The Doha 'Development' Round

Launched in 2001 at its meeting in Qatar, the Doha round of negotiations lasted for ten years without agreement. The talks were dubbed the 'development' round because of their stated claim to meet the concerns of the countries from the Global South. But this claim has not been a reality. The talks have collapsed several times, and were finally discontinued on the 10th anniversary in December 2011. Australia and some other countries are now attempting to negotiate with a smaller number of countries in particular sectors like services, but this excludes most developing countries.

Developing country governments, including those with more bargaining power like Brazil, India and South Africa, have refused to agree to a bad deal. WTO rules are supposed to recognise the special needs of developing countries to protect their agriculture and their manufacturing industries to enable development. But in practice rich countries like the US and Europe are still insisting that developing countries remove those protections, while retaining their own unfair agricultural subsidies.

AFTINET believes that governments should take the opportunity of the end of the Doha Round to develop a fair multilateral trade system which gives real recognition to the needs of developing countries and is based on United Nations agreements on human rights, labour rights and the environment