Anti-WTO activists begin offensive on shaky ground

Doug Crets | The Standard | Friday, December 02, 2005

A pan-Asian coalition of anti-World Trade Organization activists have made their pitch to Hong Kong, repeating many questionable charges that have frequently been shot down by outside trade experts, such as the supposed adverse effects of a trade accord on the local service economy.

A group of six anti-WTO leaders, including one from Hong Kong, Wednesday condemned the draft text that will serve as the negotiations framework for the December 13-18 ministerial meeting, alleging its proposals will hurt Hong Kong by commercializing public services.

“It’s the government’s duty to provide the people with these,” said Kwok Kam-lam, acting organizer of Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions’ public services union.

However, Hong Kong’s public services are not on the agenda of this WTO round.

“Neither the ongoing services negotiations nor the existing commitments and offers made by Hong Kong in the negotiations lead to or pave the way for privatization or outsourcing of any public services,” said Trade and Industry Department spokewoman Connie Man.

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