Socialist International calls for less egoism and a more balanced approach to advance on world trade rules

19 September 2003

The Socialist International regrets the failure to reach an agreement at the 5th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Cancún on 10-14 September 2003.

The International has consistently supported reform of the international trading system to achieve a fairer distribution of the benefits of global trade, and has repeatedly called for bold actions by the WTO that would serve to reduce poverty and improve the lives of millions of people in developing countries.

The task now is to restore the trust necessary to advance and guarantee that all issues on the agenda of the Doha Development Round are addressed.

In this regard, the International believes the industrialised countries must be more sensitive to the realities in the developing world when they put the Singapore issues on the table - investment rules, competition policy, transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation - and at the same time be more willing to make concessions on the crucial issue of agriculture.

The international community and the industrialised world must keep in mind that this is a development round, that the aims are to lessen inequality, both within and between nations, and to ensure that globalisation works for all.

The Socialist International welcomes that developing countries found their voice in Cancún, but also recognises that the views of the least developed countries must be heard and their urgent needs addressed.

The International urges the European Union and the United States to accept the responsibility to put the process back on track and to act decisively to change the rules of agricultural trade through the elimination of subsidies and the opening of markets to farm exports from the developing world.

The International believes that the expectations of the global majority who live in developing countries must not go unmet any longer, and calls for less egoism and a more balanced approach so that the Doha Round can be completed in the limited time remaining.

19 September 2003