Most reports on the inability of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to conclude Doha Round negotiations focus on disagreements between China and the United States on “sectorals,” or they focus on emerging resistance to new market access demands from the USA, a coalition of NGOs has said in a joint statement.
But an under-recognized and extremely significant story is the underlying cause of the breakdown: the growing realization that the Doha Round – and the corporate globalization model of the WTO itself – offers no solution to the global employment, food, and financial crises, the coalition, named “Our World Is Not For Sale” said in its statement.
In fact, the rules embodied within the WTO actually help set the stage for these types of crises.
New documents just released on April 21st fail to address these problems, leaving the Doha Round ever farther from a conclusion.
Thus, a global agenda of job-led growth and sustainable development necessitates pruning WTO constraints on national policy space.
The coalition member, the American NGO Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch described this agenda as an expansion of the same old WTO model.
“Doha Round talks have been mired for almost 10 years because this agenda is an expansion of the same old WTO model, yet people in numerous countries already have been damaged by that and, thus, governments have no appetite for more. Issuing new texts for the Doha Round is like putting new clothes on a moldering corpse, and no country needs be blamed for Doha’s demise because it was born fatally ill,” the organization member Lori Wallach said.
Third World Network-Africa in Ghana, a coalition member, heavily criticized the current agenda.
“The global financial and economic crisis has demonstrated Africa’s urgent and overriding need to transform its agriculture and to industrialize to move away from its dangerous dependence on exporting primary commodities to the rest of the world,” the group member Gyekye Tanoh said. He added that “A fair and equitable international trade regime must prioritize and support this.
However, driven by the agenda of the rich industrial countries, the deadlocked Doha talks aim to enshrine the exact opposite of what Africa needs. Doha proposes to chain Africa to its tragic past. To move forward to a better future, Africa must move away from Doha”.
The “Our World is not for Sale” (OWINFS) network is a loose grouping of organizations, activists and social movements worldwide fighting the current model of corporate globalization embodied in the global trading system.
OWINFS is committed to a sustainable, socially just, democratic and accountable multilateral trading system.