Groups rev PR engines for future WTO meet

SEATTLE: Seattle is about to become the focal point for a glut of PR and media attention, as the World Trade Organization prepares to invade the city later this month for its ministerial meeting.

SEATTLE: Seattle is about to become the focal point for a glut of PR and media attention, as the World Trade Organization prepares to invade the city later this month for its ministerial meeting.

SEATTLE: Seattle is about to become the focal point for a glut of

PR and media attention, as the World Trade Organization prepares to

invade the city later this month for its ministerial meeting.



The gathering, billed by one source as ’the largest trade event ever

held in the US,’ is likely to foment further controversy about the

country’s trade policy - and PR pros for several interested parties will

find themselves in the eye of the storm.



Both critics and supporters of the current WTO see the meeting as an

opportunity to air their opinions about rules-based trade. Leading the

anti-WTO charge is a left-leaning coalition including Ralph Nader’s

Public Citizen, the Institute for Policy Studies and representatives of

organized labor. The latter group contends that rules-based trade favors

transnational corporations at the expense of workers and the

environment.



Public Citizen’s global trade watch deputy director Mike Dolan said that

protests and media-centric activities will only be ’the tip of the

iceberg’ in terms of activity. Symposiums and press conferences built

around daily ’themes’ (such as corporate accountability and

standard-of-living issues) have already been scheduled, with the AFL-CIO

labor union planning a massive rally and march on November 30.



Communication Works, a non-profit PR firm, is assisting another WTO

critic, the San Francisco-based International Forum on Globalization, in

publicizing its opposition to ’unaccountable’ organizations such as the

WTO.



Of course, the political right doesn’t plan to let the left dominate the

debate surrounding the WTO. Reform Party presidential candidate Pat

Buchanan is planning to be in Seattle, while the US Alliance for Trade

Expansion has turned to the Seattle-based Rockey Company for public

affairs support.



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