At the 6th Ministerial of the World Trade Organization last December 2005, the big trading superpowers were able to pull out a deal at the last minute, which, if fully implemented, will be severely detrimental to the majority of the world’s peoples. The deal in Hong Kong has given the multilateral institution new momentum and if unchallenged, the WTO will be able to conclude the so-called Doha “Development” Round by the end of 2006. And the next major opportunities for us to affect these negotiations are at the coming talks to finalize the modalities on Agriculture and Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) in the last week of April and at the next General Council Meeting in Geneva on May 2006. 

It was with this sense of urgency that representatives of social movements, NGOs and trade activists from 14 countries gathered here in Bangkok, Thailand on February 28-March 1, to map out a strategy and action plan to prevent the round from concluding in 2006.

We urge others to join us in implementing the following program of action:


We demand that Agriculture and food be taken out of the WTO. 

We reject the current framework on Agriculture in the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, which institutionalizes the unfair and destructive export oriented agricultural paradigm by allowing the increase of subsidies that cause dumping. We call on developing countries to resist the demands of developed countries for greater market access and liberalization in agriculture. We reject the notion that the promise to end export subsidies by 2013 is a real gain for developing countries and we condemn the developed countries’ demand for greater market access to developing countries in exchange for this non-offer. Export subsidies should have ended during the Uruguay Round.

We demand the immediate implementation of the Dispute Settlement Body decision on cotton and demand real compensation for cotton farmers in Africa. We also call for real disciplines to be urgently placed on food aid to prevent further dumping. We demand real special and differential treatment by allowing developing countries to self designate Special Products (SP) and Special Safeguard Mechanisms (SSM) without limitations and conditionalities. We call on developing country governments, particularly those belonging to the G33, to resist the watering down of the SP/SSM provisions and push for the demands of small farmers to not reduce tariffs and reinstate quantitative restrictions on agricultural products. 

We call on our governments to give meaningful support to small scale family-based farmers, promote alternative ways of farming and ensure food sovereignty for all peoples.

– We will petition our governments and launch campaigns for reinstating of quantitative restrictions to check the impact from cheap subsidized imports from developed countries.
– We commit to mobilize farm unions, womens groups, landless laborers, tribals and indigenous groups and social movements to prevent the further movement of negotiations in the Doha Development Round on Agriculture.
– We plan several rallies, protests and educational seminars at the national level before the April 30 deadline of Agriculture negotiations.


In services, we reiterate our rejection of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) which pushes for the privatization of public services. We reject Annex C which fast tracks the GATS and removes developing countries options to protect its essential services. We call on developing countries to resist the push to enter into plurilateral negotiations and to fight for the right for countries to put in place and strengthen domestic regulation.  

– We will conduct popular education to unions and ordinary people, translating technical terms into simpler terms and producing visual materials
– We will give special focus on supporting campaigns and efforts in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and work together as a region.
– We will strengthen national campaigns, integrate the human rights campaign and involve local media. 


We reject the agreements on Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA). The adoption of the ambitious Swiss formula will deal the death-blow to the already ailing industries in the developing countries and would set back the development gains made. The binding of tariffs under this formula will severely limit developing countries’ policy space. If fully implemented, NAMA will cause de-industrialization and unemployment across the region. Even the promises of “duty-free, quota-free” market access to LDCs will not give meaningful access to products of interest to LDCs.

We call on developing countries to resist the push for drastic cuts proposed by developed countries and to demand for real flexibilities.

– We will ring the alarm bells on NAMA and expose the disastrous effects of NAMA.
– We will conduct popular education, producing research papers, campaign materials and videos to mobilize people
– We will encourage as many affected sectors as possible to write letters, send petitions to our governments to list our demands.
– We will focus our energies on critical sectors: Critical sectors: Textiles and clothing, Automotives, Metal, Fisheries, Electronics, Food and Beverage and Leather
– We will expose the “illusory” gains of “duty-free, quota-free” market access to LDCs
– We will reach out to as many groups as possible especially unions and call for an international mobilization on NAMA.


While we commit to struggle against the WTO, we will also campaign against bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) that push for the same neoliberal policies of the WTO. The current FTA negotiations allow the powerful countries to advance their agendas of fast tracking investment, strengthening intellectual property right rules and service liberalization onto the developing countries. These agreements will negatively impact on the livelihoods, food security and rights of majority of the people. Most of the time, they go further than the WTO agreements and they deepen the liberalisation process.

