Developing States Block Investment Talks (WTO)

More than 70 developing countries yesterday announced their refusal to go ahead with WTO negotiations on investment and other new issues, potentially creating a serious obstacle to agreement at this week’s ministerial meeting in Cancun, the Financial Times reports.

Rafidah Aziz, Malaysia’s veteran trade minister, said on behalf of the group said the group was not prepared to trade negotiations on the new issues for gains on agriculture. The EU said yesterday it would not back down. A spokeswoman for Pascal Lamy, trade commissioner, said the EU would continue to insist that negotiations on the four Singapore issues be launched in Cancun. „We think we have a good case,“ she added.

The news comes as AP notes that WTO members struggle for agreement on how to open markets to international trade, one of the biggest fights likely will be whether to even start more negotiations. The European Union and Japan are urging trade ministers to consider adding four new issues to the current round of treaty talks, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of next year. The four topics are known jointly as the „Singapore issues.“

The Economist writes that the EU wants rules on investment, competition policy, government purchases and customs clearance. Some of these rules make sense on their own terms but they would be costly for poor countries to implement and monitor. Worse, if poor countries signed up to the rules, then failed to meet them, they would be vulnerable to trade sanctions.

The Globe and Mail (Canada) meanwhile notes that the US and Europe, the giants of WTO talks that are used to steering negotiations to suit their interests, may have finally met their match in Cancun. A new G21 bloc of developing countries led by Brazil — and backed by China, a growing economic
powerhouse that recently joined the WTO — has emerged as an immovable object to the usually unstoppable force of will that is Washington and Brussels.

The Guardian (UK) notes that the EU, meanwhile, warned [some countries] in Africa and in the Caribbean that their joining the so-called Group of 21 could well endanger their privileged access to Europe’s single market. Washington told Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala that if they left the G21 they would get a „sweetheart deal“ giving them increased access to America’s $10 trillion economy.

Business Day (South Africa) reports South Africa’s lead negotiator at the WTO talks in Cancun, Xavier Carim, said yesterday that the Group of 20 was experiencing a groundswell of support which could be the factor that could spur much needed movement in the current world trade talks, which had reached a stalemate. Carim was commenting on a report yesterday that the South Africans were contemplating withdrawing from the group. Carim said that, as a founding member of the group, South Africa was „absolutely committed“ to the cause. „We feel there is a possibility that this group could generate the movement that is needed in negotiations,“ said Carim.

Meanwhile, US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick told US industry representatives that a stalemate over how to proceed with agricultural negotiations could continue into tomorrow and delay progress in other crucial areas such as lowering industrial tariffs, the Wall Street Journal reports. Mr. Zoellick so far has had little luck wooing key developing countries to support his push for wider market liberalization. The US has promised to slash its huge farm subsidies and eventually to eliminate its tariffs on all goods — but only if other countries show a willingness to lower their trade barriers, too.

Il Sole 24Ore (Italy) reports that the Italian Presidency of the EU warned that if developing countries were to ask the EU to make additional cuts to agricultural subsidies, Italy would threaten to re-discuss the Common Agricultural Policy, declared Gianni Alemanno, the Italian Agriculture Minister. Should an agreement not be reached in Cancun, „everything could happen, including a CAP review asking for less sacrifices to European farmers, “ he said. The Italian idea however does not seem to speak for other EU ministers and EU negotiators. EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy and EU agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler said that „the Union has no intention at all to modify the CAP reform“.

Kyodo reports that ministers from member states of the WTO failed to bridge gaps in global agricultural trade liberalization talks Thursday as the coordinator of a farm working group planned to draw up a draft paper to deepen discussions. Singaporean Trade and Industry Minister George Yeo Bon, a facilitator for discussions by the working group, will distribute a document on agricultural measures Friday, Japanese officials said. A final version of the text will be included in a WTO ministerial statement to be issued at the conclusion of the ongoing WTO meeting in Cancun on Sunday. A Japanese official said the text cannot be an alternative to an earlier released draft and is aimed at promoting discussion, the officials said.

In a separate piece, Kyodo notes that Japan proposed an alternative Thursday to a liberalization plan on nonagricultural products drafted by the WTO, Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma said. The alternative proposal calls for „a limited flexibility“ to allow member economies to exempt certain sensitive non-farm products from tariff cuts. The proposal is apparently aimed to protect domestic industries such as leather and fishery products from imports.

The Bangkok Post reports that sugar exporters want negotiating parties at the WTO talks to speed up efforts to reform farm trade including sugar. The Global Alliance for Sugar Trade Reform and Liberalization issued a statement yesterday after meeting in Cancun last weekend, ahead of the fifth WTO ministerial meeting that opened yesterday and runs until Sunday.

The news comes as the FT reports that the EU is chipping away at some of the last unreformed bastions of its common agricultural policy in a move that will also target the EU’s heavily-protected sugar sector. The European Commission is preparing reform proposals for [Tobacco, cotton, olive oil and sugar], though none will be as keenly followed as its plans for the sugar regime. According to draft papers seen by the FT, the Commission is likely to focus on three different policy options ranging from full liberalization to retaining the status quo. However, the most plausible advocates a cut in the guaranteed sugar price and an eventual phasing out of production quotas.

Meanwhile, notes that world cotton trade shows severe policy distortions, but, unlike sugar, the distortions come through producer support rather than from border measures such as tariffs and quotas, according to World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects 2004 report.

In other news, Xinhua reports that the WTO announced on Thursday that 301 disputes have been initiated under the dispute settlement system of the WTO since its creation in 1995. This compares to the roughly 300 disputes brought to its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), during its entire existence of almost 50 years, show the WTO figures.

The New York Times reports that the director general of the WTO said Thursday that he would intervene to address the grievances of four poor African nations whose cotton farmers have been hurt by rich nations‘ farm subsidies.

The Economic Times notes that Lee Jong-Wook, the director-general of the WHO today Thursday that the world body would be willing to offer a helping hand to those who find the conditions attached to the recent WTO deal on access to cheap drugs cumbersome.

The Far Eastern Economic Review notes that a recent World Bank study projected that a new trade agreement would have a giant impact on the global economy. It estimated that an accord promoting free trade would produce annual income growth of between $290 billion and $520 billion and lift 144 million people out of poverty by 2015. In East Asia alone, free-trade policies on agriculture, services, logistics and trade facilitation would create annual benefits of $300 billion, or 10 percent of GDP, within a decade.

Meanwhile, World Bank President James Wolfensohn writes in an op-ed in Le Monde (France) that on average, those living on $2 a day or less — more than 2.7 billion people — face double the trade barriers confronting the wealthy. Yet many rich countries continue jealously to guard trade-distorting policies. Rich countries‘ total farm subsidies, for example, are greater than Africa’s gross domestic product. In the absence of meaningful steps by rich countries, developing countries have been reluctant to liberalize their markets further. Having already made great strides in opening their markets, they want first to see reciprocal action by developed nations. The fate of the Doha agenda does not rest solely in the hands of rich countries. All must play a part.

The Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial that we’ll all be better off if the folks at Cancun keep in mind that the point of trade talks is to get out of the subsidy and import restriction business altogether. The scandal of European and US protectionism is how it assists the politically well-connected rich. The scandal of protectionism in developing countries such as Mexico is how it ensures that those without connections will always remain poor.

Solana: What are the threats facing the 21st century?

