September 23, 2014 - No. 76
Annul the Canada-Europe Free
All Out to Oppose Neo-Liberal
Free Trade and Monopoly Right!
Demand a Self-Reliant Human-Centred Economy for Canada
Can Stop CETA!
September 26 -- 11:30 am-1:00 pm
Assemble outside Transport Canada, 330 Sparks St. at 11:30 am;
march to Parliament Hill for a noon-time rally.
Buses to Ottawa from Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City:
contact Verena at vgarofalo[at]seafarers.ca
Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition with support from the
Trade Justice Network, the Quebec Network on Continental Integration
(RQIC), and Campact Germany.
Rally on the
Eve of the CETA Ceremony
September 25 -- 4:30 pm
Council of Canadians London Chapter
• All Out to Oppose Neo-Liberal Free Trade and
Monopoly Right! Demand a Self-Reliant Human-Centred Economy for Canada
• Together We Can Stop CETA! -
Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition
Promotion and Protection Agreements
• Undermining Public Authority in the Name of
High Ideals - Jim Nugent
Atomic Energy Canada Limited
• Harper Government Completes the Destruction
of Public Control of Nuclear Energy and Science - Louis Lang
Annul the Canada-Europe Free Trade
All Out to Oppose Neo-Liberal
Free Trade and Monopoly Right!
Demand a Self-Reliant Human-Centred
Economy for Canada
On September 26, the Harper government will receive a
visit from Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. The
two will travel to Ottawa and Toronto on September 26 to take part in a
Canada-European Union (EU) Summit.
The visit will include a ceremony in Ottawa to officially announce that
the negotiations have concluded and the text has been finalized for the
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and
Canadians do not support neo-liberal trade that wreaks
destruction on the social and natural environment. Actions to oppose
CETA are being held in Ottawa, on Friday, September 26 with a march
beginning at Transport Canada Building, 330 Sparks St. and a noon hour
rally on Parliament Hill (the main event),
and in London on Thursday, September 25 at 4:30 at City Hall. Activists
in Canada and Europe point out that the deal still must be ratified by
individual provinces and EU member states before it can come into
effect. A European Day of Action to oppose CETA will take place on
Saturday, October 11.
The Harper government's attempts to cover up its sellout
of the nation and defence of monopoly right over public right have not
succeeded. Across the country there is widespread and ongoing
opposition to CETA and how it permits monopolies to usurp public
authority and decision-making power. As the organizers of the London
action point out, "Together we will mark the historic resistance
to the CETA trade pact by city councils from Victoria to Thunder Bay to
Toronto. These municipal governments, along with dozens of others,
including London, represent the first ever cross-country resistance to
a corporate trade pact. The CETA gives corporations the right to
directly sue governments if new laws
or regulations impact their profits. It also removes the right of
municipalities to govern local assets publicly, in favour of
privatization and foreign corporate management." Amongst other things,
these monopolies will seek to make a fortune by replacing unionized
municipal jobs with low-paying jobs with lower working conditions, that
will result in lower quality and/or reduced services to the public.
Already such European monopolies are operating in health care, in
housekeeping and food services, with dire consequences for the workers
This summit between Canada and the EU comes amidst
municipal election campaigns across Ontario, with election day on
October 27. Candidates should be elected who take a stand against CETA
and monopoly right, and who fight to defend the public interest.
Farmers are another sector
that is opposed to CETA for how it will undermine their ability to
control the sale of their goods and protect their livelihoods and the
important role farming plays in Canada's economy. In its leaflet
entitled, "Why We Don't Want CETA," the National Farmers Union (NFU)
writes, "CETA adds
precautionary seizure provisions to intellectual property rights'
enforcement. This means that farmers accused of having a patented gene
in their crops or seed could lose their farms, crops, equipment and
cash -- simply for alleged infringement. The Agreement would extend
precautionary seizure provisions to third
parties. For example, the owner of a seed cleaning operation whose
customer is accused of patent infringement could also have his/her
property seized. These expanded intellectual property rights
enforcement tools would increase corporate control of our farms,
increase seed costs, and destroy farmers' autonomy."
