Global Trade

As you read this article, there is a good chance that you or someone close to you is wearing clothing imported from Latin America. A quick check of the label may reveal that it is a shirt from the Gap made in Honduras, a pair of Lee Ryder jeans made in Brazil, Bali underpants made in Guatemala, a Levi's golf shirt made in the Dominican Republic, or a Haggar sports jacket made in Colombia.
Children as young as ten in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dig for cobalt and copper which they then sell to Switzerland-based Glencore, the world's largest commodities company, according to a new BBC investigation.
Behind the five intertwined rings of the Athens games, underpaid workers are sewing the shirts, gluing the shoes, and putting zippers to running suits and track apparel branded as Olympic--in working conditions that would make even the most highly trained athlete sweat.
To outward appearances, Africa's big moment at the Denver Summit of the Eight in June was President Clinton's trade and investment initiative, offering expanded trade concessions to African countries to support further market oriented economic reforms.
JOHANNESBURG -- International conventions have not stopped multi-national corporations from trying to secure valuable contracts by bribing government officials in the world's emerging economies -- especially in the arms and defense, and public works and construction industries.
The U.N.'s Global Compact with international big business "at the moment is so voluntary that it really is a happy-go-lucky club," says Ramesh Singh, chief executive of ActionAid, a non-governmental organisation. The controversy has come to a boiling point because of the Global Compact Leaders' Summit being held in Geneva on Thursday and Friday, at which over 1,000 representatives of multinational companies are taking part, in addition to well-known civil society figures like Irene Khan, the secretary general of AI; Mary Robinson, president of the Ethical Globalisation Initiative; Guy Ryder, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation; and Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International.
There was more than a little of the surreal to President Bush's speech yesterday. The speech, billed as a major policy address on Bush's get-tough-on-corporate-crime agenda, came amidst days of news revelations of President's own questionable behavior as an executive of Harken Energy.
According to insiders and to documents obtained from the State Department, the neocons, once in command, are now in full retreat. Iraq's system of oil production, after a year of failed free-market experimentation, is being re-created almost entirely on the lines originally laid out by Saddam Hussein.
Burger King will stop using palm oil from a leading Indonesian supplier due to concerns about environmental damage.