This week’s WTO ministerial

The WTO’s Seventh Ministerial Conference starts on Monday. Demonstrations, arson, and arrests started Saturday.

In his report to the General Council on 17 November 2009, Pascal Lamy said that while the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference would not be a negotiating session, it would be “a platform for ministers to review the functioning of this house”, including the Doha Round, and an occasion “to send a number of strong signals to the world with respect to the entire WTO waterfront of issues — from monitoring and surveillance to disputes, accessions, Aid for Trade, technical assistance and international governance”. [WTO]

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets Saturday to separate violent demonstrators from a protest of a meeting of top world trade officials, but the hooded “black bloc” activists were able to cause damage before 14 were arrested, spokesmen said. The protesters set fire to at least four cars, broke shop windows and committed other acts of violence Saturday, police spokesman Patrick Puhl said. [AP]