The NFU also explains how CETA will undermine farmers' cooperative
marketing boards/supply management systems that provide them with a
stable income: "CETA signatories would agree to co-operate at the World
Trade Organization (WTO) to reduce agriculture safety net measures.
These negotiations also lay the groundwork and justification for
dismantling our supply management system in the future."
Even some corporations oppose CETA because it does not
serve their particular interests. Amongst those expressing opposition
to CETA are members of the Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA) who
are concerned that CETA may hurt Canada's short sea shipping industry,
its workers and suppliers
and shippers. A press statement says:
"The CSA is concerned about the lack of transparency in
the CETA negotiations and the fact that access to trades between
Canadian ports may be given to EU carriers who employ international
labour at much lower rates, do not pay Canadian taxes or employ
Canadian workers and are not regulated to rigorous
Transport Canada safety and operating standards for Canadian flag
vessels. Canadian flag short sea shipping vessels are specially
designed for Canada's inland and coastal waters and to meet Canadian
requirements. Unable to leave Canada and compete against cheaper
international competition, the Canadian crewed,
Canadian owned and regulated Canadian flagged domestic fleet will be
hurt if Canadian cabotage rules are reduced to allow any international
vessels access to Canadian markets."
"Our mariners possess unique local knowledge that
ensures that Canadian waters are safely transited, respected and
protected," said CSA President Robert Lewis-Manning. "We need to ensure
that these jobs remain in Canada," he said. The CSA expressed these
views before the House of Commons Standing Committee
on International Trade in February 2014, the press release says.
TML calls on everyone to go all out to
participate in the actions to oppose CETA and spread the word about its
dangers and the need to oppose it. It is by organizing with one's peers
to participate in such actions and inform others that people gain
confidence and can negate the disempowering attacks
of the ruling elite and defeat sellout trade deals like CETA and their
traitorous proponents like the Harper government. Canadians must demand
and work out how to set a new direction for the economy that upholds
rights and sovereignty and restricts monopoly right.
See also these recent articles from TML Weekly,
- No. 31:
Secrecy, Sellout and Lies
• Leaked CETA
Agreement Thoroughly Upholds Monopoly Right to Smash Public Right -
Together We Can Stop CETA!
from Canada and the European Union will meet at
a ceremony in Ottawa to officially announce that negotiations for the
Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are
finished and the text has been finalized.
While CETA negotiations have been ongoing since 2009, no
official texts of the agreement have ever been released to the public,
and there has been no opportunity for public scrutiny of CETA.
But after September 26, there will be no way to make
changes to the agreement.
While the Harper government and the European Union have
ignored calls for transparency and democracy by finalizing the deal
behind closed doors, the fight to stop CETA is far from over. Come hear
from activists from Canada and Europe about the CETA threat, and how we
can make sure CETA is never
Leaks of the text have revealed that CETA will have
far-reaching impacts on both sides of the Atlantic, including:
- Giving corporations the right to directly sue
governments in unaccountable international tribunals for compensation
if new laws or regulations impact their profits
- Increasing the cost of pharmaceuticals in our health
care system by a $1 billion or more per year
- Putting thousands of Canadian jobs at risk by opening
up key parts of maritime shipping to European corporations
- Putting our public services at risk and making it
harder to reverse failed privatizations or expand public services in
- Removing the rights of provinces, municipalities,
schools and hospitals to get the most out of their procurement dollars
by favouring local goods and services
Getting to Ottawa:
The Seafarers International Union is
organizing buses to Ottawa to participate in the rally, leaving from
Montreal, Quebec City, Thorold, and Toronto the morning of September
26. To reserve a seat on the bus, email Verena at
Foreign Investment Promotion and
Undermining Public Authority in the
Name of High Ideals
On September 12, the Harper
government issued a press release announcing that it has ratified the
Canada-China Foreign Investment and Promotion Agreement. The agreement
was signed by Stephen Harper during his 2012 visit to China and has
been waiting ratification by the Harper cabinet since then. This
is the latest in a series of neo-liberal trade agreements the Harper
Conservatives have been aggressively pushing through since coming to
office. Their aim is to destroy public authority both at home and
abroad to facilitate the free flow of finance capital both into and out
There are currently foreign investment protection
agreements (FIPAs) in effect between Canada and 21 other countries.
