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Collapse fo Doha Round Cause for Celebration


25th July 2006

“The collapse of the Doha round negotiations at the World Trade Organisation is cause for celebration by poor people and powerless governments around the world”, says Leigh Cookson on behalf of ARENA.

“The WTO is a vehicle to promote the profits and global dominance of transnational companies.

“In agriculture, that means Fonterra and overseas the agribusinesses like Cargill, Monsanto, Nestle among others, crippling small farmers and local subsistence economies.

“The WTO agreement on services is driven by the demands of powerful banking, telecoms, energy and media companies.

“The intellectual property agreement guarantees the profits of the mega-pharmaceutical corporations and entertainment industry.

“The rules on natural resources prevent countries from requiring that forestry, fisheries and minerals resources are processed locally to provide jobs and support the local economy.

Outpourings of grief from corporate lobbies will dominate the pages of the international press. But already the Internet is filling with messages of relief and celebration from social movements and workers organisations around the world.

“They have every reason to celebrate. WTO rules are crippling poor people and poor countries. Claims that the Doha round aimed to address this were a cynical deceit”, she said.

A report from the Carnegie Foundation last year concluded the world’s poorest countries would lose under all scenarios.

Just before the Hong Kong ministerial meeting last year, even the World Bank reduced its fanciful projections of the gains from a ‘successful’ Doha round to $96 billion, less than one-fifth of what it predicted in a now-discredited report in 2003. Rich countries would secure four-fifths of those gains and the largest ‘developing countries’ most of the rest.

“The collapse of the Doha round should strip away the illusion that poverty and gross global inequalities can be fixed by fiddling with free trade rules.

Ordinary New Zealanders and small businesses should be celebrating too.

“The New Zealand government and other champions of free trade should treat the crisis confronting the WTO as an overdue opportunity to rethink their flawed model of international trade rules and address the real questions of global poverty, inequality and war”.


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