Activists from ten countries in East and Southeast Asia met in Bangkok to discuss the state of play in trade liberalisation, and to develop a common agenda to oppose it. In particular, we highlighted the urgency of blocking agriculture negotiations in the WTO, the vibrant struggles against privatisation across the region, and the centrality of opposing the occupation of Iraq for our global movement against imperialist globalisation.
AGRICULTURE and FISHERIES
The export oriented model of agriculture and fisheries has failed to improve farmers¹ and fishers¹ livelihoods; it has created more hunger and impoverished and destroyed rural and fisherfolks communities.
We will continue to campaign to get WTO out of Agriculture and fisheries.
We demand the right to the countries to protect their agriculture and fisheries and the livelihoods of small scale farmers and fisherfolks.
We demand an immediate end to dumping and the dismantling of the system of domestic and export supports in the North that lead to dumping.
We oppose any free trade agreement on fisheries whether mulitlateral or bilateral.
We promote peoples¹ food sovereignty as the alternative to neoliberal policies on agriculture and fisheries.
We recognise the emergence of the G20 as a force challenging the EU and the US within the WTO. We note that the G20 exposes the unequal power relations, which further deligitimises the WTO.
We reject the G20¹s narrow position on agriculture which is promoting agribusiness and destroying small farmers and sustainable agriculture.
We believe that if it sticks to its narrow agenda on agriculture liberalisation, the G20 will miss a historic opportunity to articulate alternative policies for developing countries.
Recognising that the internal political dynamics of the WTO emanate from a neoliberal ideology, global civil society will continue to push for pro-people policies and the derailment of the WTO.
We support the Thai workers and civil society struggle against privatisation. It gives us a strong inspiration for our mobilisation against privatisation in the region.
Privatisation is carried out in the name of efficiency and transparency. However, the common experience in our countries has shown that it leads to massive job losses, corruption, lack of transparency, rent seeking, price hikes and does not improve access to services and efficiency.
We are defending people¹s democratic control of and access to public services like health, education, water, powerŠ Access to public services is a fundamental right and it is the responsibility of the State to guarantee this. Services should be provided according to needs and not the ability to pay.
WTO and GATS are posing a major threat because they would accelerate the privatisation process and establish rules and dispute settlement mechanisms that would make privatisation irreversible.
We reject privatisation of natural resources such as land, water, forest, seeds, fishing grounds because it deprives people of their livelihood, patrimony, and threatens ecological survival.
BILATERAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS
We oppose bilateral agreements because they are one of the tools used to push the neoliberal agenda. Most of the time, they go further than the WTO agreements and they deepen the liberalisation process.
We call for the derailment of all FTA¹s, whenever and wherever they happen in the region.
We commit to set up a network to exchange information and strategies and to launch a regional campaign on FTA¹s.
ANTI WAR MOVEMENT
War is an extension of neoliberal globalisation, therefore we will strengthen the links between the anti-neoliberal globalisation and the anti-war movements.
We demand an end to the occupation of Iraq, and that our governments withdraw the troops from Iraq.
We condemn war profiteering
We hold the US and its allies fully responsible for reparations for 12 years of sanctions, the destruction caused by the war and occupation of Iraq.
We support the Iraqi people¹s right to defend their sovereign state, and to self-determination, and we will work to strengthen our links with democratic forces in Iraq.
We call for the withdrawal of US troops from Asia.
Mobilisation against the World Economic Forum, 12-15 June
We endorse the call of the Korean social movements to mobilise against the World Economic Forum in Seoul, June 2004. (pasted below)
Asia peoples and social movements assembly, 14-15 June
We also support the call for an Asia peoples¹ and social movements assembly at that time and we will mobilise our networks and movements to be in Seoul from June 12-15.
Hong Kong – WTO ministerial conference, 2005
We will mobilise in Hong Kong to further deligitimise and derail the WTO.
We will use this opportunity to expose the impact of liberalisation, privatisation and the WTO agreements on the Chinese working class. We express our solidarity with their struggles and support their right to organise.
We welcome the initiative of the Hong Kong committee to take the lead in planning and organising the actions and mobilisations. We will work with them in the coming months to realise this plan and we will meet again in Seoul during the Asia peoples¹ and social movements assembly.
*for more information, please contact Mary Lou Malig at email@example.com
(as of April 27, 2004)
Alliance for Progressive Labor (APL), Philippines
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), Hong Kong
Asian Labour Network on IFI¹s
Center for Labour Information Service and Training (CLIST), Thailand Democratic Socialist Association, Indonesia Fair Trade Alliance, Philippines Focus on the Global South FSPI/ Via Campesina, Indonesia Global Network Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong Globalize from Below, Korea Hasatil, Timor Leste Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) Institut Ungu, Indonesia Institute of Global Justice, Indonesia International Gender Trade Network Asia Kilusang Mangingisda (KM), Philippines Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) Korean Peoples Action Against WTO and FTA (KoPA) KPBH ATMA, Indonesia La¹o Hamutuk, Timor Leste Northern Peasants Federation, Thailand Philippine Peasant Institute (PPI) Port Authority Labour Union, Thailand Public Services International (PSI) Rural Reconstruction Alumni and Friends Association (RRAFA), Thailand SAGE, Japan SEARICE, Philippines Southeast Asian Council for Food Security and Fair Trade (SEACON) Southeast Asian Fisheries Network for Justice Thai Action on Globalization Thai Local Whiskey Network/ Via Campesina Thailand Voices from the Grassroots Coalition, Japan