#End WTO and Resist the Free Trade Regime

One of the key components of the Bali Package which will decide the outcome of the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali is the India proposal, on behalf of G-33, on food stockholding for food security purposes. This proposal aims to widen ‘policy space’ by changing the Agreement of Agriculture (AOA)[1] in order to ensure food security of large populations of hungry Indians. This will also allow India’s government to continue procurement of wheat and rice at the minimum support price (MSP) from low-income resource-poor producers (comprising approx.

The Bali package is an agreement on a few elements of the Doha agenda that is expected to be delivered at the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali.

The ‘early harvest’ or Bali package has three main components or pillars: trade facilitation, agriculture, and a package for least developed country Members (LDC).

Trade facilitation: the “low-hanging fruit”

The Doha Development Round, also called the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), is the current trade-negotiation round of the WTO. It has now reached its thirteenth year since it started during the Fourth Ministerial-level meeting in Doha, Qatar in November 2001 with the objective of lowering trade barriers globally to help facilitate the increase of global trade. Succeeding ministerial meetings took place in Cancun, Mexico in 2003, and Hong Kong in 2005.

The Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting in 2005 is considered by Asian movements a milestone in the campaign against the WTO.  But despite the massive and militant protests in Hong Kong and across the globe, the ministerial resulted in an official declaration that paved the way for the continuation of the Doha talks after the two successive collapses in Seattle (1999) and Cancun (2003. In December 2013, the WTO goes back to Asia when the 9th Ministerial Meeting  takes place in Bali, Indonesia. It is important to retrace the Doha negotiations from Hong Kong to Bali.

 

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