„What are the threats facing the 21st century and how can we tackle their underlying causes? How can we ensure that the collective security system … remains relevant? How can we strengthen European approaches to early warning systems and crisis prevention and management?“ These were among the many questions addressed on Wednesday by the EU High Representative for the common foreign and security policy, Javier SOLANA, when he addressed a joint meeting of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee and members of its counterpart committees in national parliaments.

Mr Solana, who has been asked by the European Council to guide a process of reflection on EU security strategy, first of all ran through the new combinations of threats „where risks have become real“. Firstly, there was „mass terrorism capitalising on the persistence of regional conflicts“. Secondly, there was a risk of criminal organisations acquiring weapons of mass destruction with the connivance of rogue states or failed states. Thirdly, he warned of the danger of collusion between religious fundamentalism, international mafia-style organisations and cyber-terrorism.

„But let us focus on three strategic objectives“, said Mr Solana. „We must extend the security zone around Europe and the Balkans to the Caucasus and the Mediterranean periphery if we are to have stable relations with our neighbours“, he explained. „Then we must improve the effectiveness of the United Nations system and of multilateralism. Lastly, we must anticipate and forestall the actual emergence of these threats“, he went on. In addition, Mr Solana recalled that the EU was the only regional organisation with such a wide range of instruments. There was a need for efforts to be combined when using political, diplomatic, economic and financial instruments as well as police and military capabilities, in close cooperation with the United States.

Following Mr Solana’s presentation, MEPs took the floor and asked a number of questions about the EU budget, transatlantic relations and the work of the Convention. Armand DE DECKER, Speaker of the Belgian Senate, highlighted the need to increase budgetary funding. „But resistance is still strong in European countries“, he complained, adding „the biggest obstacle is Europeans themselves“. Philippe MORILLON (EPP-ED, F) stressed the importance of funding for high technology research, a point endorsed by Mr Solana. However, Ulla ANTTILA of the Finnish Parliament noted that „according to opinion polls in Finland, public opinion does not want an increase in defence spending“. Mr Solana said in reply „In times of crisis, the public wants us to act. But we cannot meet these demands without providing ourselves with the resources“.

Catherine LALUMIERE (PES, F) queried the practicalities of transatlantic cooperation, while underlining nevertheless her commitment to „a certain autonomy for Europe“. According to Mr Solana, „we must display pragmatism in this area and see if we share the same perception of risk“.

Another matter raised in the debate was the possible inclusion of a collective defence clause in the future Constitution. Longin PASTUSIAK of the Polish Parliament felt it was unfortunate that „at present, this clause does not make reference to the EU’s relationship with the NATO security system“. In reply, Mr Solana said that the consensus achieved at the Convention amounted to calling above all on the EU to mobilise in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster – „but I do not think that the Member States will go further„, he said in conclusion.

Source: European Parlament

World Bank Announces Trade Assistance Initiative

The World Bank announced a new multi-million dollar initiative in Cancun to loan funds to poor countries implementing trade accords and to support investment in roads, ports and customs facilities to speed the flow of imports and exports, Agence France Presse reports.

„The program is designed to support progress on the Doha
Development Agenda and will increase assistance to countries that
take on development-promoting trade reforms,“ World Bank
Managing Director Shengman Zhang said. Bank officials said the
initiative was drafted in the realization that poor countries can
be disrupted when far-reaching trade reforms are put into effect
and will need additional funds to make new investments to improve

Developing countries might lose preferential access for their
exports to industrialized markets while reduced subsidies in rich
countries could raise prices for nations that are net food
importers. „For most countries this will mean new
investments to improve competitiveness and expand exports,“
the Bank said in a statement.

A second component of the initiative could increase lending by
as much as $800 million annually to help developing countries
improve trade-related infrastructure such as ports, roads and
customs facilities. Uri Dadush, head of the Bank’s
international traded department, said the project was designed to
transport costs. „Whether these are costs in getting goods
to ports, getting them through customs, or getting them through
the harbor, reducing these overheads by 10 percent has the same
effect as reducing a tariff by 10 percent,“ he said.

Xinhua adds that the World Bank also urged all countries to
recognize the importance of assuming responsibilities under the
development agenda, and stressed that rich countries should take
appropriate action, such as reducing agriculture tariffs and
trade-distorting subsidies, to make the world trading system more
supportive for poor people’s effort to escape poverty.

„The outcome of the meeting, and those that follow in
pursuit of the Doha Development Agenda, will determine whether
the international community, working together, can take
collective actions that will stimulate global growth and lift as
many as an additional 140 million people above the two-US dollar
daily poverty line,“ Zhang said. According to the World
Bank, the additional loan program will support projects for
protecting workers and vulnerable groups, assist countries to
implement development-related trade reforms, and finance
infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, the IHT reports that a group of 21 countries,
including Brazil, India, Thailand, Mexico, Argentina, the
Philippines, Chile, Pakistan and South Africa, demanded that
their proposal for deep, specific changes in agriculture be
debated at the five-day World Trade Organization talks this week
and not be shunted aside through a parliamentary procedure.
Flexing their collective muscle for the first time in a setting
normally dominated by the United States and Europe, the group
said it would not be silenced. At least 8,000 protesters, many of
them Mexican farmers, but including delegations from Italy and
Africa, marched toward the convention center Wednesday, saying
they were encouraged by the proposal from the developing

The Indian Express notes that what is being seen as heartening
for India is the fact that as G-20 became G-21, the group also
got support from the Cairns group of 18 countries. The two groups
have zeroed in on common points to push for joining forces for
faster reforms by the US and the EU. The Cairns groups and the
Group of 20 want the Cancun meeting to set a firm date for
eliminating all forms of export subsidy and big reductions in
trade-distorting domestic support. However, they differ over how
far poorer countries should have to open their markets.

AFX notes that the EU said an agricultural proposal put
forward by 21 developing countries at key WTO talks here is
unbalanced, leaving wealthier countries to shoulder the greater

The US sees the demands of the Group of 21 as an emerging
threat to the success of the Cancun talks. In remarks to
delegates, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick repeated his
insistence that the talks had to be a „two-way street“
and that the U.S. could not further open its own market without
other countries dropping their tariffs, the Wall Street Journal

Dow Jones reports that the US and other major industrialized
countries can be convinced to reduce farm subsidies and open
markets to developing countries through talks at the WTO, but the
process will be gradual, Brazilian Vice-president Jose Alencar
said Wednesday. „The US government, for example, is under
strong pressure from farm lobbies and we understand that,“
Alencar said. „It’s not going to happen overnight, but
we think they’ll come around eventually as soon as they see
it is in their interest.“ Alencar Wednesday said that
investment opportunities in developing economies would far make
up for losses incurred by opening markets in fully developed
industrial economies.

Meanwhile, the Guardian (UK) reports that the European
commission was last night secretly preparing to sabotage plans to
help poor countries trade their way out of poverty, as backstairs
wrangling dominated the opening day of the WTO’s talks in
Cancun. A confidential paper not shown even to member
governments, including the UK, revealed that the commission was
planning to water down the already modest concessions on offer to
the world’s poorest countries in the talks. In an attempt to
safeguard the interests of its six million farmers, the
commission is seeking to remove all mention of eliminating export
subsidies from the WTO meeting’s final declaration. The move
has enraged developing countries, who won a pledge from the west
two years ago that phasing out payments which allow subsidized
western produce to be dumped on world markets would form a
centerpiece of the so-called Doha development round.

Xinhua reports that WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi
signed an agreement with the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO) on Wednesday, in an effort to
help developing countries participate in international trade. The
agreement, in the form of a memorandum of understanding, will
provide a framework for the two organizations to work more
closely. UNIDO’s Director-General Carlos Magarinos said,
„Until Doha, trade related technical assistance was almost
synonymous with WTO-related technical assistance. „Now it is
increasingly understood that to be effective, trade-related
technical assistance has to attend to the whole „product to
market“ chain,“ he added.

