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The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the principal international organization governing world trade. It has 151 member countries, representing over 95% of world trade. It was established in 1995 as a successor institution to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). On November 9-14, 2001, trade ministers from member countries met in Doha, Qatar for the fourth WTO Ministerial Conference. At that meeting, they agreed to undertake a new round of multilateral trade negotiations
AIM AND OBJECTIVE:
This project deals with the WTO conference that took place in the year 2001 in Doha. This project discusses about the 1. Policies framed in this conference. 2. Progress attained in the conference. 3. Analyzing critically the context and circumstances shadowing the conference. 4. To provide reader an insight about the conference.
Perhaps due to the so-called "war on terror" there was less media coverage of this WTO event, but its ramifications and impacts, positive and negative are global and therefore always of utmost importance. Still reeling from the experiences of Seattle, two years or so earlier, Qatar was the choice location of the meetings, because there are conveniently repressive laws about the right to demonstrate and protest. However, protests occured in other cities around the world during the time of the conference. Building up to the meeting, this round was claimed by some leaders of more wealthier countries as a way to address the current global recessions and further economic turmoil exacerbated by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. However, some politicians and business leaders have indirectly (or directly) equated trade with freedom
" Furthermore. US Trade Representive.. They criticized the WTO processes as being nondemocratic and opaque. and in particular India. 2001 are claimed to have been done because such people were against freedom and prosperity. rather than transparent. REACTION OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES TO THE DOHA CONFERENCE Developing countries were under much pressure and arm twisting to accept a new round of trade negotiations. However.. As well as most of Africa. has shamelessly tried to push fast track authority past Congress prior to Doha and has failed thus far. were very vocal at resisting things like a new round of talks. "Given the experience of the last six years in the WTO. Robert Zoellick. of discussing so-called "new issues" and on the non-democratic nature of the whole process. any economist knows that presenting the launch of a new round as a solution for global recession is a tactic to pressurize countries at this sensitive time. they have for many year had numerous concerns about the undemocratic process. as the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First for short) reports. His delegation is expected to use the same tactic with trade ministers at the meeting. as well as other processes within the WTO. The issues at hand are seen to worsen the situation of the poorer countries. rather than improve. other least developed countries. groups against the current forms of globalization have turned the argument around pointing out that "corporate-driven global trade practices create a breeding ground for terrorism" because of the unequal trade that has resulted in poverty and inequality. there has been the implication (directly or indirectly) that criticisms of trade rounds therefore amount to being against freedom for all people and supporting terrorism! Yet. The process in which the draft Declaration was written also added to the problems. Disguised as the fight against terrorism.and prosperity. and so on. 6|Page . As reported by All Africa Global Media. various non-governmental organizations (NGOs). the actual trade issues themselves. As a result. . while the terrorists acts of September 11. African ministers and civil society organizations (CSOs) were opposed to the new round.
was the number of delegates and representatives from various countries. November 10. As a result. The conclusion that any objective observer would draw is that the pre-Doha process has been cleverly (or deviously) manipulated so as to set up the Doha Ministerial in a manner that enables the major developed countries to push through their unpopular agenda of new negotiations in a New Round. and in the content of it. "We are made to feel that we are holding up the rescue of the global economy if we don't agree to a new round here. Processes at the WTO Meetings Were Unfair For Developing Countries In looking at the build up to the meeting. nations like India and others understandably suggested that many of these issues should not be part of the meeting. against the wishes of a large number of other Members." said Dr Richard Bernal. Martin Khor. — Martin Khor. much of the draft text and introduction of new issues was done at a late stage that did not allow developing countries adequate time to study and comment. a Jamaican delegate. the 7|Page . For example. 2001 Both in the process that created it. as with Seattle.THE GUARDIAN. and the problems of the Draft Declaration to agree to. 2001: Developing countries complained that they were being pushed into signing up to a deal by the threat that failure would destroy the WTO and damage the world economy. Third World Network.NOVEMBER 12. commenting that. Developing countries face uphill task in Doha. director of the Third World Network has been highly critical of the whole process as well as the draft text. as the World Development Movement (WDM) point out. Another concern. That is. the draft Declaration was described as "unbalanced" and "biased" because it ignores the views of most developing countries. Some delegates have told development lobby groups that the European Union and the US are threatening the most recalcitrant developing countries with losing access to western markets under established trade deals if they continue to oppose new talks.
Their loss of business or closure would cause significant job losses. the problem is that. local firms (that are very small and weak compared to the foreign giants) would find it hard to survive. The new issues are aimed at opening their markets for foreign firms and their products to enter and to operate with minimal government regulation. they are more able to represent their interests. At first thought. governments would lose a large part of their present right to make domestic policies in key economic and social areas. include the following: 8|Page . Barry Coates." THE NEW ISSUES: For a long time. However. Martin Khor summarizes the concerns of developing countries: Most developing countries and NGOs are worried that the new treaties would create onerous obligations that would be very detrimental to developing countries. These new issues include: Investment. with more delegates and experts that the EU and US can afford to bring. as with Seattle. and national sovereignty would be compromised. "The vast disparity in the sizes of delegations is yet another indicator that the odds are stacked against the poorest nations in the negotiations at the Doha Ministerial. and showing their dedication to this issue. said. when so many meetings may go on in parallel. the developing world has little chance to achieve fairer trade rules. Competition.the EU and US are. Furthermore. after all. quoting from the above article. it might not seem to be an issue at all -. Moreover. Transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation. WDM's Director. just ensuring their own objectives are met. the EU and Japan were pushing for discussion on "new issues". Combined with the deeply unfair negotiations process.number of delegates representing the EU and US for example far outweighed that from developing countries. the concerns pointed out by developing countries on these new issues. as a result.
