“We reject the revival of the Doha round”
An open letter to WTO director general Pascal Lamy and the ASEAN Heads of State Cebu City, Republic of the Philippines, 9 December 2006
We represent another group – a group that is never heard in the WTO or in the FTA negotiations – the “G” of the peoples.
Today we missed the opportunity to debate with WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, due to the postponement of the ASEAN Summit he was scheduled to attend.
We know what Mr Lamy would have said to the ASEAN leaders; he would have urged them to do their utmost to restart the Doha negotiations and to conclude the round as soon as possible, all in the name of “development”.
No doubt the heads of state would have agreed with Lamy, in spite of the opposition of millions of their citizens to the Doha round and ignoring the clear evidence of the suffering and exploitation caused by reckless and unfair trade liberalization.
If we had the chance to debate Lamy as planned, we would have reiterated the demand that hundreds of social movements, trade unions, and CSOs have expressed on countless occasions in every corner of the globe: there is no “development” in the Doha round and it should be buried once and for all.
We reject all attempts to revive the Doha round, knowing that in the three major areas of negotiations — agriculture, NAMA and services — the majority of proposals under discussion are designed to protect and promote the interests of the rich countries.
What’s more, we would have insisted that developing countries should not be railroaded and their interests should not be compromised, simply to come up with a package that is “attractive” enough to persuade the US Congress to extend the Trade Promotion Authority (“fast track”).
If we had the chance to meet with the ASEAN heads of state, we would have reminded them that they are members of the G20, the G33, the NAMA-11 and the G90 and as such they should support and defend the positions and interests of the developing countries. They should not compromise or feel obliged to “save” the Doha round at any price. The world will not collapse if the Doha round fades into history.
Furthermore, we would have called on the ASEAN heads of state to stop the headlong rush into bilateral and regional free trade agreements, including those packaged as economic partnership agreements. These FTAs and EPAs are nothing more than “WTO plus” agreements that pose the same, if not greater, threats to the people. In particular we would have expressed our strong opposition to the upcoming EU-ASEAN and China-ASEAN agreements on the grounds that both will subordinate the peoples of ASEAN and their resources to the interests of corporations and finance.
Our vision of a fair trading system is one built around the principles of food sovereignty, decent work, job creation and secure livelihoods, worker’s rights, universal access to services, women’s equality and rights, the ethics of care/social reproduction, democratic participation in decision making and protecting the environment.
This will be never achieved through the Doha round or the FTAs. These flawed agreements must be buried. Its time to build a new trading system built from the bottom up.
Alliance of Progressive Labor
Alternative Information and Development Center (AIDC), South Africa
Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmers’ Forum India)
BMP (Solidarity of Filipino Workers)
Federation of Indonesian Peasant Union (FSPI)
Focus on the Global South
Freedom from Debt Coalition
FTA Watch Thailand
Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong
Humanitarian Group for Social Development, Lebanon
Institute of Global Justice, Indonesia
International Gender and Trade Network (IGTN)
Japan Family Farmers Movement, NOUMINREN
Jubilee South – Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (Movement for National Democracy)
Kilusang Mangingisda (Fisherfolk Movement, Philippines)
Migrant Forum in Asia
Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN), Malaysia
Stop the New Round Coalition
Stop the New Round Coalition – Cebu
Womyns Agenda for Change, Cambodia
To sign on to this statement, please email [email protected]