- The Washington Times - Friday, April 26, 2002

Tuna wars

Southeast Asian diplomats yesterday predicted financial ruin for their countries' tuna industries if the United States removes tariffs on canned tuna from South America.

At least half of their tuna industry would be put out of business because they would lose their U.S. market share to the cheaper South American fish, said Philippines Ambassador Albert del Rosario, Thai Ambassador Sakthip Krairiksh and Indonesian Ambassador Soemadi D.M. Brotodiningrat.

Mr. Rosario, in a news conference, implied that the Philippines could see a rise in terrorism if unemployed fishermen are attracted to armed militants already operating in parts of the country.

"Our tuna industry is entirely based in Mindanao, where the Philippines is waging a war against terrorists and the poverty that breeds them," he said.

Mr. Krairiksh complained that Congress will "wipe out the level playing field" if it adopts a House-passed bill that renews and expands the Andean Trade Preference Act, which expired in December.

"This is a trade diversion measure, not trade creation," he said.

Mr. Brotodiningrat said in a statement read at the news conference that the bill will "have an adverse impact on more than half a million Indonesians."

The opposition from Southeast Asian diplomats poses an additional complication for diplomats from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, who have been lobbying Congress for months to renew the trade act.

They have already encountered opposition from the U.S. tuna industry and other American interests that could be affected by other goods covered under the bill.

Royal invitation

Britain's Prince Edward yesterday urged young Americans to prepare themselves for a "dangerous and sinister world" by challenging themselves to be the best they can be.

Prince Edward invited them to compete for the Congressional Award, which is handed out by a U.S. volunteer, self-help program. The honorarium is modeled after the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, created by his father, Prince Philip.

"Young people are no different from those of 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 50 years ago," he said. "But the world out there is a much more dangerous and sinister place than it was before."

The Congressional Award Foundation, created by Congress in 1979, and similar agencies in 60 other countries challenge young people to commit themselves to public service, personal development and physical fitness and to embark on expeditions to explore the world.

"Every young person in this country has the right to earn this award," said Tom Campbell, chairman of the Congressional Award Foundation.

Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, and his wife Sofie, the countess of Wessex, joined Washington supporters of the Congressional Award at a luncheon at Hillandale, a 1921 Italian Renaissance-style mansion near the French Embassy.

Ricardo and Isabel Ernst, who restored the home, hosted the luncheon.

Daremblum reappointed

Costa Rican Ambassador Jamie Daremblum says he is delighted to serve another term as his country's envoy to the United States.

Mr. Daremblum this week learned that Costa Rica's president-elect, Abel Pacheco, plans to reappoint him.

"I am, obviously, very pleased with the news which I wanted to share with my friends," he said in an e-mail message to Embassy Row.

Mr. Daremblum has been ambassador here since 1998.

Gunboat diplomacy

Gunboat diplomacy will take on a different meaning next week when a U.S. warship stops in Sri Lanka for the first time in eight years.

The USS Hopper, a guided-missile destroyer, will dock for 10 hours Tuesday to refuel, the U.S. Embassy said yesterday.

"The visit of the USS Hopper is emblematic of the friendship between the people of the United States and the people of Sri Lanka," U.S. Ambassador Ashley Wills said in a statement.

The visit of the destroyer follows U.S. support for peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which the State Department identifies as a terrorist group.

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