– We will convince our partners at local levels of the dangers of bilateral FTAs in our campaign
– We will demand greater transparency and information disclosure on negotiations
– We will look closely into the ASEAN and the various regional trade agreements and their possible impact 
– We will develop networking with civil society groups and social movements in developed countries in order to do concerted actions
– We will give special focus to sectoral issues such as access to medicine and agriculture


We oppose the Aid for Trade measures in the Hong Kong Declaration on the grounds that it reinforces an economic order that is based on unfair terms of trade, debt and dependency. Aid for Trade and in fact the entire “development package” in the Hong Kong Declaration, is a smokescreen to divert attention away from the fact that the current round of negotiations is not about development at all, but about securing the offensive economic interests of developed countries. Most Aid for Trade proposals are focused on trade facilitation, trade related “capacity building” and establishing trade infrastructure in LDCs and other low-income developing countries to ensure that their markets are opened up to the commercial interests of rich countries.  The real aim of the scheme is to enable developing countries to comply with their WTO commitments.

A significant portion of this so called aid will be in the form of loans, which will dictate national trade policies in developing countries and drag them even deeper into debt and dependency.  Particularly alarming is the central role that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and regional development banks such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are likely to play in Aid for Trade proposals, through expanding the Integrated Framework for Trade Related Capacity Building (IF) and other similar mechanisms that will integrate WTO compatible trade liberalization with structural adjustment and sectoral reform policies.  Loans and these policies have already proved to be the primary causes of economic stagnation and increased inequality, unemployment, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, poor health and distress migration in the “adjusted” countries.

– We will expose the “development package” as an empty and dangerous promise by showing that developing countries and LDCs have nothing to gain from it.
– We will work closely with movements and groups working on debt cancellation and the international financial institutions (IFIs) to expose the role of IFIs in tightening the grip of the WTO regime in developing countries, especially the LDCs.
– We will educate the public and elected representatives in developing countries about the anti-development nature of the so-called development package.


We commit to mobilize at the national, regional and international levels on the following key dates:

– March 2 onwards: Trial of the two anti-WTO political prisoners in Hong Kong
– April 30: Finalization of modalities on Agriculture and NAMA
– May 3-6: Asian Development Bank Annual Governors Meeting (AGM) in Hyderabad, India
– May 15-16: WTO General Council, Geneva
– April 22-23: IMF/WB Spring Meetings, Washington DC
– July 27-28: WTO General Council, Geneva
– July 31: Deadline of submission of second round of revised offers in Services
– September 19-20: IMF/WB Annual Meetings, Singapore

We commit to monitor closely the developments in Geneva, coordinate with Geneva-based groups, mobilize and bring a strong Asian voice to pressure governments and negotiators in Geneva. We also commit to support each other in our national campaigns and efforts to prevent the conclusion of the Doha Round of negotiations. We stand together in solidarity with our comrades who are undergoing a trial in Hong Kong for the protests last December. We commit to stand together in solidarity and work together in building and strengthening peoples’ alternatives.

Endorsed by:

Alliance of Progressive Labor, Philippines
Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development ( AFA)
Asian Migrant Centre
Asian Partnership for the Development of Huiman Resources in Rural Asia ( AsiaDHRRA)
BMP/ Solidarity of Filipino Workers
Centre for Organization Research and Education, India (CORE)
Committee for Asian Women (CAW)
Community Development Library, Bangladesh
Cultural Action, Korea
Drug Study Group, Thailand.
Equations, India
Federasi Serikat Petani Indonesia (FSPI)
Focus on the Global South
Forum Asia
Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
FTA Watch Thailand
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU)
Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements
Institute of Global Justice (IGJ), Indonesia
Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)
Kilusang Mangingisda (Fisherfolk Movement) Philippines
La Via Campesina (South Asia)
Migrant Forum in Asia
National Confederation of Officers Associations (NCOA), India
People’s Action against Neoliberal Globalization, Korea
Stop the New Round! Coalition, Philippines
Women’s March Against Poverty and Globalization (WELGA!)
Womyn’s Agenda for Change, Cambodia

To endorse this program of action, please write to [email protected]