The Doha Round is the problem, NOT the solution

An Open Letter to Our Governments

We, representatives of peasant organizations, women, migrants, workers, consumers, urban and rural poor, fisherfolks, social movements and civil society organizations are writing to express our alarm that efforts are being made to conclude the Doha “Development” Round of negotiations.

Mr. Lamy is using the current financial crisis as the justification for the need to urgently conclude the Doha Round. He argues that the conclusion of the Round would be the solution to the crisis. The recent G20 declaration last November 15 in Washington DC also called for the conclusion of the Doha Round as a way to solve the current financial crisis. We disagree with Mr. Lamy and the G20 and in fact cite as an example the current commitments made under the General Agreement in Trade and Services (GATS) which has prevented countries from being able to respond to the current financial crisis and so we see the whole system of the WTO as the problem and cannot be part of the solution.

The Doha “Development” Round of negotiations, launched in 2001 in Doha, Qatar, was supposed to be about development for the developing countries. However, as years passed and several texts have been produced, it has become evident that the Round is about protecting and promoting the interests of the developed countries and their transnational corporations.

This was evident in the previous Mini-Ministerial last July 2008 in Geneva where due to the intransigence of developed countries to agree to demands of developing countries to protect their small farmers, negotiations collapsed. In those negotiations and proposed texts, majority of the proposals of the developed countries were about further opening up developing countries’ markets for agricultural and industrial goods and services. There is no sign now to show that the proposals and demands of the developed countries have changed.

To say that the Doha Round or the further opening up of developing countries’ markets will solve the current crisis is a false claim. We have seen in the Asian financial crisis and in the current financial crisis that years of trade liberalization have left countries vulnerable to the volatility of the markets and that it has prevented countries from putting in place measures to protect their people and their livelihoods.

We call on our governments to reject the attempts to conclude the Doha “Development” Round and instead work with their people in building an alternative trade model that ensures sustainable development, which puts people, their livelihoods and the environment before the interests of the transnational corporations.

We commit to mobilize at the national, regional and international levels to stop the revival of the Doha “Development” Round. This is part of our ongoing struggles against the neoliberal model, free trade liberalization and its instruments such as the WTO. We call on other movements, peoples’ organizations and civil society groups to join the efforts for a world without the WTO.

Globalize hope, globalize the struggle!


BKU (Bhartiya Kisan Union), India

Ecologistas en Accion (Spain)

EU-ASEAN Network

Focus on the Global South

GRAIN, International

Hemispheric Social Alliance

Jubilee South-Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD)

KAU (Anti-Debt Coalition), Indonesia

KMP (Peasant Movement of the Philippines)

Korea Alliance against the FTAs

Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)

Korean Peasants League

Korean Women Peasants Association

Mexican Action Network on Free Trade

Migrant Forum in Asia

NOUMINREN (Japan Family Farmers Movement)

PKMP (National Unity of the Peasants in the Philippines)

Seattle to Brussels Network

SHOKKENREN (The National Coalition of Workers, Farmers and Consumers for Safe food and health), Japan

Southeast and East Asia La Via Campesina

SPI (Indonesian Peasants Union), Indonesia

Stop the New Round! Coalition, Philippines

Transnational Institute

Solidarity of Filipino Worker(Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino)

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