(en)Fwd: NAFTA Inter-Am Trade Monitor 2-10-97

Ewald (ewald@ctaz.com)
Sat, 01 Mar 1997 19:02:52 -0700

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>Forwarded message:
>From: dwiehoff@iatp.org
>To: trade-news@igc.apc.org (Recipients of conference)
>Date: 97-02-11 14:31:18 EST
>From: dwiehoff@iatp.org (Dale Wiehoff)
>Subject: NAFTA Inter-Am Trade Monitor 2-10-97
>NAFTA & Inter-American Trade Monitor
>Produced by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade=20
>February 10 1997
>Vol. 4, Number 3
>As the government rejected a previously-signed agreement on indigenous
>rights, tension rose in Chiapas and in other rural areas, where residents
>feared an imminent military attack. Local people, international observers,
>health workers and Protestant ministers all told the Mexican daily La
>Jornada that the army has been building up its strength since January 11 in
>areas of Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) support, where
>right-wing paramilitary groups have also been active. Some observers fear
>that January=92s early repayment of Mexico=92s debt to the United States=
and >the International Monetary Fund is designed to minimize the impact of
>renewed fighting in Chiapas on the Mexican stock market. The Mexican
>government may also be preparing to blame renewed unrest in Chiapas for a
>peso devaluation that has been recommended by experts.=20
>On Saturday, January 11, the EZLN rejected the government's
>counter-proposal to the Congressional Mediation Commission's (COCOPA)
>proposal for Constitutional reforms to ensure compliance with the San
>Andres accords, calling the government proposal "a vile and blatant mockery
>of the indigenous people of Mexico." In November, COCOPA drafted a proposal
>based on the agreements reached in San Andres by the government and the
>EZLN. The EZLN accepted the COCOPA proposal, but the Zedillo
>administration did not, insisting that the COCOPA proposal threatens
>Mexican sovereignty by giving indigenous peoples autonomy. Indigenous
>people represent 13 percent of the 93 million Mexican people. The agreement
>on indigenous culture is the only one that was actually signed between the
>EZLN and the government in a negotiation process which has been suspended
>since September 1996, when the guerrilla accused the government of showing
>no real interest in peace.=20
>As military presence increased in rural areas, police officials also moved
>to arrest campesino organizers. On January 27, Mexican police arrested
>Benigno Guzm=E1n Mart=EDnez, a campesino organizer from the southwestern=
state >of Guerrero, as he was giving his children a reading lesson in his current
>home in Mexico City. Guzm=E1n, a leader of the Southern Sierra Campesino
>Organization (OCSS), the target of a June 1995 massacre of 17 campesinos by
>state police at Aguas Blancas, Guerrero had been living in Mexico City due
>to his fear of Guerrero authorities. On December 7, Guzm=E1n's brother,
>Bartolo (another peasant activist), was murdered by four unidentified men
>while working on his land with his son. Although federal authorities
>announced that Benigno Guzm=E1n had been arrested as a leader of the rebel
>Revolutionary Popular Army (EPR), he was charged in connection with
>demonstrations the OCSS held in 1994 and 1995, and not in connection with
>the EPR.=20
>In Guadalajara, capital of the conservative western state of Jalisco,
>police arrested Maximiano Barbosa Llamas and six other leaders of El
>Barz=F3n, a militant organization composed mostly of farmers and small
>business people unable to pay their bank debts. The seven leaders have been
>charged with conspiracy, riot, gangsterism and a number of other crimes.
>Authorities in the southern state of Oaxaca continue to hold most of the
>municipal government officials of San August=EDn Loxicha on charges that=
they >are founding members of the EPR.=20
>Cecelia Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the Zapatistas in the United States,
>charges that: "Under the guise of fighting drug traffickers, the U.S.
