Now a worldwide call to boycott American-made goods has been renewed over Washington's refusal to take part in a major nuclear test ban conference.

 

NGOs led by the Belgium-based Mother Earth say their global boycott campaign has already had a damaging effect on leading US brands.

 

Now they have reiterated their call to boycott US goods in protest against Washington’s refusal to take part in the conference which opens in Vienna on Wednesday.

 

 

Spokesman for Mother Earth Pol D’ Huyvetter told Aljazeera.net that the boycott call was a renewal of an earlier call that preceded the United States invasion of Iraq.

 

 “The boycott call has been very successful,” he said, adding that the brand image of various topline US products had suffered in the process.

 

According to a recent article in the London-based Independent, “of the top 10 global US-based firms, only one saw an increase in its brand-power compared with a year earlier. All of the others were either unchanged, which is bad enough, or in negative territory.”

 

Brands hit

 

The survey which was carried for the fifth time saw US brands starting to sink for the first time. In contrast, the survey showed gains for the best-known non-US brands, the article pointed out. The survey results were originally published in the Newsweek magazine.

Monument for 200,000 atomic
bomb victims in Hiroshima which
suffered the first nuclear attack

 

“The number of organisations around the world that are endorsing and spreading our call to boycott US goods is increasing and we expect this to continue,” D’Huyvetter said.

 

However, he cautioned: “This is a long-term action. It could go on for years,” the spokesman added.

 

The NGOs are incensed at the US decision to boycott the three-day Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) conference beginning in Vienna on 3 September.  North Korea is the other country that is boycotting the meeting.

 

The CTBT came about in 1996, following years of anti-nuclear actions and campaigns worldwide. The CTBT bans nuclear weapons test explosion anywhere in the world.

 

It also spells the end of testing the development of any existing nuclear weapon. 

 

According to Mother Earth, as on 30 April this year, 100 countries had ratified the treaty.  But it is crucial that 44 countries which possess nuclear reactors, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, should ratify the treaty. 

 

The list of 44 which have signed but not ratified the treaty include the US, Algeria, China, Colombia, Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Ukraine and Vietnam.

 

India, Pakistan and North Korea in the list of 44 have not yet signed the CTBT.

 

“The number of organisations around the world that are endorsing and spreading our call to boycott US goods is increasing and we expect this to continue"

Pol D'Huyvetter, spokesman, Mother Earth

Since 1945 there have been 2051 nuclear tests, adding up to an average of one nuclear explosion every 10 days for the past 58 years.

 

Morther earth campaigners say these statistics explain enormous human suffering in the form of cancers, birth defects and social upheaval, and environmental destruction.

 

"We need to prevent any new atomic tests in the future. Today we need to send a very strong signal to Washington whose military industrial complex is the motor of the arms race," said D'Huyvetter.

 

* Struggling fast-food giant McDonald has launched its first ever global advertising campaign on Tuesday using American teen idol, Justin Timberlake.

 

The world's largest-ever restaurant chain is trying to win back customers in the hope of posting gains in sales or operating profit by 2005.