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Electronic Commerce and the WTO. By Rachel Thompson*
Oct 21, 2002

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  • At that time, the US share of the global market in e-commerce was around eighty five per cent. Given this, and the fact that the 1998 Ministerial Conference was seen as largely ceremonial, marking fifty years of the multilateral trading system, with few trade concessions on the table, there was little or no interest among other WTO members in giving the US “something for free” on e-commerce. The US pushed hard but the most it could achieve at the 1998 Ministerial was a non-binding “moratorium” until the next Ministerial on the application of customs duties to electronic transactions, and a work programme to study the issues raised by its list of principles. The US originally thought it could use this as the platform for negotiating a declaration of principles on e-commerce, including a permanent moratorium, by the Third WTO Ministerial – but that turned out to be the fiasco of Seattle. In its poisonous aftermath, most US initiatives were treated as “dead on arrival” in Geneva. The work programme launched in 1998 petered out during 1999-2000 in spite of periodic attempts by Japan and Canada to revive it. And then in March 2000 the dot-com bubble burst, followed within the year by the telecom stock meltdown. Electronic commerce lost its aura of hype and “specialness”, in the wider world and at the WTO. Indeed the WTO delegations seemed relieved to put it to one side.

    “Electronic commerce” comprises far more than the consumer-oriented dot-coms that blazed so brightly if mostly briefly across the business landscape in the late 1990s. In the words of Catherine Mann of the Institute for International Economics(2) electronic commerce “… is a shorthand term that embraces a complex amalgam of technologies, infrastructures, processes and products. It brings together whole industries and narrow applications, producers and users, information exchange and economic activity into a global marketplace called ‘the Internet’”. Nor was e-commerce particularly new – the financial and news sectors in particular had built far-reaching electronic business platforms starting some twenty years earlier. But it was the emergence of the Internet as an open and non-proprietary platform for global commercial transactions that made electronic commerce both revolutionary and mainstream – through its availability to businesses and countries large and small with access to telephone and computer networks.

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    Capitalism is supposed to be a simple economic system
    posted by Tapart News Advocate on 2/23/2004 at 6:00:48 PM

    "Capitalism is supposed to be a simple economic system. It should make it easier for all mankind to be good. All business enterprises need a markup. This markup should be based on local value added economies from the raw product up through to the production stages and to the retail level. If parts of this process is missing in any given geopolitical setting than the whole is affected. There will always be someone who will do something for less. There are all sorts of manipulations where the making and selling of a product as a reasonable markup will be replaced. Consortiums can find ways to gain market shares by selling certain segments of their commerce under costs. The final water mark in gobalism is down to wage slave labor and even child labor combined with destroying safety and ecology regulations. It is obvious companies move their factories to escape these overheads. Companies also move to escape the entitlement societies and in the end, nations find if more difficult to maintain the social and economic balance that took years to evolve. Catherine Mann uses the 1990s for comparisons with more jobs being dislocated in that time than ever before. Workers were promised help if NAFTA, GATT etc cost them their jobs but few if any got any real help. Over a million lost their jobs in the computer industry alone for the past dozen years. In 1998 while a statistical prosperity was proclaimed by President Clinton over 250,000 lost their jobs in high tech. And this was during the time when government and companies poured in billions of dollars to correct the Y2k crisis. This acted as a false stimulus and all bets are off for this reason in comparing the so called statistical prosperity. Unemployment was actually at 15% or more if compared to any unemployment reporting with the past where full time jobs with benefits were the core of all jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics admitted that they could no longer use any of the data from the unemployment offices since only about 40% of all workers could qualify for unemployment insurance. The majority of workers did not make enough money or work long enough at any one jobs to qualify. Personal bankruptcies, the homeless population, the need for emergency food and the trade deficit broke records but were ignored. Against this backdrop, we have people like Catherine Mann doing her thing with statistics and numbers that just do not add up especially if compared to the more prosperous times in our recent history. It seems the big lie works better than the realities of the street and how people live out these terrible times with millions drifting into a silent depression. For more information, see Tapart News and Art that Talks with commentaries and topical art by Ray Tapajna, Chuck Harder, Paul Donovan and others. See the Cross 9/11 Tangle of Terror Artwork asking who will now untangle the terror Globalism has bred. Read America in Terror by Chuck Harder and the House of Cards economy by Paul Donovan. Help restore the American Dream. Vote out everyone that was part of the passage of NAFTA, GATT, WTO and Fast Track. Reference sites at http://yestapart.bizland.com/tapartnews http://tapsnewstory.filetap.com http://arklineart.fotopages.com"

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