Necesitamos una Cooperación Sur-Sur con Agenda propia

Durante la apertura de la XXII Reunión de Directores de Cooperación Internacional de América latina y el Caribe, el embajador argentino ante la ONU, Jorge Argüello, señaló que la cooperación Sur-Sur es un “instrumento político vital” para garantizar el crecimiento de los países en desarrollo. Como presidente G-77+China, Argüello expuso en la apertura del evento que se desarrolla en Ciudad de Panamá, sobre la temática “Integración, Cooperación y Convergencia en Salud en América Latina”. (Fuente: SELA – 30/09/2011)

“En un contexto de escasez de ayuda hacia los países en desarrollo, la cooperación Sur-Sur aparece como un medio para alcanzar los objetivos de desarrollo de cada uno de nuestros países”, dijo el funcionario y enfatizó que se necesita “una cooperación con agenda propia y sin imposiciones desde el Norte”. El embajador argentino indicó que “la cooperación Sur-Sur es el instrumento político que permitió introducir profundos cambios en los criterios rectores de la asistencia para el desarrollo y dar mayor relevancia a las capacidades nacionales y colectivas de los países en desarrollo para desplegar sus estrategias de crecimiento”. Argüello afirmó, entonces, que esta cooperación “es una expresión de solidaridad que, por su eficacia, ha verificado un rápido y dinámico crecimiento”. “Es un proceso importante y vital que sirve para enfrentar los desafíos de países en desarrollo. Se ha constituido en la contribución más importante al desarrollo en los últimos años”. El funcionario subrayó que “estamos comprobando que los distintos mecanismos regionales, subregionales e interregionales del Sur optimizan el potencial y promueven el desarrollo mediante la movilización y el intercambio de recursos y las experiencias existentes en nuestros países”.

También participaron del acto el Secretario Permanente del Sistema Económico Latinoamericano y del Caribe (SELA), José Rivera Banuet, y funcionarios de los Ministerios de Salud y Finanzas del gobierno panameño. Los objetivos del encuentro son brindar un panorama general sobre las políticas e iniciativas que adelantan los países de la región en el ámbito de la salud y el papel que están cumpliendo los mecanismos de integración regional y subregional en el fortalecimiento de dicha cooperación, sistematizar y difundir información sobre casos exitosos de cooperación en salud que se adelanten intra e inter regionalmente. Asimismo, identificar e intercambiar información sobre las oportunidades de triangulación para la cooperación Sur-Sur en salud que ofrecen las agencias bilaterales y multilaterales de desarrollo; promover el intercambio de oportunidades de cooperación en salud entre Estados Miembros del SELA; y analizar los avances que se realizan en las instancias de integración y cooperación regional y subregional en el ámbito de la Salud y la telemedicina.

Anuncios

Panamá se promueve en Japón como gran centro logístico

El viceministro de Comercio e Industria de Panamá, José Pacheco Tejeira, destacó la capacidad y potencial del país centroamericano como plataforma logística en la región, en el marco de un foro de inversión celebrado en Tokio. Tejeira, detalló, que con la finalización de la ampliación del Canal de Panamá, prevista para 2014, “el crecimiento en el tráfico de contenedores se triplicará” en la zona, lo que puede convertir al país en el principal foco logístico del continente. El ministro panameño confirmó que la reforma de la vía, que la española Sacyr Vallehermoso encabeza la construcción de las nuevas esclusas, va según lo previsto y subrayó que, pese a la situación económica global, “el tráfico marítimo en Panamá ha aumentado desde el inicio de la crisis mundial”. Tejeira intervino en “Panama Invest Tokyo 2011”, que “forma parte de un programa de encuentros en ciudades de todo el mundo pensados como plataforma para promocionar el país entre el empresariado”, detalló Michelle Sellhorn, directora de Forinvex, agencia panameña de promoción encargada de estos foros. En su ponencia, Tejeira resaltó el impulso que el Gobierno de Martinelli se ha propuesto dar a sectores como el turismo y la logística, lo que ha cristalizado en un crecimiento del PIB del 10,3% en el primer semestre de este año. “Además de la ampliación del canal, estamos cerrando un corredor logístico a nivel ferroviario, e integrando también la red de autopistas para unir estos polos de crecimiento a través de las zonas francas del país”. Durante la visita de Tejeira a Tokio esta semana, están previstos encuentros entre representantes de su cartera y de los ministerios de Comercio y también de Agricultura de Japón para potenciar la exportación de productos panameños como marisco, carne vacuna y porcina o café de calidad superior. “Cabe recordar que el Café Geisha, que se sirve en la Casa Imperial de Japón, es producido en Panamá”, subrayó Tejeira. “También estamos en negociaciones con dos bancos japoneses para que establezcan sedes en Panamá y con una aerolínea nipona interesada en establecer una ruta directa Tokio-Ciudad de Panamá. Ambos procesos están en una fase muy avanzada”. Según Tejeira, estos acuerdos buscan que Japón, cuya inversión directa en el país fue de 282,2 millones de dólares en 2009, “utilice Panamá como referencia logística en Centroamérica y el Caribe”. (Fuente: Agencia EFE – 30/09/2011)

