External Trade, World Trade Organisation (WTO) : Archives 2001 - 2003
- The PES Group supports radical reform of the WTO Treaties which lay down the rules of international trade, to achieve three main aims:-
- A fairer deal for developing countries and the world’s poor
- Greater democracy and transparency, to re-assert the primacy of democratic political choice
- A better balance between trade and other objectives of public policy, such as human rights, poverty eradication, environmental protection, public health and animal welfare
Before the WTO’s 4th Ministerial Conference (Qatar, 9-14 November 2001), we called for the proposed new round of global trade negotiations to be a "Development Round" - and we welcome the agenda agreed at Qatar for these negotiations, which we believe, on balance, deserves that title.
We welcome the new assertiveness and effectiveness of developing countries in shaping the trade agenda at Qatar. And we welcome the WTO’s commitment, for the first time, to negotiations on environmental aspects of trade. The concern for development, environmental and social issues which permeates the WTO’s Qatar Ministerial Declaration mark the beginnings of the emergence of a new kind of WTO, capable of making trade the instrument of human values.
But much remains to be done: the negotiations themselves must turn warm words into deeds. And on two issues, the Qatar meeting fell far short of our expectations:
- Little progress was made towards committing the WTO to work with the ILO on the relationship between trade and labour rights.
- No progress was made on strengthening democracy.
On intellectual property, the PES group believes that far-reaching changes are needed, to reflect the needs of developing countries, as set out in our June 2002 paper,"Intellectual Property: A New North-South Divide?"
The PES will continue to follow WTO activities closely, and to press the agenda of development, democracy and coherent global governance.