HTML _ RS20417 - Environment and the World Trade Organization(WTO) at Seattle: Issues and Concerns
21-Dec-1999; Susan R. Fletcher; 3 p.

Abstract: As the United States prepared for the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, Washington, held November 30 - December 3, 1999, environmental issues were once again a focus of attention. This meeting of the decision making body of the WTO was expected to make decisions that would lead to another round of negotiations on a wide variety of trade rules and related issues. Although the United States continues to assert the necessity of pursuing the twin goals of free trade and environmental protection and to argue that these need not be in conflict, controversy remains over how the multilateral trading system should address the specifics of environmental issues. Widespread demonstrations and events in Seattle by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across a wide spectrum of interests involved many environmental NGOs. The environmental interest groups have expressed a variety of concerns, from opposing the WTO altogether, to trying to assure inclusion of specific environmental issues in the Seattle agenda and in subsequent negotiations. Opposition to including environmental issues in WTO negotiations has also been strong, coming from many business groups and developing countries, who argue that these concerns should be addressed outside the WTO. While the demonstrations in Seattle received a great deal of attention, the specifics of the environmental issues did notĀ­either in coverage of the demonstrations, or in the official discussions of the WTO ministerial meetings. These meetings terminated without resolving whether or when a new round of negotiations would ensue. How the WTO will deal with environmental issues in this process in the future remains uncertain. [read report]

Topics: International, Economics & Trade, International Finance

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