In another piece, Xinhua notes that United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that the
liberalization of trade is not the cure-all for the developing
countries because, in fact, it causes considerable adjustments
and social expenditure. Developing nations need help to establish
institutions and infrastructure, acquire technology and knowledge
and create legal regimes that allow them to move on this path,
according to the text read at the opening of the five-day event
in Cancun. Annan said that the less-advanced countries tend to
need a truly special and differentiated treatment, and not only
more time to fulfill new rules.

AFP notes that African cotton growing countries on Wednesday
demanded at a key WTO meeting here an end to subsidies paid by
wealthier countries to their own farmers, as well as compensation
for losses resulting from those subsidies. West and Central
African countries lose an estimated 250 million dollars a year in
export revenue, they said, adding that the figure increases to a
billion dollars if one takes into account losses suffered by
people whose income is indirectly linked to cotton production and

AP adds that EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said he had
„sympathy“ for the problem of African cotton farmers,
but stressed that the bloc produces less than 3 percent of world
cotton and is the world’s largest importer of cotton. The US
stresses that subsidies are not the only problem. The cotton
trade is also affected by import tariffs that are sometimes as
high as 100 percent, lengthy customs procedures, complicated
labeling requirements and policies that promote the development
of manmade fibers.

Meanwhile, Lamy writes in an op-ed in The Guardian (UK) that
the [WTO] rules are far from perfect. But I do not agree that
they are intrinsically unfair to poor countries, he writes. The
Uruguay round was not a bum deal for the developing world: since
its conclusion, EU imports from developing countries have
doubled, for instance. In agriculture they have grown by 5
percent annually, and we are already the world’s largest
importer of agricultural products from developing countries. In
textiles EU imports from developing countries have soared by 60
percent since 1995. But more needs to be done. This is the big
prize of the Doha agenda: the World Bank estimates that an
additional 300 million people could be lifted out of poverty by
2015 if the WTO secures a comprehensive deal. The EU is ready to
accept that challenge, whether in market access or rules. Lamy
further writes a true development round will require both
developed and developing countries to open up.

World Bank President James Wolfensohn writes in anotehr op-ed
in the Manila Times that reducing trade barriers alone will not
fulfill the development promise of Doha. Trade must be part of a
larger strategy for each country that includes attention to
macroeconomic policy, infrastructure, education, health and
governance. One small example is reforming customs procedures.
Reducing port and customs transit times by one day has nearly the
same value as reducing tariffs by one percent. The World Bank is
committed to helping developing countries take advantage of any
new market access that emerges from the multilateral
negotiations, Wolfensohn writes. We are adapting existing tools
and designing new programs that will provide resources for
countries reforming their trade regimes, improving their
trade-related institutions, and investing in the infrastructure
needed to get the products of the poor and others to markets.
This op-ed also appeared in the Der Tages-Anzeiger (Switzerland),
Irish Times (Ireland), BusinessWorld (Philippines) and the
Philippine Star.

In another op-ed in The Guardian, Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia
University’s Novel prize laureate, writes that the African
farmer may not have a college education, but he may well know as
much about the meeting that is happening in Cancun as the average
American or European-because his life is far more dependent on
the outcomes. While something should be done about existing
problems such as the proliferation of non-tariff barriers,
America is also making new demands on developing countries-that
they open up to destabilizing speculative capital flows. Just as
the IMF has recognized that such flows do not promote growth, but
actually result in greater instability, and have accordingly
scaled back pressure on developing countries for capital market
liberalization, America is trying a new forum, the WTO, to push
this agenda, which may be good for Wall Street but is bad for
developing countries.

John Vidal of The Guardian writes in a commentary that the
reform of Trips will be at the heart of the Cancun talks.
African, Asian and Latin American countries propose that all
patenting of life forms should be banned worldwide, but because
this would mean a complete reversal of the present Trips rules it
will be unacceptable to the US and a non-starter. The best that
developing countries can hope for is reform of the rules so
anyone wanting to patent a life form would have to disclose where
the genetic material was gathered, or where they came by the
knowledge to use the plant.

The Bangkok Post writes in an editorial that Thailand, as one
of the world’s largest agricultural producers, has a very
real interest in seeing farm liberalization move forward. Thai
farmers produce much more each year than is needed locally, with
the surplus going to export markets. Without exports, the net
effect would be a virtual collapse of market prices as excess
rice, sugar, fisheries and other farm commodities go to waste,
unused and unwanted. There will always be winners and losers
involved in any liberalization policy. But in this case, it
remains in the country’s best interest to hope that the goals
of Cancun and Doha are ultimately met.

ILO study highlights labour trends worldwide

US productivity accelerated in 2002, surpassing Europe and Japan in terms of annual output per worker for the first substantial period since WWII and widening the productivity gap with the rest of the world, according to a new study by the International Labour Office (ILO) published on US Labor Day.

In Key Indicators of the Labour Market (KILM)
(see note 1), the ILO noted that part of the difference in output per worker was due to the fact that Americans worked longer hours than their European counterparts. US workers put in an average of 1,815 hours in 2002 compared to major European economies, where hours worked ranged
from around 1,300 to 1,800. In Japan, hours worked dropped to about the same level as in the US, the ILO said.

In other key findings, the KILM shows that:

  • Growth in productivity per person employed in the world as a whole accelerated, from 1.5 per cent during the first half of the 1990s, to 1.9 per cent in the second half. Most of this growth was concentrated in industrialized economies (the US and some EU countries), plus some in Asia (China, India, Pakistan and Thailand). In Africa and Latin American economies, available data showed declines in total economy productivity growth since 1980.
  • European and other industrialized countries – while
    achieving slightly lower productivity growth rates on average than the US – had improved their „employment-to-population ratios“ which measures the proportion of people in the population who are working (see note 2). While unemployment rates in the EU as a whole remained above those in the US, many European countries were able to maintain or improve their ability to create jobs, while achieving moderate growth in productivity. The EU increased the employment-to-population ratio from 56.1
    to 56.7 per cent between 1999 and 2002 while reducing unemployment, the KILM says.
  • Although the employment-to-population ratio in the US declined by 1.6 – from 64.3 to 62.7 per cent in the same period, overall it remained consistently higher than the EU. Over the longer term, the US economy has had higher employment and productivity growth rates than the EU. Thus, the report shows that positive development in job creation and productivity are possible over the longer term.

The 3rd edition of the biennial KILM examines 20 key indicators of the labour market, including employment, unemployment, underemployment, hours worked, labour productivity, types of economic activity and how youth and women are faring in the labour markets. For the first time, the KILM also examines agricultural productivity and notes that this sector remains the primary employer in many developing economies. The new analysis suggests that a rise in productivity and employment may be the only way to reduce poverty.

„The overall global trends show that growth is not
enough,“ said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. „We
must make productivity growth and job creation key objectives and
pursue policies that combine these objectives with decent

Global productivity

The KILM is the only report published by an international
agency that includes estimates on total economy labour

The KILM showed US output per person employed growing 2.8 per
cent in 2002 from 2001 levels (see note 4), for an average growth rate
over the past seven years of 2.2 per cent. This was double the
growth rate of 1.2 per cent in the European Union and 1.1 per
cent in Japan during the same period. The report says output per
person employed in the US reached a level of USD60,728 in 2002,
up from USD59,081 in 2001. In major EU countries last year,
average labour productivity growth in per person terms was 1.1
per cent, yielding an output per person employed of USD43,034.
Belgium led the way at USD54,338, with France and Ireland topping
USD 52,000 and Germany at USD 42,463.