Brasil é o nono parceiro comercial da União Europeia

O comércio entre Brasil e UE aumentou no primeiro semestre de 2011, tornando o país o nono parceiro comercial mais importante para os vinte e sete membros do bloco europeu, segundo dados divulgados em Bruxelas pouco antes da cúpula UE-Brasil. No primeiro semestre de 2011, os intercâmbios comerciais entre a UE e Brasil continuaram aumentando e “alcançaram um pico no primeiro semestre 2011”, informou nesta quinta-feira o escritório estatístico europeu Eurostat. As importações (do Brasil à UE) passaram de 14,9 bilhões de euros a 18,5 bilhões de euros (um aumento de 24,1%), e as exportações (da UE para o Brasil) passaram de 14,8 bilhões de euros em 2010 para 16,9 bilhões no primeiro semestre de 2011, indicou. Portanto, o déficit comercial da UE com o Brasil subiu para 1,6 bilhão de euros no primeiro semestre de 2011. No mesmo período do ano passado, o déficit foi de 100 milhões de euros, acrescentou. No primeiro semestre deste ano, “o Brasil representou 2% do comércio exterior total da UE (…) e se converteu em seu nono sócio comercial”. A Holanda liderou as importações europeias (24%), seguida por Alemanha (19%), Itália (11%), e Espanha e França (ambas com 9%). A Alemanha foi a nação que mais exportou para o Brasil (32%), seguida por Itália (14%), França (11%) e Espanha (8%). Durante o primeiro semestre de 2011 as matérias-primas representaram pouco mais de um terço das importações “e os produtos alimentícios, pouco menos de um terço”, acrescentou o informe. Entre os principais produtos importados, o relatório indica o ferro, o café, a soja, a pasta para papel e o petróleo cru. Quanto às exportações, 90% foram de artigos manufaturados, como automóveis, medicamentos e aviões, acrescentou. O Brasil é o grande convidado em Bruxelas para a cúpula União Europeia-Brasil, que será realizada na segunda e na terça-feira da próxima semana e contará com a participação da presidente Dilma Rousseff. (Fonte: AFP – 30/09/2011)

Australia’s China Dance

Australians recently remembered the September 11, 2001 attacks on NYC and Washington with solemnity, respect, and reflection. Responding as they did to this day of infamy undoubtedly further strengthened and reaffirmed the US-Australia alliance. Yet this year marks not only a decade since 9/11, but also the 60th anniversary of the alliance since the ANZUS Treaty (Australia, New Zealand, and United States) was signed in 1951. Following the 9/11 services, it was announced that US President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Australia from November 16 to 17, in part to commemorate the ANZUS milestone. Will Obama find a changed Australia? This is the ‘new view’ emerging in Australian strategic circles. China is Australia’s largest trading partner, and in response this view argues that Australia must ‘choose’ a strategic future informed by the supposed power shift from Washington to Beijing. Yet the alliance with the US is unlikely to fracture, even with a more influential and powerful China. Supporters of the ‘new view’ misunderstand Australian identity and engagement with the region post-1945 (…..) The new view on China fails to understand the profound impact multiculturalism has had on Australian society and identity. Contemporary Australia is by definition ethnically diverse. Filial ties extend across Asia to Europe, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, South Africa, the Middle East, and Africa. As in the United States and New Zealand, these ethnic groups have political lobbyists, constituencies, concerns, and political influence. This multiculturalism also reaffirms and strengthens support for New Zealand and the United States. Importantly, Australia remains a constitutional monarchy, with enduring affection for the British Queen and her successors. Despite several attempts, political elites have failed to sever symbolic ties with the Crown, the most recent being in 1999 (…..)

Link: http://the-diplomat.com/2011/09/28/australia%e2%80%99s-china-dance/

The alternative white paper: in defence of public higher education

David Willetts, Minister for Universities, holds to the credo that a market in higher education in England will improve student experience and put undergraduates at the heart of the system. All features of privatisation flow from this faith: student as consumer; increased competition in recruitment; private fee income and individual debt replacing state funding; and a new regulatory framework that creates a ‘level playing field for private and for-profit providers. Allowing such new, ‘alternative’ entrants into the sector forces universities to ‘raise their game’. According to Willetts, ‘It is the rising tide that lifts all the boats.’ (source: Andrew McGettigan – OurKingdom – 30/09/2011) 

“In Defence of Public Higher Education” sets out the case against Willett’s vision as articulated in the government’s recent comprehensive spending review and white paper. It rejects the idea that higher education is only to be understood as a private benefit whether as training for employability or human capital investment (where the future return should be higher earnings). It champions universities in terms of public, democratic values and argues for their place at the heart of a wider social mission. It warns of degree shops, higher debt for individuals and institutions, and ‘a differently funded sector’ whose internationally recognised achievements are put at risk so as to provide “new outlets for capital that struggles to find suitable opportunities for investment elsewhere”.

