MANAGEMENT is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; LEADERSHIP determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall - Stephen Covey

Saturday, December 17, 2005

WTO in HK - An update

The World Trade Organisation's biennial ministerial conference got under way in Hong Kong, amid protests and scuffles with the police. In general, ministerial conferences are the WTO’s highest decision-making body, meeting at least once every two years and providing political direction for the organization. This sixth conference will be vital for enabling the four-year-old Doha Development Agenda negotiations to move forward sufficiently to conclude the Round in 2006.
This year, thousands of demonstrators from more than a dozen countries marched through Hong Kong, some scuffling with police and others diving into the city's harbor in protest. About a hundred other Korean activists jumped into the cold waters of Victoria Harbor wearing life preservers and tried to swim to the convention center but were cut off by police patrol boats. Also, about 4,500 demonstrators stayed on a route designated by police and peacefully protested trade accords they say benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. Many protesters in Hong Kong said they hoped their presence would pressure negotiators to produce a fairer deal for poor nations, by making rich countries' markets more open to goods from the developing world
Pascal Lamy, director-general of the WTO, urged delegates to continue working toward a wide-ranging trade deal that could lift the global economy. "We must not focus on ourselves. We must focus on our children, and our grandchildren," he said. The meeting took place under high security in a glistening convention center that extends into the harbor. Police have sealed off the area around the building with water-filled plastic barriers and metal fencing, and patrol boats are positioned in the surrounding waters.


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