Greece had higher labour productivity growth than the US in
2002 at 4.1 per cent. At the same time, Ireland closed the
productivity gap with the US, France and Belgium by increasing
its productivity levels to USD52,486, reflecting an increase of
2.2 per cent from 2001 levels.

The figures for output per hour worked show Norway, France and
Belgium ahead of the US since the mid 1990s. In 2002 Norway had
an output per hour worked of about USD38, followed by France at
USD35, Belgium at USD34 and the US at 32 (figures are rounded off
to the nearest dollar), thus showing that part of the gap between
the US and Europe in output per person employed is due to
differences in hours worked.

Besides the difference in hours worked the KILM attributed
much of the growth in output per person employed in the US to two
other factors: the production and diffusion of information and
communication technology (ICT) in an enabling economic
environment, and the growth of service industries such as
wholesale and retail trade and financial securities that depend
on ICT. With the exception of Finland and Ireland, most EU
countries were unable to match the US in such developments in

In the agricultural sector, the KILM shows that employment in
the sector has rapidly declined in developed economies, but not
in the rest of the world. The agriculture sector remains a
cornerstone for a large number of developing countries in terms
of employment and poverty alleviation strategies. Productivity in
agriculture shows continued growth in all economies. However,
productivity levels in agriculture, published for the first time
in KILM, remain higher in developed economies. In the US, for
example, an agricultural worker produces over 650 times more than
an agricultural worker in Vietnam.

Given the relatively large size of the agricultural sector in
developing economies, the sector remains a potential contributor
to faster productivity growth. With the employment share of the
agricultural sector gradually declining, shifting labour to other
sectors should improve both employment and productivity growth
over the longer term. Access to domestic and international
markets in agricultural goods and the development and
implementation of environmentally sustainable technologies are
important vehicles to raise productivity growth in

Hours worked

The slowdown in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth that began
three years ago – and was influenced by the Sept. 11, 2001
terrorist attacks – was reflected in a parallel decrease in
annual hours worked per person in most countries worldwide, the
KILM shows based on available information. Although productivity
increased, hours worked in the US declined each year since 2000,
dropping from 1,834 in 2000 to 1,815 in 2002. More significant
declines were reported during the same period in Norway (from
1,380 to 1,342), Sweden (from 1,625 to 1,581), France (from 1,587
to 1,545), Australia (from 1,855 to 1,824), Canada (from 1,807 to
1,778), Ireland (from 1,690 to 1,668) and Germany (from 1,463 to
1,444). Japan, where people once worked much longer, is now at
about the same level as in the US, the KILM says.

Over the longer term hours worked in Australia, Canada, New
Zealand and the US have been more or less stable since the 1980s,
whereas in the rest of the industrialized world hours worked have
steadily declined (apart from some cyclical fluctuations) in the
last two decades.

Worldwide, a number of countries reported much higher hours
worked than in the US. The report noted that in South Korea, for
example, people worked 2,447 hours in 2001, the longest hours
worked of all economies for which data were available – 26 per
cent more than people in the US and 46 per cent more than in the
Netherlands, which had the lowest hours worked of all economies
for which data were available. „In all developing Asian
economies where data were available, people historically worked
more than in industrialized economies. This is a typical sign for
developing economies as they often compensate for the lack of
technology and capital with people working longer hours,“
the report said.

In some transition economies, hours worked reflected both the
ongoing shift from agriculture to manufacturing and services, as
well as away from centralized economies. Workers in the Czech
Republic, for example, put in 1,980 hours in 2002 – despite a
heavy decrease in recent years – and thereby worked the longest
hours within OECD economies along with Slovakia (1,978 hours) and
Greece (1,934).

Ireland provides a good example of the changing pattern in
working hours that occurs when an economy moves through the
development process, the report said. Along with the sectoral
shift from an agricultural based economy to manufacturing and
services, hours worked by people in Ireland fell from just above
1,900 annually in the 1980s to 1,668 hours in 2002, a drop of
nearly six 40-hour workweeks per employed person and more than
doubling productivity per person employed between 1980 and

Creating and maintaining jobs

Most industrialized economies (with the exception of Germany
and Japan) increased output and nominal employment during the
period 1999-2002. Additionally, European economies such as
France, United Kingdom, Belgium and Ireland increased their
employment-to-population ratios while reducing unemployment rates
during this period.

Although unemployment rates in Europe have generally been
higher than those in the US, since the early 90s the unemployment
rate in a number of countries within the EU have decreased, the
report said. EU countries such as Ireland have reduced
unemployment rates from among the highest in Europe in the early
1990s to below the US in 2002. Additionally, Luxembourg,
Switzerland, Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, UK,
and Sweden all have unemployment rates lower than the US, for
different reasons. Other labour market indicators in the report
support the conclusion that the US labour market reacted
differently to those in Europe during the latest economic
downturn, perhaps due in part to the different degrees of labour
market flexibility and national attitudes toward policy
intervention, the report says.

For example, in addition to diverging unemployment and
employment rates, the US shows different results from the
majority of European economies when it comes to finding jobs for
youth and persons unemployed for a long period of time (one year
or longer) during this economic downturn. The US has recorded
increases in both the youth unemployment rate and the long-term
unemployment rate since 1999, whereas the rates of both
indicators declined in a large number of other industrialized

Employment-to-population ratios in Latin America showed mixed
results over the past decade. Declines between 1990 and 2002 were
evident in Argentina (falling to 37.1 per cent), Chile (dropping
to 35.3 per cent), Colombia (falling to 51.6 per cent) and
Uruguay (falling to 47.6 per cent). However, Peru and Venezuela
experienced growth in their employment-to-population ratios, 62.5
and 58.9 per cent, respectively.

In Asia, the employment-to-population ratio declined by 2.8
per cent from 60.7 in 1995 to 58.6 in 2001 in South Korea, while
in the same period Hong Kong, China’s ratio dropped by 2.8
per cent from 60 to 58.3. Malaysia and Thailand all recorded
declines in the employment-to-population ratio for 1995-2000.
Malaysia’s ratio declined by 2.7 per cent, from 65.3 to 63.5.
Thailand had one of the highest declines in the region, falling
by 12.6 per cent, from 77.5 to 67.7. Even with the declines, the
Asian economies typically record high employment-to-population
ratios; with the exception of Sri Lanka, all of Asia’s major
economies recorded employment-to-population ratios of between 50
to 70 per cent.

The KILM also highlights the wide disparities in employment in
agriculture, illustrating the importance of world trade
negotiations to poverty reduction in developing countries. Among
the 20 richest economies in the world, the KILM said agricultural
employment was quite low, ranging between 1.4 per cent in the UK
and 7 per cent in Ireland. In transition economies, however, the
range was between 4.8 per cent (Czech Republic) and 52.7 per cent
(Georgia). In many Asian and African countries it is higher than
70 per cent, while in Latin America it is as high as 43.6 per
cent (Nicaragua) and 50.6 per cent (Haiti). In Middle East and
Northern Africa it is rather low in the oil producing economies,
but as high as 75 per cent in the non-oil producing

Note 1 – Key Indicators of the
Labour Market Third Edition. International Labour Office, Geneva,
2003. ISBN92-2-113381-8. Available in text, CD-ROM or Internet
versions. The 900-page volume reflects an effort by the ILO to
select and refine indicators of global labour trends and contains
comparative data from some 240 countries and territories
worldwide This press release and data charts can be found at (User ID: kilmpress2003,
Password: press)

Note 2 – The employment to
population ratio measures the proportion of an economy’s
working age population (15+) that is employed: as such, the
change in this figure is a good indicator of the ability of an
economy to create jobs.

