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan's New
Transatlantic Marketplace initiative, which aimed to create an EU- US free
trade zone by 2010, was blocked by a veto from France in 1998. The
negotiations on the OECD's Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), in
which the individual EU countries negotiated separately, could have taken
a disastrous turn if decisions were left to the Commission. Member States
would not have been able to withdraw from the negotiations, as France
followed by the United Kingdom did. The EC took an extremely hard-line
neoliberal approach during the MAI negotiations and pushed for an
agreement before the opposition would grow too strong.[14] Fortunately it
lacked the authority to make such decisions.

It was the limits in the EU's powers over international investment
policies that enabled the movement against the MAI to intervene at the
national level and eventually halt the negotiations. It is precisely these
kinds of 'obstacles' that the EC wants to prevent in the future, through
the revision of the Amsterdam Treaty. With the EU's Nice Summit taking
place in December, there are less than two months left to prevent this
disastrous scenario from unfolding.

NOTES Please see downloaded versions for them.

Olivier Hoedeman. Corporate Europe Observatory email: ceo {AT} xs4all.nl
http://www.xs4all.nl/~ceo






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