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EU on sanctions delays

The following report is on European Union dragging its heels over the Burma 
Sanctions and GSP debate, with reference to recent press report of Norway's 
Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland visit to Thailand and discussion of the 
forced labor-slave labor  European/WTO problem.

from Dawn Star (Euro-Burmanet, Paris)

Headline: EU update on European Sanctions
Keywords: NLD ban,  National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi, 
human rights, political prisoners, torture, murder, execution, rape, Slorc 
abuses, forced labor, forced relocation, NLD Congress 9/96,NLD arrests, NLD 
crackdown 9/96,Greens, European Union, EC, Europe, WTO, World Trade 
Organisation, European Council, Gro Harlem Brundtland-Norway PM,
Date: 03 Oct 1996 
Source: BNN, Euro-Burmanet
Section: ebn
Rubrique: main

Greens spokeswoman Sabina Meyer in Brussells,Belgium, confirmed today that 
despite continuing allegations of the use of forced labor by Burma's military 
junta, no decision by the European Council of foreign ministers on barring 
trade benefits under Europe's General Scheme of Preferences (GSP) to Burma is 
expected before January 1997.

 "They are basically delaying the decision ", she said, referring to a 
meeting of the European Council of foreign ministers held earlier last week 
in Luxembourg. 

The allegations of forced labor heavily documented by international human 
rights organsations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch/ 
Asia, SAIN, and the United Nations Commission of Human Rights, has now become 
an unprecedented issue before the World Trade Organisation on how to apply 
let alone interpret  what Ms Meyer called "the social clause" referring to 
forced labor and slave labor.  What she described as "the consequences of the 
GSP " has obviously become a complicated, and difficult stumbling block with 
wide-ranging implications for WTO's member countries, many of them condemned 
for violations of human rights and internationally accepted conditions of 

 " It is not clear to the WTO what is not allowed according to the rules of 
the GSP, " she said. "Nor is it clear what the EC will decide during internal 
meetings of the European Parliament during the next ten days. The EC won't 
decide until the WTO meeting scheduled for  December during which it is 
expected to have a clarification of  " the social clauses".

Yet, according to a calender set by the Euopean Parliament, the EC has to 
take a decision before next January.
" This date, January 20, 1997, has been fixed, " she said. " when the 
European Council of Foreign Ministers has to take a decision or at least make 
a proposal. They have to decide on it. Now its not clear what the EC will 

"The Europeans are more reluctant than the US or they would have decided a 
while ago ", she said. "The amount of money falling under the GSP issue 
carries only some 50 million ECUs of trade which is not much. " So for now, 
it appears that inspite of the sanction initiative by Norway, Denmark and the 
Scandanavian countries, Ms Meyers said "Burma is more a symbol ". Meanwhile, 
Germany and France prefer to side-step Burma as they negotiate economic 
advantages with the seven-member ASEAN group.

Not to be dismissed, however, Norway's Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, 
during his trip this week in Bangkok, criticised Asean's policy of " 
constructive engagement " with the military government in Burma citing the 
lack of progress towards democracy and reconcilation.

Accordingly, a plenary session of the European Parliament to start October 21 
may deliver a resolution on Burma. Among the pro-sanctions MPs, she said, 
Britain's Mrs. Glenys E. Kinnock is taking a leading role, along with 
Britain's James Moorhouse assisted by French  Pierre Pradier and Francis 

Still, France and Germany remain strongly against  sanctions. " For France, 
Burma is clearly not a priority, " said Ms Meyers. According to her, as far 
as the French Mps in the European Parliament are concerned, they consider 
Burma "clearly Ango-Saxon ".

the following is an except from a recent press report re EU, WTO, and "social 
clauses "
(BNN, THE NATION- Than Poopat)

 .....Brundtland said she would also discuss with her Thai counterpart, Prime
Minister Banharn Slipa-archa, other international issues, including Norway's
objection to the attempt by some Western countries to link trade with labour
standards and human rights at the World Trade Organisation meeting in
Singapore in December.

Asean has already made known its intention to resist the attempt by the US
and EU raise "social clauses" at the upcoming WTO meeting.

Most developing countries suspect that the social clauses are an attempt to
block cheap imports from developing countries, where wages are much lower,
to protect industries in rich countries.

"WTO is not a major arena for environmental discussion. This is a trade
organization. We try to avoid pushing for too quick or too drastic changes
skipping the natural process that may need some more time," said Brundtland.

The Norwegian prime minister said Norway wants to contribute to finding
solutions, not confrontation, and that there will always be a basis for
dialogue and discussion on these questions outside the WTO framework.

"We don't want to have anything to do with protectionism. Our concern is in
advancement of the cause of human rights and looking forward to what is a
long-term positive development pattern," she said.

Brundtland said Norway was trying to promote and help develop an
internationally accepted norm within which members of the international
community can trade and work together smoothly - with due respect to
difference in cultures, and social and economic conditions. (TN)

re among the European Mps active on the Burma issue

Mrs. Glenys E KINNOCK, PSE, UK
Tel (44 01 495)  20 12 01/  (44 01495)  22 59 74 
farc (44 01 495  20 10 30 / (44 01495) 22 59 74

Tel (0171) 416 00 93/(0171) 416 00 94,
Fax (0171)416 00 95

Mevr. Hanja Johanna RH MAIJ-WEGGEN, PPE, Nederland (Holland)
Tel (040) 241 63 10
fax (040) 248 24 58

PRADIER PIERRE		ARE	European Parliament, 976113 rue Belliard, 
B-1047 Bruxelles
Tel 19 32 2 284 5992
Fax 19 32 2 284 9992

WURTZ FRANCIS		GUE	PCF, 2 place du Col Fabien, 75020 Paris
Tel  (1) 40 40 12 91 
Fax (1) 42 40 40 27

Metta, thank you, peace, happiness and long life. Virtually yours, 

Dawn Star  (Paris)  <cd@xxxxxxx>
Euro-Burmanet  (Paris, France) 

Burmanet / TOTAL Coordinator (France) 
Free Burma Coalition

815 Fifteenth Street NW
 Suite 910
Washington, DC 20005

Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB)
P.O Box 6720
ST.Olavs Plass
0130 Oslo, Norway
Tel: 47-22-200021, Tel/fax:47-22-362525

Norway NCGUB you must make e-mail address to 
level one (1)maung@xxxxxxxxxxx (the PM office e-mail)
level two (2)NCGUB Europe, U Nwe Aung  e-mail <101564.2652@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

US President  Bill Clinton < president@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

All members of the House can be reached via the Congressional Switchboard at 
(202) 224-3121. 
While some members have E-mail, electronic communication is not as effective 
as a
telephone call or fax.

President William Clinton
The White House
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(202) 456-1414

Warren Christopher
Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C. Street NW
Washington DC 20520
(202) 647-4000

National Security Advisor Anthony Lake
National Security Council
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20500
(202) 456-9481


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