Note 3 – Productivity is
measured as annual output divided by person employed. Output is
measured as GDP in terms of purchasing power parities (PPPs). A
key characteristic of KILM’s productivity figures is the use
of PPPs to convert output in national currencies to a standard
measure of value that avoids distortions caused by fluctuating
exchange rates. The KILM measures productivity in two principle
ways: annual output per person employed and average output per
hour worked. However, estimates of output per hour worked are
less comparable across countries than output per person employed,
because the measure of hours worked can vary significantly.

Note 4 – The US Department of
Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released in August
2003 indicated a continuing growth trend in 2003.

Weitere Informationen

Key Indicators of the Labour Market, (200 Euro)
Third Edition Hardcover und Interactive Software (ISBN 92-2-113381-8)
ILO Bonn
Tel. 0228-36 23 33
Fax 0228- 35 21 86

Website: ILO

Richtlinie zum Schutz vor Gefahren durch Ozon

Am 9. 9. 2003 tritt in der Europäischen Union eine neue
Richtlinie in Kraft, deren Ziel ein besserer Schutz der
Bevölkerung und der Vegetation vor bodennahem Ozon ist.
Vorgesehen sind jedoch lediglich Warnungen der Bevölkerung
ab einer bestimmten Konzentrationen (über 180 µg/m3).
Bei einem Überschreiten von 240 µg/m3 müssen die Behörden
der Mitgliedstaaten kurzfristige Maßnahmen wie Einschränkungen des
Straßenverkehrs und der Verwendung von Lösungsmitteln in Betracht
ziehen. Wie die Vegetation durch Warnungen geschützt werden kann,
bleibt im Dunklen.

Bei Ozon handelt es sich um einen Schadstoff, der schwere
Gesundheitsprobleme verursachen kann, besonders bei
empfindlicheren Bevölkerungsgruppen wie älteren Menschen und
Kindern. Die neue Richtlinie verpflichtet die Mitgliedstaaten,
die Bevölkerung zu unterrichten und zu warnen, wenn die
Ozonkonzentration in der Luft bestimmte Werteüberschreitet.
Ferner werden langfristige Ziele definiert, um EU-weit bis zum
Jahr 2010 einen Schutz der menschlichen Gesundheit und der
Vegetation vor Ozon möglichst weitgehend zu

Umweltkommissarin Margot WALLSTRÖM dazu: „Dieser
Sommer hat erneut gezeigt, dass wir die Luftverschmutzung noch
nicht gut genug im Griff haben, um unmittelbare Auswirkungen auf
die Gesundheit der Bürger verhindern zu können. Er hat ferner
gezeigt, dass der zunehmende Straßenverkehr ein ernstes Problem
für die Umwelt und für die Gesundheit der Bevölkerung

Was ist bodennahes Ozon?

Während die Ozonschicht in der oberen Atmosphäre einen Schutz
vor Hautkrebs und Schäden an Nutzpflanzen bietet, da sie die
kurzwelligen Sonnenstrahlen filtert, kann bodennahes Ozon sehr
nachteilige Auswirkungen auf die menschliche Gesundheit und die
Vegetation haben. Ozon führt zu einer Reizung der Luftwege, wenn
es in stärkeren Konzentrationen eingeatmet wird.
Ozonkonzentrationen über 120 µg/m3 1 während mehrerer
Stunden können zu Atemproblemen führen und die Symptome bei
Personen verstärken, die bereits an Asthma und Lungenerkrankungen
leiden. Wird die Schwelle von 240 µg/m3 überschritten,
können bei empfindlicheren Bevölkerungsgruppen wie Asthmatikern,
Kindern oder älteren Menschen akute Atemprobleme auftreten.

Die negativen Auswirkungen auf Nutzpflanzen und Wälder, d.h.
ein geringeres Wachstum, können bereits bei Konzentrationen von
lediglich 80 µg/m3 entstehen. Nachweisbare Schäden,
wie etwa deutliche Ernteeinbussen oder ein frühzeitiger Verlust
von Blättern und Nadeln, entsteht nur bei einer Akkumulation der
negativen Auswirkungen während der gesamten Vegetationszeit, also
bei wiederholter Exposition gegenüber hohen

Ozon entsteht durch Emissionen flüchtiger organischer
Verbindungen und Stickoxide unter dem Einfluss von Sonnenlicht
und bei überdurchschnittlicher Dauer der Sonneneinwirkung. Die
Ozonwerte steigen daher im Sommer in der Regel an.

Neben der petrochemischen Industrie und dem Einsatz von
Lösungsmitteln in Privathaushalten, z.B. in Farben, ist der
Straßenverkehr der größte Verursacher dieser Vorläuferstoffe. Im
Mittelmeerraum stammt ein großer Teil der flüchtigen organischen
Verbindungen auch von Koniferen. In weiten Teilen der
Europäischen Union sind anthropogene Emissionen im letzten
Jahrzehnt um 30 bis 50% zurückgegangen. Folglich sanken auch die
Ozonhöchstwerte. Beobachtungen haben jedoch gezeigt, dass
Konzentrationen, die nicht durch nahegelegene Emissionsquellen
beeinflusst werden, nach wie vor steigen, wahrscheinlich aufgrund
zunehmender globaler Emissionen der Ozonvorläufer.

Der heiße Sommer diesen Jahres und seine Auswirkungen

Im Gegensatz zum Trend der letzten Jahre stiegen die
Ozonkonzentrationen in diesem Jahr in weiten Teilen Europas auf
Werte, wie sie für die frühen neunziger Jahre typisch waren. In
einem Zeitraum Anfang August wurden im Vereinigten Königreich
vielerorts tägliche Höchstkonzentrationen über 180
µg/m3 gemessen. Die höchsten Ozonwerte seit zehn
Jahren wurden im Großraum London beobachtet. In Belgien,
Frankreich, Luxemburg, den Niederlanden und in Österreich wurden
regelmäßig und in weiten Landesteilen sogar Werte über 240
µg/m3 ermittelt, was in den letzten Jahren selten der
Fall war. In manchen Regionen Deutschlands gab es doppelt so
viele Tage mit Konzentrationen über 240 µg/m3 wie in
den letzten Jahren. Aufgrund eines weniger dichten Messnetzes ist
für den Mittelmeerraum kein detailliertes Bild verfügbar.

Wie wird die neue Richtlinie eine Verbesserung der Situation

Natürlich sind die hohen Ozonkonzentrationen auch auf die
außergewöhnlich hohen Temperaturen in diesem Sommer
zurückzuführen. Es hat sich aber auch gezeigt, dass die
gegenwärtigen Emissionswerte keinen vollen Schutz der Bevölkerung
vor kurzfristigen Auswirkungen gewährleisten. Die neue
Ozon-Richtlinie2, die heute in Kraft tritt,
verpflichtet die Mitgliedstaaten zur Beurteilung der
Konzentrationen von bodennahem Ozon in ihrem gesamten
Hoheitsgebiet. Sie müssen die Öffentlichkeit unterrichten, wenn
die Werte über 180 µg/m3 ansteigen. Um ein
Überschreiten der Alarmschwelle von 240 µg/m3 zu
vermeiden, müssen die Behörden der Mitgliedstaaten kurzfristige
Maßnahmen wie Einschränkungen des Straßenverkehrs und der
Verwendung von Lösungsmitteln, z.B. in Farben, in Betracht
ziehen. Bei Überschreitung dieser Schwelle ist die Öffentlichkeit
zu warnen, dabei ist besonders empfindlichen Personen zu
empfehlen, in geschlossenen Räumen zu bleiben, und der
Gesamtbevölkerung sollte von körperlichen Anstrengungen abgeraten

Um einen weiteren Anstieg der Konzentrationen in diesem Jahr
zu verhindern, führten Frankreich und Luxemburg
Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzungen für den Straßenverkehr ein, mit
denen die Bildung von Vorläuferstoffen durch den Verkehr
verringert werden sollte.

