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

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  • The EU was keen to develop regulatory rules that provided wide carve-outs from WTO rules for data and consumer protection standards, going well beyond existing WTO safeguards and the minimum tests of necessity, non-discrimination and non-arbitrariness they entail. On the other hand, the EU was quickly spooked by reasonable questions asked by the software industry, some academics, and the US and Japanese governments, about whether trade in software should not be entitled to equivalent market access treatment in both its “goods” form (i.e. attached to physical carrier media) and its “services form” (i.e. delivered online as BIT streams). To the EU, this question of whether to give software services the same liberal market access treatment that software goods already enjoyed seemed to threaten the entire EU approach to audio-visual services and “culture”. They rejected outright any equivalence between specific goods and services that could be delivered either online or physically, and turned to a purely defensive position on e-commerce overall (even as they were desperate to catch up to the US in innovation and performance online).

    Enter the WTO Secretariat as self-appointed defenders of the status quo. In March 1998, just ahead of the second WTO Ministerial Conference, the Economic Research Division released as part of its “special studies” series a booklet called “Electronic Commerce and the Role of the WTO” which it said “was written as a means of providing background information for the 132 WTO Members who are now engaged in the process of developing policy responses to this new form of commerce, which is growing at a staggering rate” (from 5 million Internet users in 1991 to an estimated 300 million by 2000). The Research Division undertakes such special studies under the responsibility of the Director-General and does not seek approval for the contents from the members. This study drew almost entirely for its descriptive and data content on the detailed empirical work underway at the OECD under the supervision of that organisation’s members.(3)

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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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