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.
World Trade Organisation
The WTO aims to liberalise international trade in goods and services, through removing tariffs, restricting or removing government regulation, and by increasing intellectual property rights. The WTO has attracted widespread criticism and protest for the neo-liberal free market policies that it promotes, along with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The neo-liberal model of development has encouraged the growth of free trade zones in developing countries, based on poor working conditions and low environmental standards, promoting a race to the bottom to attract investors. AFTINET believes that the WTO should develop a fair multilateral trade system which enables governments to regulate in the public interest, gives real recognition to the needs of developing countries and is based on United Nations agreements on human rights, labour rights and the environment.