Ein Bericht von Sachverständigen der Mitgliedstaaten mit
Leitlinien3 empfiehlt, solche Minderungsmaßnahmen
möglichst früh zu ergreifen, um eine Akkumulation der
Vorläuferstoffe zu vermeiden. Da Ozonvorläufer vom Wind
transportiert werden, müssen die Maßnahmen entsprechend große
Gebiete einbeziehen, um wirksam zu sein, d.h. sie sollten für
wesentlich größere Gebiete gelten als z.B. lediglich für eine
einzige Stadt.

Die Sachverständigen weisen ferner darauf hin, dass die
Reduktionen erheblich sein müssen, um ihre Wirkung zu erzielen,
da selbst bei einer kurzfristigen Verringerung der
Vorläuferstoffe um 50% die Höchstkonzentrationen von Ozon nur um
ca. 20% zurückgehen.

Neben dem Ziel einer Vermeidung kurzfristiger
Höchstkonzentrationen verfolgt die neue Richtlinie das
langfristige Ziel der Erreichung eines Wertes von
durchschnittlich 120 µg/m3 über 8 Stunden. Die
EU-Rechtsvorschriften über die Verwendung von
Lösungsmitteln4, über Emissionen von
Kraftfahrzeugen5 und nationale Emissionshöchstmengen
für Stickoxide und flüchtige organische Verbindungen6
werden bereits eine ständige Verringerung der Ozonhöchstwerte um
20% bis 40% in den kommenden Jahren bewirken. Wo dies notwendig
und möglich ist, sollten die Mitgliedstaaten zusätzliche
Minderungsstrategien entwickeln, die darauf abzielen, bis zum
Jahr 2010 das langfristige Ziel an nicht mehr als 25 Tagen zu
überschreiten. Neben Maßnahmen im Straßenverkehr sollten die
Mitgliedstaaten Verringerungen der Emissionen von
Vorläuferstoffen in der petrochemischen Industrie und anderen
relevanten Branchen ins Auge fassen.

Die neue Richtlinie sowie weitere Informationen können unter
folgender Adresse abgerufen werden:

1 µg = Mikrogramm

2 Richtlinie 2002/3/EG über den Ozongehalt der

3 „Guidance on implementation“ zur
dritten Einzelrichtlinie, siehe Webseite

4 Richtlinie 1999/13/EG über die Begrenzung
von Emissionen flüchtiger organischer Verbindungen, die bei
bestimmten Tätigkeiten und in bestimmten Anlagen bei der
Verwendung organischer Lösungsmittel entstehen; Richtlinie
94/63/EG zur Begrenzung der Emissionen flüchtiger organischer
Verbindungen (VOC- Emissionen) bei der Lagerung von
Ottokraftstoff und seiner Verteilung von den Auslieferungslagern
bis zu den Tankstellen

5 Richtlinie 98/69/EG über Emissionen von

6 Richtlinie 2000/81/EG über nationale
Emissionshöchstmengen für bestimmte Luftschadstoffe

Aktienmärkte: Einschätzung zur wirtschaftlichen Branchenentwicklung

Im folgendem Text stellte der Exportversicherer COFACE Prognosen zur weltwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung von Branchen dar. Diese Informationen geben wertvolle Hinweise für Entscheidungen hinsichtlich der Branchendiversifikation von Aktienportefeuilles. Angesichts der derzeitigen Entwicklung der Aktienmärkte gibt diese Analyse von COFCE auch wertvolle Hinweise für die Kaufentscheidung von Aktien.

Sectoral outlook

Results for the last few months were not very bright with the SARS epidemic and the erratic dollar/euro-parity trend compounding existing problems of sagging consumption, lack of an investment recovery, high energy prices, and the terrorist threat.

Although the SARS epidemic now appears under control, the sectoral outlook has remained dependant on confirmation of renewed growth in the United States and a significant oil price decline. In Europe, many economic sectors should continue to suffer from sluggish domestic demand compounded by the loss of competitiveness resulting from the euro's appreciation. Pressure on company margins should thus remain intense.

  • The chemical, paper, and steel industries, which had been undergoing a shaky cyclical upturn, are now confronted with fluctuations in the euro/dollar parity.
  • Lack of a recovery in industrial activity and existence of substantial unused capacity are still affecting the mechanical engineering and telecommunicationsequipment sectors.
  • Although SARS has been an additional shock for tourism and air transport, the epidemic's impact should continue to wane.
  • Without increased promotional offers and low interest rates, sagging household confidence would be affecting the outlook for the car industry, mass distribution, and textiles even more. That loss of confidence has been having a more moderate effect on the construction sector.
  • Conversely, the combined effect of obsolescence and innovation has spurred a moderate upturn in electronics and computers.
  • Pharmaceuticals have continued to benefit from generally buoyant conditions despite increasing pressure on margins.

The chemical, paper, and steel industries, where the cyclical upturn was already shaky, are now confronted with fluctuations in the euro/dollar parity.


In Europe, the slight recovery apparent since last year has not been gaining momentum. The initial price improvement recorded early this year now appears stalled. The lack of recovery in industrial activity, due notably to sluggish investment along with sagging consumption and exports, has not permitted demand to strengthen or prices to rise. Flat sales prices and continuing high naphtha prices have been squeezing petrochemical margins. Mineral chemicals have been faring relatively better.

In the United States, the situation has improved slightly since end-2002. Despite reduced competition from European exports, however, conditions have remained difficult lacking a clear demand upturn.


The European paper industry has continued to suffer from the absence of a tangible economic recovery. It has notably been contending with the persistent downward trend of the advertising market.

Increased sales volumes in recent months have not offset the price decline resulting from capacity utilisation rates that have remained at modest levels. Moreover, the price increases for energy, mineral chemical additives, wood pulp, and used paper registered several months ago have also affected margins since the industry cannot easily pass those increases on to sales prices. Non-integrated papermakers have evidently been suffering more than wood pulp producers. Hopefully, however, rising raw material prices will constitute, as in the past, a harbinger of the sector's imminent recovery. As such, the outlook has remained moderately bright.

In the United States, the situation has been progressively improving for about a year with rising prices and volumes and a timid recovery of the advertising market. European and Canadian competition has weakened due to the US dollar's decline.


In the United States, the upsurge of flat steel prices early last year has petered out. It rested essentially on the artificially induced scarcity and high cost of supply resulting from adoption of protectionist measures by American authorities and not on real demand growth. Increasing trade dispensations and the downward demand trend from the car, aviation, and mechanical engineering industries has quickly wiped out some of the price gains. The dull car sales outlook and lack of an investment upturn have been undermining hopes for a rapid recovery. However, the nonetheless higher price levels have permitted steelmakers to improve profitability while spurring mergers and acquisitions.

Through international trade, the American price increases spread to the European and Asian markets.