FIPAs with several other countries have been negotiated and are
awaiting ratification by the parties. Investor protection clauses are
also included in the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
between Canada and the European Union which has been signed but not yet
Each FIPA is negotiated separately but the investor
protection agreements Canada has signed typically involve reciprocal
arrangements for establishing dispute arbitration tribunals. These
tribunals can be used by a foreign investor to claim financial
compensation if environmental, social or economic laws in the
host country have a negative impact on the investor's profit or other
interests. These arbitration tribunals operate outside and above the
judicial system of the host countries. The tribunals are private
commercial entities but their decisions are given the force of law
through the international treaties that create them.
The effect of empowering investor protection tribunals
is to weaken the ability of the public authority at any level to impose
restrictions on the activities of investors within its jurisdiction.
Investor protection agreements have been a key element in the
neo-liberal globalization of trade since the 1980s. They are
part of the neo-liberal offensive aimed at depriving people of having
any say about important issues so international monopolies can operate
freely throughout the world as they see fit. In Canada and globally,
working people, indigenous peoples and others have been struggling to
block this offensive.
Opening China to Canadian Banks
While many FIPAs have been negotiated by the current and
previous governments with complete unanimity among the ruling elite and
without any regard to the widespread opposition of people to
neo-liberal trade measures, the case of the Canada-China FIPA
is unfolding differently. It has been riddled with controversy as rival
monopoly groups have worked to gain advantage by lining people up
behind their particular interests with respect to China.
The source of this controversy is the incoherence of the
hegemonic U.S. strategy on China, in which the entire ruling elite of
Canada and the monopolies based here are totally entangled. This is a
strategy of trying to contain China economically, diplomatically and
militarily, while at the same time seeking to
penetrate Chinese markets and access Chinese investment funds.
Among the monopolies that have important interests at
stake in China and hope to benefit from the Canada-China FIPA are the
Canadian-based banking and insurance monopolies. It was these investors
that Harper and Canadian trade officials were negotiating on behalf of
when they sat down to work out an agreement
for undermining public authority in order to protect investor interests.
Companies in the financial services and insurance sector
account for 40 per cent of all foreign direct investment originating in
Canada. Most of this investment until now has flowed into the U.S. as
part of the trend of consolidation of North American monopolies. But
foreign investment by the Canadian financial
services and insurance sector has been growing by an average of seven
per cent per year for the last 10 years and new growing markets are
needed to keep the bonanza going. Canadian banks and insurance
companies are eager to expand into China where the financial, business
and professional services are the fastest growing
This is why the first to applaud the Harper government's
ratification of the FIPA was the Toronto Financial Services Alliance
(TFSA), a political organization of banks and insurance companies with
head offices in Toronto. On the same day as the ratification was
announced, the TFSA issued a press release saying,
"With Canada's financial industry growing its global footprint, the
federal government's focus on expanding international trade and
investment agreements, such as FIPA and the Canada-European Union
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are welcome."
The press release quotes TFSA President Janet Ecker as
saying, "Canada and China have a strong and growing economic
relationship which includes the financial services sector. Some of our
financial companies have been involved with China for literally decades
and these business relationships are growing.... This agreement
will help support the growth of these business opportunities between
our two countries by providing stronger protection and a more
predictable, transparent investment environment for Canadian companies."
One of the main beneficiaries of investor protection
agreements is clearly the banks and insurance companies. This is the
case not only with the Canada-China FIPA but also with the FIPAs signed
with 21 other countries and investor protection clauses in free trade
agreements. These are the monopolies based
in Canada with the sale of resources and the ambition for "growing
their global footprint." But there is nothing of benefit for Canadian
working people in these agreements and the further weakening public
authority over international investors through these agreements leaves
important public interests unprotected.