At the same time. the "level" playing field is at a far too high a level to be fair for them. such as textiles. they demand poor countries to liberalize and open up. Developed countries would like to bring many non-trade issues into WTO.) For concerns about the competition issues. however. that is often the issue. etc. diverting scarce time and human resources from resolving the problems of "implementation. allowing the ability to dump products. opening up to foreign investment and not protecting their own industries that cannot compete can be economic suicide. stifling local industries. see also this site's part of the WTO page that talks GATS. is often protectionist on imports. which discusses foreign direct investment. but because they want to make use of the enforcement system of WTO involving trade sanctions. national treatment) and operations that were created for a regime dealing with TRADE issues may not be suitable when applied to NON-TRADE issues. Concern about transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation is about extending the agreement from transparency to add market access and national treatment for foreign firms. For developing countries. One of the aims for example is to prevent protecting local industries or local monopolies. Also. as well as US. but how it is manipulated and concentrated. a legally binding set of rules covering international trade in services.. there is concern about how Europe in particular. which points out that competition itself is not always bad." As the new issues heavily favour the developed countries. the WTO system would become even more imbalanced and inequitable. (See the above link for more details on these new issues themselves. OTHER ISSUES NEGOTIATED In agriculture as well as many other industries. Principles (such as transparency. especially agricultural products on to those countries. See again the above article for more details. The WTO is a multilateral trade organization that makes and enforces rules. the concerns about the investment issues are the same concerns that surround the controversial General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). See also the above article. and why they are of concern. In summary. That is. It should stick to its mandate for dealing with trade issues. 9|Page . The new issues would occupy the prime time of diplomats. see this site's section on corporations and human rights. not because it would strengthen the trade system.
but some see this as a start. The final Declaration. because it is often a political tool as well as economic. as has currently been the issue. Now. governments can override patents (granting "compulsory licenses". The final Declaration. especially on more immediate health crisis such as AIDS." Barry Coates. That is. Director of the World Development Movement commenting on the whole Doha meeting said.In agricultural issues. which is to be used to launch a new round of negotiations resulted in heavy criticism from The World Development Movement who said that this is "a disaster for the world's poor. THE OUTCOMES OF THE MEETING There was no doubt mixed reactions resulting from the conclusion of the meeting. for example) without the fear of backlash from rich countries and pharmaceutical companies. hunger. which is to be used to launch a new round of negotiations resulted in heavy criticism from The World Development Movement who said that this is "a disaster for the world's poor. governments are able to take measures to protect public health a bit more easily. despite long-standing concerns from developing countries and CSOs. as "developing countries can be bulldozed into agreeing a huge trade agenda which could exacerbate poverty and inequality" according to Oxfam in a press release of theirs. dumping is a critical problem to urgently address as it can lead to further poverty. misery. if drug companies price drugs beyond the reach of people who need them. the above-mentioned "new issues" are to be kept in "study mode" as India and a few other countries has objected to the inclusion of these issues without adequate notice. There was a bit more emphasis on the environment too. Director of the World Development Movement commenting on the whole Doha meeting said: 10 | P a g e . on much else. it is often a difficult one to discuss in negotiations in a manner that will see positive outcomes With regards to Services. But. However.) Also." Barry Coates. such as on the health and patent related issues and access to medicines. GATS. the General Agreement on Trade in Services is being further pushed. (Effects from structural adjustment may also be an issue still. economic dependency and so on. Some claimed that success on specific issues were important.
This massive extension of the WTO is both reckless and dangerous. It will further undermine the WTO's legitimacy. 11 | P a g e . It has been difficult." The key points of the Doha Declaration. Developing countries do not have the capacity or the wish to negotiate these new agreements." What is clear is that. The much hyped development round is empty of development. which was the key agenda of the developing countries coming into Doha." While. There is no commitment to an early phase-out of textile and garment quotas because of the strong resistance of the United States. There is only a perfunctory acknowledgement of the need to review implementation issues. 4."This is a massive defeat for poor people around the world. For example. and many governments have had to move towards the positions of their partners to make this agreement possible. contrary to the claims of European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy. Doha did not launch a "development round. because we have been dealing with some of the most sensitive issues in international trade policy. The demand for a "development box" to promote food security and development which was being pushed by a number of developing countries was completely ignored. The language on the phasing out of agricultural subsidies is watered down owing to the strong objections of the European Union. The cost of current trade agreements is already being counted in people's lives. 3. 1. Director-General [of the WTO] Mike Moore said: "This conference has been a remarkable experience for all of us. 2. contradict the interests of the developing countries. in fact.
voxeu.org www.org www.org www. 2.Dewett www. 3..org 12 | P a g e .jstor.globalissues. Book: Modern Economic Theory. BIBLIOGRAPHY Websites: 1. 4.wto.
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