28-30 May 2004 Bangkok, Thailand
Following the collapse of the WTO's Cancun Ministerial in 2003 and given the fact that negotiations in the WTO and in the Free Trade Area of the Americas are currently stalled, the neoliberal trade liberalizing agenda appears to be losing momentum. Negative impacts on development and the environment are increasingly recognized, including by developing country governments, who are refusing to move forward with negotiations until at least some of these impacts are recognized and dealt with. Critically however, many governments and others are discouraged from being even more outspoken about their worries for fear of what the alternative might be. Many are convinced by those free traders who argue that the only alternative to the WTO is the law of the jungle. This myth needs to be demolished. There is no reason why societies cannot choose to manage their economies in fairer, progressive, more environmentally sustainable and democratic ways.
The Our World Is Not For Sale network therefore sees this as a highly opportune moment to gather together to discuss and explore views from across the world about existing and potential alternatives to corporate-driven trade liberalisation. It is intended that this dynamic and fully participatory process will contribute to the rapidly growing global debate about just what the alternatives are, identifying common goals and shared strategies, and acting as a springboard for further proactive campaigning on trade and economics.