The Harper Conservatives are out of step with working people. People
are demanding more restrictions on international finance capital, not
For Your Information
Chinese Foreign Direct Investment
U.S. imperialism is gripped in crisis and compelled to
resort to the most incoherent strategies to save itself. One of these
incoherent strategies concerns China. The U.S. is simultaneously
attempting to contain China economically,
diplomatically and militarily while increasing its penetration of
Chinese markets and access to Chinese investment funds. The ruling
elite in Canada and the monopolies based here are totally entangled in
One of the tactics of the publicists serving this
U.S.-led project is to grossly distort the role of China in the direct
foreign investment market. Chinese companies, especially state-owned
enterprises, are presented as behemoths flooding investments into every
corner of the world, including Canada. This narrative
serves as a justification for countries imposing limits on Chinese
investments while at the same time hiding the reality of U.S.
In fact, while Chinese foreign investment has been
increasing since the 2008 financial crisis, its role in direct foreign
investment markets is primarily as a destination, not a source, of
investment. China's foreign investment is still dwarfed by global
investments of monopolies based in the U.S. and in the EU countries,
both in terms of annual flows and accumulated investment stock.
The U.S. dominates global direct investment with 24 per
cent of the total investment stock. EU countries, taken as a group,
account for 40 per cent of outward direct investment stock. Accumulated
foreign direct investment stock by China accounts for 2.3 per cent of
the global total.
China's total stock of foreign direct investment
globally stands at $613 billion compared to $6,349 billion for the U.S.
In 2013, the foreign investment flow from China to other countries was
$101 billion, seven per cent of the global total. U.S. companies that
year invested $338 billion in other countries, 24 per cent
of all foreign investment.
Even compared to Canada, foreign direct investment flow
from China is relatively small. Canadian-based companies have $732
billion in accumulated foreign investment stock globally, $119 billion
more than China. Annual foreign direct investment flows from Canada
were more than double Chinese foreign
investment until the 2008 crisis when the flow of investment from China
surpassed the flow from Canada.
With respect to Canada, both the direction of investment
flows and the accumulation of investment stock reflect the total
integration of North American monopolies. In 2013, U.S. investment into
Canada increased by $32 billion to a total of $352 billion and
investments of Canadian-based monopolies into the U.S.
increased by $28 billion to total investment of $312 billion.
Accumulated Chinese investment stock in Canada amounts
to $16.7 billion, most of which flowed into Canada in response to the
2008 financial crisis. Between 2008 and 2012, Chinese direct investment
to Canada averaged $2.4 billion a year. But even in this period of
higher Chinese flow into Canada, Chinese
investment still represented only seven per cent of foreign investment
in Canada. Chinese investment in Canada fell off during 2012 and 2013
following measures by the Canadian government to contain China. Chinese
investment flow to Canada was $1 billion in 2012 and $300 million in
Privatization of Atomic Energy Canada
Harper Government Completes the Destruction of Public
Control of Nuclear Energy and Science
Nuclear scientists hold
information picket at Chalk River September 9, 2014.
Members of the Professional Institute of the Public
Canada (PIPSC) and the Chalk River Professional Employees Group (CRPEG)
held an information picket outside Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
(AECL) facilities in Chalk River, Ontario on September 9, to draw
attention to the threatened loss
of nuclear workers' defined benefit government pensions.
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the department
AECL, is currently attempting to semi-privatize the laboratories under
a new government-owned, contractor-operated (GoCo) management model,
which threatens to remove scientists,' engineers,' and other employees'
promises of a secure retirement
and will endanger staff recruitment and retention.
A press release from PIPS and CRPEG pointed out,
continues to supply an enormous part of Canada's overall energy needs
as well as our medical, industrial and innovation requirements. Canada
needs this expertise and it should continue to be fairly compensated
and secured by the continued
promise of a decent pension."
CPREG members are currently in contract negotiations. On
September 17, the CPREG executive reported that, "We received
overwhelming support from the membership [on September 16], giving the
Negotiations Team the strike mandate."
This latest attack on the scientists, engineers and
working in the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories of AECL is one of the
final acts of the Harper Conservatives in their drive to destroy public
control of the assets and technology developed for more than 60 years
Privatization of AECL and Government Interference at
the Chalk River Labs
Earlier this year, TML reported on "The
Privatization of Atomic Energy Canada," a Crown corporation, by the
That article pointed out, "The privatization of AECL is
example of the role of the Harper government in the service of monopoly
corporations. The outright gift to SNC Lavalin of one of the most
valuable assets in Canada is another massive transfer of public assets
to the private sector."
