About the recent failure of the WTO’s Doha Round

About the recent failure of the WTO’s Doha Round

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July 27, 2006

A few minutes ago I read an article by William Greider, called “Whither the WTO? ” (which follows).
I started looking for more info, specifically the briefing paper he mentions –

What I found though, were hundreds of news articles and press releases, some of which contradict each other so much, that I thought it be could to post it here

Whither the WTO?
In round-about fashion, the WTO’s failure represents belated vindication for the blue-green movement that arose in Seattle six years ago and the Global Social Forum launched later from Porto Alegre, Brazil. These bottom-up political mobilizations offered an alternative vision for globalization — not dominated by the desires and dictates of multinational corporations but by ideas of popular sovereignty and common human aspirations that are shared by people in vastly different trading nations. That promising movement was eclipsed by the drama of 9/11 and war in Iraq, but it was never really sidetracked. Many individual countries have already revolted against the “Washington Consensus” and even establishment experts are beginning to acknowledge its failures. Defeat for them in Geneva is an important marker of progress for those who can imagine a different world.

Indefinite Suspension of Doha Round
It’s not surprising that the Doha World Trade Organization (WTO) expansion talks have collapsed. The cause of this collapse is not specific countries’ unwillingness to concede on particular themes, but growing public opposition in poor and rich countries alike to the very WTO model based on a decade of peoples’ experience of this system’s damaging outcomes.

Around the world, people are breathing a sigh of relief that the WTO expansion talks have broken down, because the proposed Doha Round would have further impoverished the world’s poorest, limited democratic control over domestic health, development and other policies and devastated the environment.

Vatican Statement on latest Doha Round mini-ministerial

The results of the Mini-Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), held on 29-30 June 2006, can only regrettably be characterized as a deadlock. This impasse, however, stands in stark contrast to the intensity of the commitment demonstrated by the negotiators and the WTO’s staff, who had set out with a noble vision to conclude the Doha Round with a consensus. For this commitment – which is complex due to the objective difficulty to mediate between so many States with different interests and expectations – and for the hope it promises, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace wishes, first of all, to express its appreciation.

WTO talks: Collapse may hit poor economies
The collapse of trade liberalization talks could cost the global economy billions of dollars and risk a surge in protectionism and ill-will among the US, the European Union and others unable to solve disagreements, officials and analysts said.

Experts said the world’s poorest nations would lose out as rich and emerging WTO members focus on separate pacts with one another.

“The very poorest would have had new opportunities without having to put in place any measures that would have created new competition for them,” said Keith Rockwell, spokesman for WTO director-general Pascal Lamy, on Tuesday.

WTO Talks Collapse : Good News for the Developing World
The illegitimate Mini Ministerial which the WTO’s Director General Pascal Lamy convened in Geneva came to a standstill as the US refused to offer further cuts in their domestic supports, whilst at the same time demanding that the developing world reduce their agricultural tariffs.

The collapse of talks is good news for the developing world. Assessments of the outcome of the Doha Round, from a variety of institutions, including the World Bank and the EU’s own Sustainability Impact Assessment, have already predicted that the Round would have adverse impacts on the poorest countries, particularly countries in Africa. Both the US and the EU have been aggressive in demanding for market access in industrial products, and the US for more access in agriculture. Yet despite being the prime culprits for dumping their agricultural products on the world market, causing destruction to the livelihoods of subsistence farmers, both these giants have only offered cosmetic cuts in their agricultural domestic supports.

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