implications. It was fun and full of surprises, some of them owing to the garrulous Texans involved in the conference. Among the top organizers was Bob King, director of natural resources for Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, whose bravura oneliners and passion for justice drew a standing ovation at the conference. That was less surprising than the transformation of H.F. geologist who has recently defected to the side of those who are fighting for global survival. It fell to Kepplinger to introduce Amory Lovins, the famous energy conservation gadfly, to a dinner meeting at the Houston Marriott Astrodome. “I want to welcome y’all to Houston,” drawled Kepplinger. “Course, there was a time when you wouldn’t have been welcome. In fact, we’d a kicked your asses outta here.” He added that times had changed, though, and scored the plan ners of the G-7 summit for spending the bulk of their efforts trying to hire elite French chefs for state dinners. “In the ’90s,” said Kepplinger, “we’ve got to focus entirely on the Four Cs: Compassion, Conservation, Cooperation, and Commitment.” Then he sat down and watched with a smile as Amory Lovins went after the U.S. oil and utility establishments, calling them losers doomed to perish in future competition with profitdriven conservation enterprises. The Other Summit Exporting Restraint BY JO CLIFTON Houston DESTRUCTION OF the world’s rainforests, the great increase in smoking among Asians, and the dumping of toxic wastes in the Third World, can all be linked directly to economics, according to Martin Khor Kok Peng, coordinator of the World Rainforest Movement. Khor warned those gathered in Houston for The Other Economic Summit that the current method of valuing resources, such as tropical hardwoods, could lead to the destruction of the world. Colonizing nations, Khor said, forced resource-rich Third World countries into the marketplace, where goods are valued only by the price they bring, not by the cost to the environment. Multinational corporations now bind those countries to a marketplace where they cannot fairly compete. Those corporations exercise control over the rules of competition through the General also known as the Uruguay Round. \(The leaders of the G-7 nations spent much of their time in Houston discussing fine points of the prices tropical hardwoods lower than softwood from the industrialized countries, even though it may take 200 years for a tree to grow in a tropical forest and only 20 years to grow softwood in a tree plantation in the United States,” Khor said. As a result, the rain forests are being depleted “faster than you could imagine.” But the rain forest countries are still poor, he said. Multinational corporations are feeling pressure from social, health, and environmental movements to act more responsibly in industrialized nations. Consequently, Khor said, the multinationals have chosen GATT as a vehicle to help them avoid health, safety, and environmental regulations. The reason GATT is so powerful is that it mandates trade retaliation if a country violates the rules. Already the United States, by threat of trade retaliation, has forced Taiwan, South Korea, Jo Clifton is an Austin freelance writer. 6 AUGUST 31, 1990 Japan, and Thailand to import more cigarettes than they want. As a result, Khor said, the anti-smoking movement in Asia has suffered a”setback while Americans are smoking less and less. So, regulations governing health and environment in the United States without corresponding laws governing ex CORINNE WOOLER Martin Khor Kok Peng port of unhealthy products will lead to more destruction in the Third World. Last year, Indonesia tried to ban the export of the tropical product rattan because of loss of the rainforests. This appeared to be an environmental victory. However, Khor said, America and European nations called this move “protectionism.” “They said ‘as long as our manufacturers want to buy rattan, you can’t deny them that right … ‘ So they threatened to retaliate against Indonesia by slapping tariffs on their products, or by not importing products that [the Indonesians] want to export. This is under another section of GATT,” he said. According to Khor, one European nation wanted to ban the import of irradiated food. But under threat of retaliation through GATT, he said, the country decided against the ban. The developed nations are putting extreme pressure on Third World nations to “radically restructure GATT, so that the powers” of the trade agreement will be even stronger, Khor said. Japan, the European nations, and the United States are proposing that services and investment be brought under the ambit of GATT, he said. “They are saying that we must have freedom of trade including the right to establish banks, insurance companies, travel agencies, hospitals, etc.,” Khor said. Moreover, the multinational corporations want the right to be treated like domestic corporations in Third World countries. A logical corollary is that a Japanese company would have the right to demand that it be treated in exactly the same way a U.S. company would be treated in this country. No country could restrict sales of businesses or land or demand that only a certain percentage of each business be foreign-owned. Most nations do impose such restrictions today, Khor said, but if the new GATT proposals are enacted, countries which refused to change their laws to conform would face severe economic hardship. The news media have not paid much attention to GATT, Khor said, partially because it does not sound like an exciting subject, and partially because negotiations have been conducted in secret. Europe and Japan have opposed certain proposals because they would limit agricultural subsidies. However, once the negotiators do reach agreement with the help of the multinational corporations each nation will have to ratify the agreement. The G-7 nations agreed last year to try to conclude GATT by December of this year. After that, a simple majority in Congress will be able to approve the measure, which will override both federal and state laws on a wide variety of subjects. Khor called on members of the TOES conference to contact their representatives to vote against GATT when it comes up for ratification.
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