More than 250 MPs and parliamentary experts attending the annual Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, have committed to using all political means available to bring about a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of trade negotiations.
Expressing deep concern at the lack of progress on the negotiations in a concluding statement, the Conference calls for a balanced but ambitious development orientated outcome to the Doha Round with emphasis on achieving quick progress on development-related issues.
There is also concern at the growth of protectionist measures adopted by countries in the wake of the global financial crisis with the Conference reiterating the crucial role of the WTO in stabilizing the global economy through adherence to its rules and commitments.
The statement, which covered several issues including the importance of tackling the employment crisis by understanding the trade-employment nexus, also underlined the need for a new “social contract” between State and citizens in the wake of widespread popular protests.
It was an opportune moment to reconsider the nature and magnitude of the financial sector in globalization and rebalancing the global finance and trading systems to make them work for the poor was part of that challenge. Doha, the concluding statement says, is a key part of that solution.
MPs attending the IPU-European Parliament organized conference, also reiterated their view that the WTO needed a strong and effective parliamentary dimension to its work, particularly given parliament’s oversight role in international trade negotiations and the implementation of trade agreements.