The Road to Doha: Divisions & Dissent on New WTO Round

  • Prelude to Doha: An untransparent, manipulative process; a biased and imbalanced text (Martin Khor)
    With the approach of the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, developing countries have been at pains to make it clear both within the WTO General Council and at international and regional meetings that they are firmly opposed to the launching of a new round of WTO trade negotiations involving new issues. Instead, they have been calling for a review of some of the WTO agreements, a resolution of their problems in implementing some of these agreements and a reform of the WTO decision-making process. Despite this, the developed countries, led by the EU and the US, have been bent on launching a new trade round by one means or another. A reflection of this determination was the manipulative process employed by the WTO officials to secure the transmission of the draft of the Ministerial Declaration which is to be issued at the Doha meeting and which will, in effect, set the work and mandate of the world trade body for the next couple of years.

  • Doha preparatory process delegitimised by deceit and duplicity (C.Raghavan)
    The whole legitimacy of the preparatory process at Geneva for the Doha Ministerial has been called into question by the manner in which the draft documents for the Ministerial were settled. Despite the clear absence of any consensus, the Chairman of the WTO General Council Stuart Harbinson and WTO Director-General Mike Moore refused to incorporate in the draft texts, or in separate texts forming part of the official documents or even in their letters under cover of which the texts were transmitted to the Doha Ministerial, the dissenting views of many developing countries on the key issues raised in the draft documents.

  • Revised Doha draft texts ignore developing-country concerns (B.L.Das)
    As the following analysis by a leading trade expert of the revised draft Ministerial Declaration and the revised draft ‘Decision on Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns’ - two of the key documents for the Doha Ministerial - reveal, they fail to take into account the interests of the developing countries.

  • WTO proposals fail to redress implementation grievances of developing countries(C.Raghavan)
    Developing countries have severely criticised the package of proposals put forward by the Chairman of the WTO General Council and the Director-General of the WTO to resolve the problems faced by developing countries in implementing some of the existing WTO agreements.

  • Developing countries say 'no' to negotiations on 'new issues'
    The following are extracts from the statements presented at the WTO by the Ambassadors or senior officials of several developing countries that expressed opposition to the launching of negotiations on the ‘new issues’ or ‘Singapore Issues’ (investment, competition, transparency in government procurement, trade facilitation) and to the establishment of elements of a new round.  The statements were made during the informal WTO General Council meeting held on 2-3 October to discuss the 26 September draft Ministerial Declaration.

  • Draft Doha texts fail to reflect developing-country concerns on TRIPS (Cecilia Oh)
    Developing countries are bitterly disappointed that the concerns they have voiced on TRIPS during the preparatory process for the Fourth Ministerial Conference have not been accurately reflected in the draft WTO texts for the Doha meeting.

  • 'Clean text' for WTO Ministerial, dirty slap in face of Africans (Tetteh Hormeku)
    When the first draft of the Ministerial Declaration for the WTO Doha meet emerged, it appeared as a ‘clean’ text. But if the text was uncluttered by brackets suggesting alternative formulations, it was only so because the Chairman of the WTO General Council who prepared it had chosen to ignore the strong dissenting views articulated by developing countries.

  • NGOs condemn manipulation of draft Doha Declaration
    Above is the text of a joint NGO statement condemning the manipulative process by which the draft Ministerial Declaration was transmitted by the WTO General Council Chair and the WTO Director-General to the Fourth WTO Ministerial meeting in Doha. The statement was drafted by some participants at a regional workshop on trade, WTO and human development held in Penang, Malaysia on 2-3 November 2001.

  • G77 High-level Advisory Group against new issues on WTO agenda (C.Raghavan)
    A High-Level Advisory Group of the developing-country Group of 77 has recommended against including new issues in the agenda or work programme of the WTO Ministerial Conference at Doha, and against further expanding the frontiers of the WTO trade system to new and uncharted areas.

  • G77 and China seek redressal of 'development deficit' at WTO (C.Raghavan)
    In a declaration on the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference at Doha, the Group of 77 and China have emphasised as a priority before any negotiations on new issues, the resolution of the ‘implementation’ grievances of the developing countries and the redressal of the ‘development deficit’ in the WTO.

  • WTO takes another hit over lack of credibility and transparency (C.Raghavan)
    On 13-14 October, some 22 Trade Ministers, apparently chosen by the WTO Director-General Mike Moore from a select list, gathered in Singapore for a meeting which, inter alia, discussed a possible change of venue of the Fourth WTO Ministerial from Doha to Singapore.  (Since then it has been confirmed that the WTO Ministerial will be held in Doha.) The inability of the Director-General and the General Council Chair Stuart Harbinson to provide satisfactory answers about this exclusive meeting, in particular about its status, organisation and proceedings, has seriously damaged the trade body’s credibility and exposed once again its lack of transparency.

  • Don't link opposition to globalization with terrorism (C.Raghavan)
    Attempts to implicate critics of globalisation and of the proposal for a new WTO round in the events of 11 September are contemptible, says a long-term analyst of the WTO.

  • Lessons not learnt at the WTO (C.Rammanohar Reddy)
    Will the WTO at its Ministerial in Doha come up with a transparent and inclusive negotiating process? The signs, unfortunately, are that the WTO has not learnt too many lessons from the Seattle debacle.