On the Asian market, the price increases have not slipped back and have been currently stabilising at a high level. That is attributable to the sharp rise of Chinese and Korean demand, which rapidly increasing local production has been unable to satisfy.

In Europe, the price rise, with the exception of hot laminated steel coils, was much more moderate and has now stabilised. Price steadiness will depend on the durability of strong Asian demand and the trend of dollar/euro parity.

Lack of an industrial activity recovery and existence of substantial unused capacity are still affecting the mechanical engineering and telecommunications equipment sectors.

Mechanical engineering

After the downturn endured last year by European and American manufacturers, activity has levelled off with productive industrial investment no longer declining on local markets and orders from Asia remaining buoyant. Although machine tools have continued trending down, equipment for the food industry has continued to perform well. The euro's trend against other currencies will determine European export performance, at least on standardised equipment.

Telecommunications equipment

Those equipment manufacturers, whose activity is largely focused on telecommunications operators alone, are still handicapped by the surplus of installed optical fibre capacity, lagging 3G implementation, and decline of investment by operators in the United States and Europe.

Gains made by high speed internet connections on traditional markets and the upsurge of mobile telephony in emerging regions have not been enough to re-energise their activity, which should shed another 10% this year. The many restructuring and delocalisation programmes already implemented (standardised production outsourcing, cost reduction, asset sell-offs) should nonetheless permit most industrialists to cope with a market that has remained sluggish. Only mobile-telephony terminal manufacturers have been faring well with improved sales (up 12% in 2003 after rising 6% in 2002). They have been benefiting not only from the availability of new functionalities like colour screens or integrated cameras but also from the Asian market's strong growth.

The outlook for equipment manufacturers will depend on the operator situation.

Incumbent European and American telecommunications operators seem to have weathered the crisis without too much damage. Their solid foundations have permitted them to cope with the substantial debt burden assumed in purchasing 3G licences and increasing bandwidth capacity. They have undergone restructuring and refocused on their core businesses and regional markets. Alternative operators have either disappeared or been absorbed.

Amid economic recession and debt service burdens exacerbated by devaluations, South American operators have remained mired in a difficult situation.

In South Asia, Africa, the Near and Middle East and in the Community of Independent States, mobile telephony's very rapid development has been benefiting local operators, which also enjoy very low equipment prices and tips from their industry colleagues in industrialized countries.

In East Asia, local operators and equipment manufacturers have been benefiting from the market's strong growth and consumer enthusiasm for novelties. It is the world region where mobile telephony and high-speed Internet access have been developing fastest.

Although SARS has been an additional shock for tourism and air transport, the epidemic's impact should continue to wane.

Tourism and transport

With open war ending in Iraq, a new crisis — the SARS epidemic — shook the sector.

Tourism in Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Ontario (Canada) suffered the most damage. Beyond that specific regional impact, however, the entire sector saw its recovery postponed. Still affected by fears of terrorism, high energy prices, and the economic downturn in Europe and the United States, that industry, notably commercial aviation, certainly did not need this new shock. The immediate impact has been a growing trend toward last-minute reservations and regionalization of travel. Companies have remained very cautious on travel spending. In such conditions, many companies in the sector have become weaker. Only actors working essentially on a local and regional basis in niche markets like sports, cultural, or adventure tourism or the new low-cost transporters have fared well.

Without the increased promotional offers and low interest rates, sagging household confidence would be affecting the outlook for the car industry, mass distribution, and textiles even more. That loss of confidence has been having a more moderate effect on the construction sector.

Car industry

In the United States, passenger car production and sales have been trending down but from a high starting point. Business activity has thus remained at satisfactory levels.

As carmakers continue to inundate consumers with promotional offers intended to stem the market decline, fend off Asian competition and reduce stocks, they have been squeezing further an already shaky profitability. Parts-makers have been suffering indirectly from their clients' shrinking margins.

In Europe, the sales decline that started in 2002 has persisted at a sustained pace. Like their American counterparts, carmakers have begun to offer discounts that affect their profitability, which has nonetheless remained satisfactory. Commercial vehicle sales have also been trending down. Parts-makers have been suffering from repercussions of carmaker difficulties.

In Latin America, subsidiaries of the world's large carmakers have continued to suffer from the local market's failure to recover. Except FIAT, whose vehicles have a very high local integration rate, they all have been contending with losses attributable to the increased cost of imported parts caused by the devaluations. Although certainly suffering from the decline of both local production and the parts/accessories market, local parts-makers should quickly benefit from the increasing integration of local production.

In Asia, sales should stagnate this year with production declining. The SARS epidemic should affect growth of the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Thai markets while sales in Korea and Japan stagnate at best. Exports to Europe and America will suffer from the decline of those markets despite market share gains.

Mass distribution

American retail business improved over the spring and summer months. During the preceding months, household consumption sagged amid surging energy prices, the deteriorating international geopolitical situation, and bad weather.

In Europe, the household consumption slowdown has affected retailers. However, the situation is far from uniform in every country and sales sector with consumption holding up better in France, the United Kingdom, and Spain than elsewhere.

In France, Paris department stores have nonetheless been suffering from the effects of sagging world tourism and disgruntled American tourists. Conversely, outlying stores focusing on food have been faring better. In Germany, the sector has continued to suffer from still sluggish consumption and tough competition from hard discount.

Textiles and clothing

Despite a slight increase in finished product deliveries registered early this year, the West European and North American clothing textiles industry has been suffering greatly from Asian competition, which has been benefiting, furthermore, from the dollar depreciation against the euro. Besides clothing, spinning, throwing/texturing of synthetic or artificial filament yarns, and weaving have also been suffering with better quality thread and fabric now available to the Asian clothing industry locally. Company failures in these industry segments have thus been increasing, notably in France.

Mass distribution's influence has also been contributing to the sector's difficulties with large retailers seeking to maximize profits where it is easiest to do so ? in non-food ? particularly clothing. They thus never hesitate to focus their purchasing on less costly sources. The sector is nonetheless not completely defenceless. It can organise the inevitable delocalisation of standardised production instead of submitting to it while keeping control of key functions like innovation, creation and marketing.

Meanwhile, with complete elimination of trade barriers looming in 2005, North American and European public officials have been working on setting up pan-American and Euro-Mediterranean free trade areas to capitalize on the complementarity and proximity of member countries. Those areas are better equipped than Asia to meet reactivity and speed imperatives. Moreover, outside the very constraints of markets, some companies enjoy special competitive advantages like a high-end presence or a specialisation in technical products.


The sector is very dependent on local economic conditions.

In the United States, construction of single family dwellings has sustained a high level of activity in terms of price and volume due notably to the decline of mortgage rates. However, a slight decline could develop toward year-end with rising mortgage rates. Conversely, industrial and commercial construction has continued to suffer from high vacancy Nonetheless, relative improvement has apparently developed, notably in the leisure and hotel segments. Finally, public works have begun to suffer from the fiscal difficulties of states and local communities.

In Europe, industrial construction (factories, warehouses) and commercial construction (offices, hotels, stores) have been generally trending down due to the pervasive economic gloom and glut of available space. Although residential construction activity has remained high (except in Germany), a downturn could develop soon as has already happened in the Netherlands. The Spanish and British markets are the most exposed on that score due to high household debt and property prices.

In Japan, public works have continued to suffer from the fiscal difficulties of public administrations while residential construction has virtually stopped declining and commercial construction has started to recover.

Conversely, the combined effect of obsolescence and innovation has spurred a moderate upturn in electronics and computers.