AECL was sold to SNC Lavalin in 2011. Within months of
the sale, SNC
Lavalin was able to acquire more than $1 billion worth of contracts in
Canada and internationally. SNC Lavalin is now guaranteed many more
billions of dollars in profits refurbishing CANDU reactors or building
new reactors in Ontario
and all over the world.
The sale did not include the Chalk River Labs and the
Research Universal Reactor (NRU) which is located there. The Chalk
River Labs, besides conducting important research in nuclear energy and
science, also manufactures medical radioisotopes. It is the
world's largest supplier of Molybdenum-99
for diagnostic tests and Cobalt-60 for cancer therapy.
Through AECL, the Crown corporation, the government
ownership of the Chalk River Labs but even at the time of the sale
Harper declared that he intended to take the Canadian government "out
of the business of medical isotope production."
All along the intention of the Harper government was to
turn a much
needed and important medical procedure into a business opportunity for
its friends in the private sector. It was only a matter of time before
the Chalk River facility, which was the last remaining part of AECL,
would also be privatized and
its important role in producing medical isotopes would be removed from
public control and ultimately shut down.
In November 2013, Babcock & Wilcox Company of
Carolina made the following announcement, "The Babcock & Wilcox
Company (B&W) (NYSE:BWC) is pleased to announce a teaming
arrangement with Cavendish Nuclear Ltd. (Cavendish Nuclear) and
Battelle in pursuit of the Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated (GOCO)
contract for managing Atomic Energy
of Canada Ltd.'s (AECL) Nuclear Laboratories."
It is this "GOCO" model which has been implemented for
management of the Chalk River Labs which is detrimentally affecting the
working conditions and pension benefits of scientists, engineers and
technicians. At their information picket in Chalk River, AECL personnel
denounced the GOCO management
model which they said would "deprive current and future AECL scientists
and engineers of a secure retirement and is not the way to ensure
Canada's nuclear labs attract and retain the best and the brightest."
Future Medical Isotope Shortage a Government-Created
Harper dictatorship's attack on the people working at the Chalk River
Labs is one of the final steps of its plans to complete the
privatization of AECL and take this important scientific institution
out of public control. The Harper
government has made it clear that its goal is to completely shut down
isotope production at Chalk River by 2016. Scientists and doctors in
the fields of diagnostics and nuclear medicine have warned that the
consequences of this decision will be a government created isotope
shortage with severe consequences for
people who need cancer therapy and diagnostic tests. Closing Chalk
River's isotope production means that up to 40 per cent of the world's
supply will vanish with no new supplier capable of filling the void.
Dr. Normand Laurin, President of the Canadian
Association of Nuclear
Medicine addressed this issue and said, "I don't want to sound alarmist
but it's going to have medical consequences. There are people who are
going to be denied care, or have a different kind of care that might
not be the best for them."
Across Canada, 20,000 patients undergo nuclear imaging
every week and the field of nuclear medicine is growing around the
world. Supported by the work of AECL, Canada has been an international
leader and the world's largest single supplier of medical isotopes used
in nuclear imaging for more
than 50 years. The Harper government wants to end all that!
One such change concerns MDS Nordion, which has been in
since 1991 when AECL decided to spin off its medical isotope production
business under the name Nordion International Inc. The unit was later
sold to MDS Health Group and has operated in Ottawa since then under
the name MDS Nordion.
The omnibus budget bill (Bill C-31) which the
through the House of Commons this past spring, using closure to limit
debate, contains a section called, "Nordion and Theratronics
Divestiture Authorization Act." The amendments introduced through the
budget legislation permits ownership
and control of Nordion Canada Inc. to be held by non-residents of
Canada. This paved the way for the former Crown corporation to be sold
to a U.S. corporation and is another direct attack on the production
and supply of medical isotopes from Chalk River.
Within days of the passing of Harper's omnibus budget
bill, the sale
of Nordion to American conglomerate Sterigenics was completed. Nordion,
which is a crucial link in the chain of medical isotope production is
now under the control of this giant U.S. corporation that has its
tentacles in health care, financial
capital investment and many other holdings in different sectors of the
Dr. Laurin pointed out that, "The sale of Nordion
represents the end of the road for the Canadian nuclear medicine file."
