Monitor: The US press comments on this week's meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Seattle


The Seattle Times

Fear of the unknown will fill Seattle streets with protesters suspicious of the murky intentions of the World Trade Organisation. If the WTO expects to be a credible forum for international commerce in the new century, members must overcome a fondness for secrecy that shrouds all proceedings, especially dispute resolution and appeals. The key word is transparency.

Everyone is happy except those on the outside looking in, trying to figure out how the mysterious WTO works. Seattle's meeting is a testament to the concern. Representatives will be here from 135 nations, and more than 30 official observer countries waiting to join. But registrations by outside interest groups are pushing 1,000, and they cover the globe, from the Australian Cane Growers Council to the Zimbabwe Women's Resource Center and Network.

Fourteen months of talks in Geneva failed to produce an agenda for this week's conference. As the WTO convenes without an agenda, here's a start: In the absence of business to conduct, change how business is conducted.

Open the dispute-settlement panels and appellate meetings to anyone who wants to attend. Friend-of-the-court filings are the bread and butter of American interest groups. Welcome their expertise. Put more WTO proceedings and paperwork on the public record. This organisation needs exposure, promotion and fewer myths.

The New York Times

The World Trade Organisation is the principal organisation dedicated to developing international trade rules, maintaining nations' access to one another's markets, resolving trade disputes and encouraging trade liberalisation.

I became co-chairman of the Seattle host organisation for this event because I believe that fair and open international trade is good, not only for companies that depend on exports; it is good for the global economy and for opening up lines of communication and progress throughout the world.

Perhaps more than any other city in America, Seattle illustrates the benefits of global commerce. More than $34bn in exports flow through our region's ports each year, making the Seattle-Tacoma region the nation's No 1 exporter. One of every three jobs in Washington State is directly tied to international trade - exports, imports or both - and the figure is much higher in the Seattle area itself. Our region is vivid proof that trade creates jobs and bolsters wages, stimulates economic growth, expands consumer choice and ultimately increases productivity and competitiveness.

(Bill Gates)

The San Francisco Chronicle

WHILE ACTIVISTS urge people to travel to Seattle to protest the World Trade Organisation, nine of 10 Americans probably can't explain what the organisation is. So they won't be paying attention to complaints that the WTO is about to become an unelected fourth branch of the US government, or that it is a Magna Carta for US multinational corporations to further decrease their dependence on American employees and loyalties. The trade body, which is only four years old, represents a huge intrusion on US politics and on national, state and local decision-making, largely in the interest of multinational corporations and trade lobbies.

This is not hyperbole: Legislators in Washington could be on the brink of understanding that they - and the voters - are losing control over the evolution of America's role in the global economy in the 21st century. (Kevin Phillips)

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?