Commission condemns free trade deal for war on Iraq
Melbourne's Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace yesterday expressed alarm at the news that the US administration was aiming at rewarding Australia for its participation in a US led war on Iraq by negotiating an Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
US Trade Representative Bob Zoellick (pictured), attending the WTO ministers meeting in Sydney this week, made the connection explicit between Australia's support for war on Iraq and the Administrations support for a US-Australia FTA.
"Australia has fought with the United States in every war in the 20th century," he said. "They've been strong supporters of ours, and to me that matters."
The Melbourne Commission's Executive Officer Marc Purcell commented: "The US Trade representative recent actions in squashing the US farm lobby opposition to a Free Trade Agreement with Australia, reinforces what experts have been saying, that a free trade deal is part of the reason why John Howard, alone of world leaders has joined the US and the UK in war talk."
Mr Purcell said that committing Australian troops to a war on Iraq when a Free Trade Deal is a major motivation "blurs judgment and is morally questionable".
"As many as 260,000 Iraqi civilians would die in the first three months of a invasion of Iraq according to the Medical Association for the Prevention of War," he pointed out. "To have trade deals at the as part Australia's motivations for participating in such mass slaughter of innocents is absolutely, morally wrong,"
Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace
US, Australia likely to talk on free-trade (The Age)
Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace (Melbourne)
CATHOLICS SAY "NO" TO THE WTO
The Australian Catholic Movement for Intellectual & Cultural Affairs (ACMICA) has joined a coalition opposing what it calls the "fundamentalist agenda of the World Trade Organisation".
The ministerial meeting is taking place in Sydney today and tomorrow./
"Possibly one of the most despised international organisations, the WTO pushes an economic fundamentalist agenda of rigid trade rules and principles aimed at reducing governments' right to regulate trade and investment in the public interest." ACMICA organiser Minh Nguyen said.
"The effect is to permanently disengage the economy from society to make it a thing in itself, to be worshipped and made sacrifices to.
"The WTO promotes the evangelisation of an irrational and de-legitimate economic system that privileges accumulation over human needs; and favours the strong over the weak.
Catholic groups preparing to challenge WTO (31/10/02)
World Trade Organisation
Say No to WTO
14 Nov 2002