“In Defence of Public Higher Education” follows on from the earlier response: “Putting Vision Back into Higher Education”, and sets out nine propositions which are then developed over the course of the document. A separate appendix disputes the savings claimed by the government through its reforms. The propositions are: 1) higher education serves public benefits as well as private ones. These require financial support if these benefits are to continue to be provided; 2) public universities are necessary to build and maintain confidence in public debate; 3) public universities have a social mission, contributing to the amelioration of social inequality, which is the corollary of the promotion of social mobility; 4) public higher education is part of a generational contract in which an older generation invests in the wellbeing of future generations that will support them in turn; 5) public institutions providing similar programmes of study should be funded at a similar level; 6) education cannot be treated as a simple consumer good; consumer sovereignty is an inappropriate means of placing students at the heart of the system; 7) training in skills is not the same as a university education. While the first is valuable in its own terms, a university education provides more than technical training. This should be clearly recognised in the title of a university; 8) the university is a community made up of diverse disciplines as well as different activities of teaching, research and external collaboration. These activities are maintained by academics, managers, administrators and a range of support staff, all of whom contribute to what is distinctive about the university as a community; 9) universities are not only global institutions. They also serve their local and regional communities and their different traditions and contexts are important. Hundreds of academics have already signed the document. An updated list of individual signatories is here.

Link: http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/andrew-mcgettigan/alternative-white-paper-in-defence-of-public-higher-education

In Senate vote, a win for the middle class and a rebuke to China

The news, that our trade with China has been bad for the American middle class, has finally reached the U.S. Senate. On Monday, the Senate will take up legislation that would impose tariffs on Chinese goods so long as China depresses the value of its currency. Despite the partisan polarization that grinds lawmaking to a halt these days, the bill’s support is thoroughly bipartisan, with sponsors ranging from such conservative Republicans as South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham to liberal Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown. The legislation is expected to clear the Senate’s 60-vote hurdle for a floor vote and move on to the House. (source: Harold Meyerson – The Washington Post – 30/09/2011)

For students of America’s deranged romance with free trade, the fact that the Senate is willing to take on China is little short of amazing. Since the 1980s, the House has been the legislative body where epic battles have been waged over the free-trade agreements that have decimated American manufacturing. The impact of factory closures on congressional districts is generally too big for representatives to ignore. Local manufacturers and bankers, no less than local union members, complain to their House members; when the town’s biggest employer leaves, grief knows no party. Senators, on the other hand, move in a larger world, one where Wall Street contributors and Washington pundits assure them that free trade is invariably good. So while the House has been home to furious fights over NAFTA, CAFTA and extending permanent normalized trade relations to China, the Senate has long passed such measures with much less fuss and sublime indifference to the consequences. But can no longer be denied.

Between 2001 and 2010, the U.S. trade deficit with China cost Americans 2.8 million jobs, according to a report by economist Robert Scott, issued last week by the liberal Economic Policy Institute. Most of those jobs — 1.9 million — were in manufacturing, and of those, almost half were in computers and electronics. This wasn’t simply the consequence of China’s cheaper labor or more generous corporate subsidies. As China’s productivity soared during the past decade, the value of its currency should have risen correspondingly. Instead, China purchased dollars, which had the effect of depressing the yuan and making Chinese exports about 28 percent cheaper than they would be if the yuan had been allowed to appreciate, William Cline and John Williamson found in a study for the centrist Peterson Institute for International Economics. Data like these have been floating around for years, of course. Until now, however, the Senate has remained largely impervious to the evidence of Chinese cheating and American decay. But elite opinion, which the Senate does heed, is finally catching up with mass opinion on whether losing our manufacturing base is a bad thing. An influential July 2009 article in the Harvard Business Review by economists Gary Pisano and Willy Shih argued that losing manufacturing meant losing our edge in innovation, that the relationship between research and production was reciprocal. This would not have come as news to Thomas Edison, but few on Wall Street or in corporate boardrooms the past two decades believed that America’s prosperity and dynamism required the retention and renewal of manufacturing. Even now, it’s hard to find many there who believe that.

Finance has fattened on manufacturing’s decline, as consumer debt replaced producer wages as the fuel that makes America run (and crash). And finance still has friends in Washington. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents many American corporations that make their products in China, opposes the Senate legislation. Ironically, now that the Senate is on the verge of passing the bill, Politico reports that House Republican leaders have no intention of bringing the bill to a vote. House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor don’t want to jeopardize their assiduously cultivated Wall Street funding — even though polls show rank-and-file Republicans want a more assertive economic posture toward China. That’s doubtless one reason why Mitt Romney has vowed to impose tariffs on China the day he becomes president. Our current president, meanwhile, has maintained a discreet silence on the Senate bill. Barack Obama has said that he wants the United States to double its exports over the next five years, but expanding American manufacturing on that scale can’t be done if China continues to eat our lunch. No issue divides Wall Street from Main Street more than trade, and winning Main Street’s support in next year’s election will require Obama to stand up more than he has for America’s industrial interests. Hell, even the Senate has figured that one out.