After virtually stagnating last year, electronic components have currently been experiencing a moderate upturn (up about 10% expected this year). The improvement would be even greater without the impact of SARS on Asian economies and its repercussions on the local electronics industry.

Sales growth has been particularly strong (over 20%) for opto-electronics (used in telecommunication), flash memories (used not only in telecommunications but also in digital photography), and digital signal processors (telecommunications, computers, and automobiles).

The other component types, except DRAM memories, which have yet to recover, have been registering moderate growth (about 8%).

That improvement is particularly attributable to increased deliveries of servers and office computers, and portables driven by both necessary renewal of company equipment and development of the Internet for home use and by recovery of mobile telephony sales.

Meanwhile, with the European and American markets hardly growing, rising Asian demand has been underpinning the current recovery.

Pharmaceuticals have continued to benefit from a generally buoyant environment despite increasing pressure on margins.


Despite pressure exerted by health systems to reduce their spending and the sluggish economic conditions, world sales of pharmaceutical products have continued to post gains. However, rising research and development costs, a dearth of new drugs, increasing competition from generics, and development of litigation are posing challenges to the laboratories, which have yet to fully digest the mergers and acquisitions activity of recent years.

Particularly marked in Europe, sales growth has been very weak in Japan with the South American market continuing to sag.

The North American market, which has been outperforming, had a bout of weakness in 2001 and 2002 that resulted in a billings decline.

Bereitschaftsdienstregelungen für Ärzte nicht EU-konform

Der EuGH hat heute – wie vielfach erwartet – ausgesprochen, dass der Bereitschaftsdienst, der an einem vom Arbeitgeber bestimmten Ort geleistet wird, als volle Arbeitszeit anzusehen ist, auch wenn der Arzt sich in der Zeit, in der er nicht in Anspruch genommen wird, an der Arbeitsstelle ausruhen kann. Es wird damit gerechnet, dass durch das Urteil mehrere Mrd. € zusätzliche Kosten für die Krankenhäuser anfallen werden. Clement fordert schnelle Umsetzung.

Bundesminister für Wirtschaft und Arbeit Wolfgang Clement sagte zu der Entscheidung:

„Das Urteil muss jetzt schnellstmöglich umgesetzt werden, damit die Akteure vor Ort so schnell wie möglich Rechtssicherheit erhalten. Deshalb werde ich mich dafür einsetzen, dass die erforderlichen Änderungen des Arbeitszeitgesetzes in das parlamentarische Verfahren zum Gesetz zu Reformen am Arbeitsmarkt eingebracht werden. Die Neuregelung wird den Betroffenen die Spielräume bieten, die sie für eine praxisgerechte Arbeitszeitgestaltung mit Bereitschaftsdienst benötigen.“

Neben der Tatsache, dass der Bereitschaftsdienst nunmehr als Arbeitszeit bezahlt werden muss, werden infolge der Höchstarbeitszeitregelungen auch zahlreiche Stellen neu zu besetzen sein. Schätzungen gehen von einem Bedarf von 15.000 bis zu über 25.000 Ärzten und Kosten von jedenfalls 1,0 Mrd. € aus.

Urteil des Gerichtshofes im Vorabentscheidungsverfahren: C-151/02

Herr Jaeger, Assistenzarzt am Städtischen Krankenhaus Kiel, leistet regelmäßig Bereitschaftsdienste, die darin bestehen, dass er sich im Krankenhaus aufhält und arbeitet, wenn er in Anspruch genommen wird, und die teils durch Freizeit, teils durch zusätzliche Vergütung abgegolten werden. Ihm steht im Krankenhaus ein Zimmer zur Verfügung, in dem er schlafen darf, soweit er nicht in Anspruch genommen wird. Herr Jaeger ist der Auffassung, dass die von ihm geleisteten Bereitschaftsdienste vollständig als Arbeitszeit anzusehen seien.

Das deutsche Recht unterscheidet zwischen „Arbeitsbereitschaft“, „Bereitschaftsdienst“ und „Rufbereitschaft“. Nur die Arbeitsbereitschaft gilt
in vollem Umfang als Arbeitszeit. Bereitschaftsdienst und Rufbereitschaft werden dagegen als Ruhezeit behandelt, mit Ausnahme der Dauer der Wahrnehmung beruflicher Aufgaben.

Die Gemeinschaftsrichtlinie über bestimmte Aspekte der Arbeitszeitgestaltung ( Richtlinie 93/104/EG des Rates vom 23. November 1993 (ABl. L 307, S. 18)) soll die Sicherheit und Gesundheit der Arbeitnehmer durch Gewährung von Mindestruhezeiten und angemessenen Ruhepausen gewährleisten. Die Richtlinie definiert die charakteristischen Merkmale des Begriffes „Arbeitszeit“ als „jede Zeitspanne, während der ein Arbeitnehmer gemäß den einzelstaatlichen Rechtsvorschriften und/oder Gepflogenheiten arbeitet, dem Arbeitgeber zur Verfügung steht und seine Tätigkeit ausübt oder Aufgaben wahrnimmt“. Das Landesarbeitsgericht Schleswig-Holstein fragt den Gerichtshof, ob das deutsche Recht mit dem Gemeinschaftsrecht vereinbar ist.

Entscheidend für die Annahme, dass der von den Ärzten im Krankenhaus geleistete Bereitschaftsdienst die charakteristischen Merkmale des Begriffes „Arbeitszeit“ im Sinne der Richtlinie aufweist, ist nach Auffassung des Gerichtshofes, der hierzu auf seine Rechtsprechung (Urteil vom 3. Oktober 2000 in der Rechtssache C-303/98 (Simap))verweist, dass sie sich an einem vom Arbeitgeber bestimmten Ort aufhalten und diesem zur Verfügung stehen müssen, um gegebenenfalls sofort ihre Leistungen erbringen zu können. Dem Gerichtshof zufolge sind diese Verpflichtungen, aufgrund deren die betroffenen Ärzte ihren Aufenthaltsort während der Wartezeiten nicht frei bestimmen können, als Bestandteil der Wahrnehmung ihrer Aufgaben anzusehen.

Der Umstand, dass der Arbeitgeber dem Arzt einen Ruheraum zur Verfügung stellt, in dem dieser sich aufhalten kann, solange er nicht in Anspruch genommen wird, ändert nichts an dieser Auslegung.

Der Gerichtshof fügt hinzu, dass ein Arzt, der seinem Arbeitgeber an dem von diesem bestimmten Ort während der gesamten Dauer seiner Bereitschaftsdienste zur Verfügung stehen muss, erheblich stärkeren Einschränkungen unterliegt als ein Arzt, der im Rahmen der Rufbereitschaft tätig ist, da er sich außerhalb seines familiären und sozialen Umfelds aufhalten muss und über die Zeit, in der er nicht in Anspruch genommen wird, weniger frei verfügen kann. Unter diesen Umständen kann bei einem Bereitschaftsdienstarzt, der an dem vom Arbeitgeber bestimmten Ort zur Verfügung stehen muss, die Zeit, in der er tatsächlich keine berufliche Tätigkeit ausübt, nicht als Ruhezeit angesehen werden.

Der Gerichtshof gelangt daher zu dem Ergebnis, dass eine nationale Regelung wie die deutsche, nach der dieser Bereitschaftsdienst – mit Ausnahme der Zeit, in der der Arbeitnehmer tatsächlich seine beruflichen Aufgaben wahrgenommen hat – als Ruhezeit eingestuft wird und nur für Zeiten tatsächlicher Tätigkeit ein Ausgleich vorgesehen ist, mit der Gemeinschaftsrichtlinie nicht vereinbar ist.