Recent articles concerning a headquarters site for the new World Trade Organization (WTO) raise some interesting points.
The WTO will, for the first time, give the world an actual organization to work on trade problems. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was an interim committee arrangement to monitor trade agreements after the Bretton Woods proposal for an International Trade Organization failed.While it may be wise to leave the organization in Geneva, we should make much of the fact that a new organization at the World Bank-International Monetary Fund level is coming into being. It should not be a case of lowering the GATT flag one evening and raising the WTO flag the next morning.
Thought should be given to its site. Thought should be given as well to how it should be organized and function, beyond its bare-bones charter. Rarely is there an opportunity to launch a really new organization; all past practices should be questioned.
Probably the most important decision, though, is who should be the first WTO chief. The European Union seems ready to endorse the distinguished former trade minister of Italy, Renato Ruggiero; other trade officials have been mentioned. However, there is one person, if willing, who really fits the need and would give the WTO the appropriate initial impetus.
Name a leader of a developing country that has opened its markets to the world, has recently entered into the most open trade agreement in history, is on the road to economic progress, has the respect of the world, is a professional economist and, as luck would have it, will be out of a job this year, according to his country's constitution.
His name is President Carlos Salinas of Mexico. Why settle for a "business as usual" appointment?
The Freeman Co.
Chevy Chase, Md.
UNION HAS NOT
PICKED STRIKE TARGETS
In reading your June 8 article, "District 1-MEBA Holds Strike Vote as Deadline Nears" (Page 8B), one could easily make the incorrect and inaccurate inference that our union has selected or designated certain "potential strike targets" from the seven District 1-contracted companies listed.
In fact, that statement could not be further from the truth. The truth is that as our negotiations continue, substantial progress has been made with all companies listed in your article and either contract extensions or new contracts are anticipated with each of these companies prior to the termination of existing contracts.
In my view, to imply that any company is a "potential strike target" just
because an agreement has not been finalized within the framework of continuing negotiations is not fair.
In any event, I wish to point out that the listing of Matson Lines, Farrell Lines, Waterman Steamship Co., Central Gulf Lines, Keystone Shipping Co., Marine Transport Lines, Ltd. and MorMac Marine Group Inc. as potential strike targets is pure speculation on your part and is not in any way the position of District No. 1 - MEBA.
Joel E. Bem
District No. 1 - MEBA
AND THE GATT
Your customary penchant for accuracy took a lunch break in the article
discussing Consumers Union's endorsement of the GATT agreement ("Endorsement of GATT May Hurt Relationship of Two Consumer Groups," May 12, Page 3A).
The article says Consumers Union endorsed GATT over my objection; in fact, though I oppose GATT, I could not attend the meeting at which the board discussed GATT.
The same sentence implies that a vote of CU's board of directors was required, but was not taken, before CU could endorse GATT. Not true. The president and staff of Consumers Union acted with both the full cognizance of and authority conferred by the board.
Finally, that same unfortunate sentence asserted that CU's board has 20 members; it actually has 18.
Michael F. Jacobson
Center for Science
in the Public Interest