In a recent news release Nordion bluntly warned that,
company is unable to secure a long-term supply of medical isotopes it
may exit the reactor-based medical isotope segment of its business."
The Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD also issued a
warns about the impending crisis if Nordion's isotope processing
capacity was to disappear. The report says, "The loss of Canada's
processing capacity in the second half of 2016 reduces current global
processing capacity by approximately
25 per cent in that period." It also warns that there is "an increased
supply shortages beginning as soon as next year.
Dr. Laurin also commented:
"Getting out of it, I think is a mistake. It will mean a
Canadian know-how and expertise. Very good science will be lost,
business and jobs are going to go elsewhere or be lost altogether, so I
personally think it's a mistake. I may be biased because I am a
physician and I need what's being made at Chalk
River for patient care. But if you look at it from a Canadian point of
view, I think it's a loss for the entire community, not just Ontario,
but all of Canada."
Behind the looming crisis in medical isotope supply,
which is of
such great concern to medical experts, is the sinister hand of the
Harper Conservatives who are more than eager to sacrifice this
important part of public health care for Canadians. Through the
destruction of public control over the field of nuclear
medicine, the Harper government intends to enrich its friends in the
with a huge business opportunity. The obsession of the Harper
government to rely on the "market" to solve the problem of the
long-term isotope supply will result in putting Canadians at the mercy
of private corporations for this important medical
procedure. There is no doubt that this will result in higher prices and
greater delays in treatment because alternative processes like PET
scans (positron emission topography) are more expensive and because
private isotope suppliers are primarily motivated by increasing their
private profits, not serving the public interest.
Nuclear Science Must Remain Under Public Control
concerted attack on nuclear science has been waged at the expense of
the people working in this field. Thousands of jobs at all levels have
been lost due to privatization and cutbacks and now the remaining
engineers, technicians and maintenance workers are facing attacks on
their working conditions and benefits, including pension benefits, in
an effort to drive them out of the industry.
It is impossible to calculate the potential growth of
revenues that has been squandered by the greed of the Harper
Conservatives. If AECL was not destroyed, the development of new
reactors, the refurbishing of CANDU reactors in Ontario and all over
the world and the advancement in nuclear science
could have been directed to benefit the public good. Instead the most
profitable parts have been handed to SNC Lavalin and the research labs
have been turned over to the private nuclear industry. In addition, the
intentional wrecking of medical isotope production will have a
devastating effect for the hundreds of
thousands of Canadians as well as people the world over whose lives
depend on these technologies. The effect will be felt for many years
not just by the physicians who will be unable to provide proper care
for their patients, but also in terms of the increased cost to the
health care system which will certainly be
imposed by monopoly corporations who will be in control of medical
We are dealing with a government for which the needs of
nothing. It has done everything in its power to ensure that, whether in
nuclear science or other sectors of the economy, private interests are
given the opportunity to make super profits at the expense of all
Canadians. This cannot be allowed
The Harper Conservatives must be deprived of the
political and economic power to deprive the people of their rights.
1. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of
represents approximately 55,000 professionals and scientists across
Canada's public sector, including some 750 engineers and scientists at
AECL's Chalk River site. They are responsible for supporting the safe
operation of CANDU nuclear reactors,
managing radioactive waste from across Canada, providing expert opinion
and advice to the government on national and international nuclear
issues and operating nuclear reactors which produce medical isotopes
used for diagnostic purposes world-wide.
2. See TML Daily,
January 24, 2914 - No.3.
3. Bill C-31 -- Economic Action Plan 2014 Act.
No 1 Part 6 Division 12 -- Overview: Nordion and
Theratronics Divestiture Authorization Act
The amendments to the Nordion and Theratronics
Divestiture Authorization Act
will permit ownership and control of Nordion (Canada) Inc. to be held
by non-residents of Canada, subject to the requirements of the Investment
Act including to ensure that such ownership or control
is of net benefit to Canada and does not raise national security
4. Quotes from Dr. Normand Laurin, President of the
Association of Nuclear Medicine come from an interview on CBC Radio on
May 24, 2014.
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