>government has bolstered an anti-democratic and corrupt Mexican government
>with a laundry list of high-tech military equipment that has been used to
>violate the basic human right of the people of Mexico.''=20
>The first 20 of a planned transfer of 73 Huey helicopters to Mexico were
>shipped in cargo planes from Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas
>last November. The Hueys are part of a $50 million weapons and
>reconnaissance package that includes four C-26 reconnaissance planes, 500
>bullet-proof armored personnel transporters, 10 million dollars' worth of
>night vision and C-3 equipment (command control and communications), global
>positioning satellite equipment, radar, spare parts for 33 helicopters
>given to Mexico over the past seven years, machine guns, semi-automatic
>rifles, grenades, ammunition, flame throwers, gas masks, night sticks,
>uniforms, and food rations.
>While the military equipment is officially destined for drug interdiction
>efforts, a June 1996 report from the U.S. General Accounting Office said
>that U.S.-provided helicopters were used to transport Mexican military
>personnel to fight the Zapatista rebels in 1994. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
>James Jones reacted to last summer's uprising by the Popular Revolutionary
>Army in Guerrero state by pledging increased military aid, intelligence and
>training to help fight the rebels.=20
>"Crisis in the Chiapas Negotiations," MEXICO UPDATE, January 14, 1997;
>Diego Cevallos, "Chiapas' Only Agreement Crumbles," INTERPRESS SERVICE,
>January 13, 1997; "Mexican Campesino Leader Arrested," WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE
>ON THE AMERICAS, February 2, 1997; "Mexican Army Planning Attack on
>Rebels?" WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE ON THE AMERICAS, January 26, 1997; "Peasant
>Leader Arrested in Mexico City," MEXICO UPDATE, January 29, 1997; Jeffrey
>St. Clair, "The 'Drug War' Against the Zapatistas," INTERPRESS SERVICE,
>January 14, 1997; "Negotiations Continue to be Stalled," MEXICO UPDATE,
>January 22, 1997.=20
>As Mexico launched a formal challenge to the U.S. increase in tariffs on
>corn brooms, a coalition of U.S. citizen groups and corporations filed a
>lawsuit challenging the entire NAFTA dispute resolution process as a
>violation of the U.S. Constitution. The American Coalition for Competitive
>Trade (ACCT) charged that the NAFTA panel system infringes on the right of
>U.S. persons to settle disputes in U.S. courts with appointed judges, as
>required by Article III of the U.S. Constitution, that the panelists are
>not appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate,
>and that the President and Congress have unlawfully delegated judicial
>powers to the panels. ACCT also charges that the panel system does not
>provide the due process protections guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.=20
>Although implementing legislation for NAFTA requires that challenges be
>made to a "determination" of the panel, and although ACCT is not directly
>aggrieved by any such determination, ACCT maintains that it represents
>500,000 U.S. citizens who have been victimized by unfair imports and by
>"failure to adequately enforce trade laws of the United States, including
>the antidumping and countervailing duty laws through the establishment of
>bi-national panels under NAFTA and the FTA . . ."=20
>ACCT board members represent citizen groups including the American Defense
>Institute, America's Future, Americans for the High Frontier, America Take
>A Stand, Military Order of the World Wars, and private businesses. Advisory
>board members represent Hard Hats of America, Information Council of the
>Americas, Citizens for a Sovereign America, Americans for Immigration
>Control, United Republicans of California, National Business Association,
>U.S. Taxpayers Alliance, We the People, and the Council for the Defense of
>On January 15, the Mexican government requested the establishment of a
>dispute resolution panel under NAFTA's Chapter 20, charging that the U.S.
>tariff increase is "inconsistent" with NAFTA. The U.S. action was based on
>the U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) finding that Mexican
>imports of broom corn brooms were substantially impacting the U.S. broom
>corn broom industry. Mexico maintains that the ITC should have included
>other types of brooms, such as plastic brooms, in its consideration because
>they are directly competitive with corn brooms. Other Mexican responses to
>the U.S. action included imposition of higher tariffs on some U.S. imports
>to Mexico, including fructose, wine and flat glass.=20
>""Mexico Begins Formal Challenge of U.S. Corn Broom Decision," INSIDE U.S.
