Doha is dead: moratorium needed to rethink a new model of trade

Civil Society Groups call on their Trade Ministers to build a multilateral trade system that is just, sustainable and democratic

Responding to the release of new negotiating texts at the WTO, civil society groups from all over the world sent letters to their Trade Ministers, calling on them to acknowledge the failure of the Doha Round.

“We believe that the time has come to officially declare the Doha Round of the WTO negotiations dead and to provide the necessary space to re-think the kind of multilateral trade rules that are needed to create employment and achieve sustainable development,” the letter states. It was signed by over 90 civil society organizations from more than 35 countries, both developed and developing.

Ever since the launch of the Round in 2001, people all over the world, including farmers, fisherfolk, workers and trade unionists, environmentalists, faith-based groups and other civil society organizations, have been denouncing the Doha talks as paying little attention to peoples’ rights and needs. “Doha was supposed to be the ‘development’ round. But what has transpired over the intervening six years has been quite the opposite”, the letter states.

The civil society groups say that it is becoming clear that the current model of trade cannot deliver on the alleged goal of the Doha Round – to promote development and lift millions of people out of poverty – and that WTO Members will never be able to agree on a deal within the current parameters. The groups ask Trade Ministers to:

  • Acknowledge the failure of the Doha Round
  • Institute a two year moratorium to provide the time and space necessary to re-think the model and process of global trade negotiations.
  • Stimulate public discussion and debate with governments and civil society about creating alternative trade regimes

A number of groups from the Philippines signed the letter: the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), Focus on the Global South, Global Network Asia, IBON Foundation, Inc., Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN), PAKISAMA, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and Tebtebba.

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