>TRADE, January 17, 1997; Citizens Groups Challenge NAFTA Dispute Panels as
>Unconstitutional," INSIDE U.S. TRADE, January 17, 1997.
>After more than two years of deliberations, the U.S. Department of
>Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published
>rules for the importation of Hass avocados grown in Michoac=E1n, Mexico=
into >19 northeastern states during November, December, January and February of
>each year. The APHIS systems approach to inspection and regulation includes
>nine elements ranging from ongoing field pest surveys and trapping to
>restricting shipping to winter months only and regular inspection of
>packing houses.=20
>APHIS acting deputy administrator Alfred Elder emphasized that USDA
>personnel will be involved with all aspects of the systems approach
>outlined in the final rule published on February 5 in the Federal Register.
>Elder said the decision to allow avocado imports and the systems approach
>program are based on sound science.=20
>A box of Mexican avocados sells for $8 in Canada, compared to a U.S. price
>of $30 per box for California-grown avocados. The United States now imports
>only a small portion of the $1 billion in avocados purchased each year,
>with imports coming from Chile, Israel and the Dominican Republic. U.S.
>growers have vigorously opposed lifting the import ban on Mexican-grown
>avocados. Avocado prices in the northeastern states are expected to fall by
>8-41 percent, with prices falling between 1 and 3 percent in other areas of
>the country.=20
>"Safeguards Allow Opportunity for Mexican Hass Avocado Imports," AGNET,
>January 31, 1997; Peter Tirschwell, "Mexico Gets Green Light to Sell
>Avocados in U.S.," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, February 3, 1997.
>Even as corn prices fell during the final months of 1996, U.S. and other
>foreign firms committed to major investments in Mexico's grain marketing
>and milling sectors. About 40 companies, including Mexican shipping firm
>Transportaci=F3n Mar=EDtima Mexicana, construction firm Grupo ICA, and corn
>processor Ma=EDz Industrializado (Minsa), and U.S.-based Cargill,=
Continental >Grain, Farmland, Louis Dreyfus, and Archers Daniels Midland, have organized
>three consortiums to bid on a government grain elevator network in southern
>Mexico. Mexican law requires that Mexicans own 51 percent of the
>Almacenadora Sur warehouse system and that 20 percent be owned by=
producers.=20 >
>Miller Milling of Minneapolis formed a joint venture with Tablex to build a
>durum flour mill in the Mexican port city of Guaymas, Sonora, south of
>Nogales, Arizona. Tablex is Mexico's largest pasta manufacturer, selling
>its products under the La Moderna brand. Sonora is Mexico's largest durum
>wheat growing region.=20
>In December, the International Finance Corporation signed a $60 million
>investment agreement with Grupo Minsa, the second largest corn flour
>producer in Mexico, to help modernize, upgrade and expand existing plants
>and to build a new corn flour plant. Minsa's six plants employ more than
>1,200 people. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, said its investment in
>Minsa illustrates its continuing support for privatization, since Minsa was
>privatized in October 1993.=20
>Lowry McAllen, "Mexico Grain Elevator on the Block," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE,
>January 12, 1997; "Miller Milling in Joint Venture to Build Durum Mill in
>Mexico," MILLING & BAKING NEWS, December 10, 1996; "IFC Signs US$60 Million
>Deal for Mexican Corn Flour Producer," WORLD BANK PRESS RELEASE, December
>5, 1996;=20
>A World Trade Organization panel, in a decision to be made final on
>February 21, has ruled that Canadian restrictions on so-called "split-run"
>versions of U.S. magazines violate the WTO's fair trade rules. Split-run
>magazines contain a mixture of the original U.S. material and added
>Canadian content, particularly advertising. Because U.S. advertising has
>paid for the magazine's costs, a magazine can offer Canadian advertisers
>very low rates.=20
>Canada has defended the restrictions as essential to protection of Canadian
>culture, arguing that U.S. sale of cut-rate advertising constitutes an
>unfair dumping practice and will skim advertising away from Canadian
>publications, wiping out Canada's magazine industry. The complaint was
>originated by Sports Illustrated and Time Warner, Inc. The Canadian
>government and magazine industry have pledged to find ways to continue to
>protect the industry.=20
>John Maggs, "WTO Backs U.S. in Magazine Dispute," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE,
>January 21, 1997; Anthony DePalma, "World Trade Body Opposes Canadian
>Magazine Tariffs," NEW YORK TIMES, January 20, 1997; John Urquhart,
>"Canadian Magazine Industry May Seek New Rules Curbing Foreign
>Publications," WALL STREET JOURNAL, January 20, 1997; "WTO Interim Report
>Calls for End to Canadian Curbs on Magazines," INSIDE U.S. TRADE, January
>24, 1997.
>Victor Lichtinger, executive director of the NAFTA-created Commission for
>Environmental Cooperation (CEC), warned business representatives in
>December that "efforts to deregulate, decentralize, and de-fund
>environmental programs" are part of "a potentially dangerous trend towards
>weakening of environmental standards in North America =97 all under the
>guise, sometimes, of voluntary compliance and self-regulation." Instead of
>trying to weaken environmental regulations, said Lichtinger, the private
>sector should aim higher than mandated minimums.=20
>The CEC, which lacks any enforcement powers, works to provide a forum on
>environmental issues and to promote effective enforcement of environmental
>law. While Lichtinger cited no specific instances of weakened environmental
>standards, other environmental issues with a direct connection to NAFTA
>=95 a suit by U.S. environmental advocates seeking to reverse an
>Environmental Protection Agency rule issued last March that allows
>polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to be imported from Canada into the United
>States for disposal. The groups argue that the EPA is not able to properly
>regulate incineration of PCBs and that alternative disposal technologies
>should be used.=20
>=95 last October's move by the Mexican government to eliminate=
environmental >impact assessment requirements for investments in sectors including
>petrochemicals, refining, fertilizers and steel. Mexican officials said the
>elimination of environmental impact statement requirements will increase
>Among the more positive environmental developments under NAFTA are:=20
>=95 the December release of the Border XXI Program, a five-year plan
>describing environmental infrastructure needs along the U.S.-Mexico border.
>The plan does not call for any funding, but instead says increased
>coordination and cooperation between federal, state and local agencies on
>both sides of the border will help greatly in resolving environmental
>=95 a first-ever meeting of governors of U.S. and Mexican border states in
>November, with a stated purpose of strengthening relationships and
>identifying priorities for cross-border cooperation.=20
>"North American Standards Suffering in Name of Self-Regulation, CEC
>Director Says," "Groups Urge President to Reverse Rule on PCB Imports From
>Canada for Disposal," INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT REPORTER, January 8, 1997;
>Carl Pope, "Nafta's Broken Promises," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, December 6,
>1996; Peter Zirnite, "New Plan for U.S.-Mexico Border Skips Over Funding,"
>INTERPRESS SERVICE, December 16, 1996; "10 States Convene on U.S.-Mexico
>Border Environment," WESTERN GOVERNORS' REPORT, December 1996; "New
>U.S.-Mexico Program Directed at Health and Environment Improvements on
>Border," USDA PRESS RELEASE, December 12, 1996.=20
>NAFTA & Inter-American Trade Monitor is produced by=20
>the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Mark=20
>Ritchie, President. Edited by Mary C. Turck. Electronic=20
>mail versions are available free of charge for=20
>subscribers. For information on subscribing=20
>to this and other IATP news bulletins, send e-mail to: =20
>iatp-info@iatp.org. IATP provides contract research=20
>services to a wide range of corporate and not-for-profit=20
>organizations. For more information, contact Dale Wiehoff=20
>at 612-870-3401, or send email to: dwiehoff@iatp.org.

__________________________________________________________________________ "Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are rather forced upon them from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security. They do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace."

--Rudolf Rocker "Anarcho-Syndicalism", 1938 (Pluto Press, London, 1989) __________________________________________________________________________


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