Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Aug12/04)
7 August 2012
Third World Network
MC9 to be in Bali, TNC Chair reports meagre progress on Doha
Published in SUNS #7421 dated 30 July 2012
Geneva, 27 Jul (Kanaga Raja) -- The General Council of the World Trade
Organisation (WTO), at its meeting on 25 July, formally agreed that
the ninth session of its Ministerial Conference (MC9) will be held
in Bali, Indonesia in the first week of December 2013.
The General Council also heard the report of Director-General Pascal
Lamy, in his capacity as the Chair of the Trade Negotiations Committee
(TNC), in which he said that the harvest from the first half of this
year has been meagre, and called on members to "change gears"
at various levels after the summer break (see below).
Commenting on the current state of play in the Doha negotiations following
Lamy's report to the General Council, many developing countries stressed
that the issue of trade facilitation (being proposed by some members
as part of an "early harvest") should not be a stand-alone
or self-balancing agreement, and that other development-related issues
should be concluded simultaneously to ensure proper balance.
According to trade officials, members are starting to look at all
the elements that might be part of the so-called "early harvest".
One of the issues that has taken centre stage for some delegations
is that of trade facilitation.
But it is clear that many delegations believe that while this is very
important, there are concerns - both internal and external - on a
number of fronts, particularly on the issue of balance, trade officials
The internal concerns pertain to providing adequate technical assistance.
Developing countries are asking for a needs assessment, i. e. assistance
from the secretariat and members that will help them identify exactly
what they need to do to be able to put in place whatever agreement
emerges on trade facilitation.
Another issue is how to ensure there is adequate matching up of what
the developing countries are being asked to do and the funds that
would be required to put those commitments into place.
On the external balance, trade officials pointed to other areas of
negotiations that might be part of a trade facilitation deal. In this
context, they noted the issues of export competition, cotton, and
duty-free quota-free market access (DFQF) for LDC products. The question
is are these to be issues that might also be included in the package,
On MC9, trade officials said that the General Council formally agreed
that it will be held in Bali, Indonesia in the first week of December
2013, and that it would revert to the precise dates after the summer
According to trade officials, under this agenda item, the General
Council Chair, Ambassador Elin Johansen of Norway, said that as a
result of the process of consultations regarding Indonesia's offer
(to host MC9), she believed that members are now in a position to
take a decision on this matter.
Therefore, she proposed that the General Council agree that the ninth
session of the Ministerial Conference be held in Bali, Indonesia in
the first week of December 2013. She also proposed that members come
back to the matter of the precise dates after the summer break.
It was so agreed.
According to trade officials, Indonesia expressed gratitude for the
decision and commitment towards the multilateral trading system and
the Doha Development Agenda.
In his report to the General Council, TNC Chair Lamy said that in
light of the deteriorating economic situation, and what he sees as
rising downside risks, "I urged collective action to re-double
efforts to strengthen multilateral co-operation to find global solutions
to avoid further trade and investment tensions. I expressed hope that
all members would live up to the commitment made by Ministers at MC8
[eighth ministerial conference] to keep markets open and resist protectionism
in all forms. I also urged members to remain vigilant and begin to
think about creative ways to improve our multilateral transparency
and peer reviews through fruitful discussions such as the one that
took place at the last TPRB [Trade Policy Review Body] meeting and
also through the consultations that the Chair of the TPRB is conducting."
On the negotiating front, Lamy said he reported on the consultations
that all Negotiating Group Chairs had been conducting with delegations
in their respective areas. This included technical work that had taken
place in the areas of trade facilitation, special and differential
treatment and DSU (Dispute Settlement Understanding) reform.
At the informal Heads of Delegation meetings, the TNC Chair said he
heard some delegations highlight specific areas where they wished
to see tangible progress soon. They emphasized that whatever is agreed
in any paragraph 47 outcomes, whether it be trade facilitation or
something else, this did not imply the end of the Round. The Single
Undertaking remains the guarantee that all mandated issues will have
to be addressed. Several delegations, while stressing the significance
of trade facilitation, noted that they did not at this stage consider
this area as self-balancing. These delegations cautioned against selectivity
in implementing paragraph 47 and expressed concern about achieving
the right balance within this approach.
[Paragraph 47 of the Doha Declaration states: "With the exception
of the improvements and clarifications of the Dispute Settlement Understanding,
the conduct, conclusion and entry into force of the outcome of the
negotiations shall be treated as parts of a single undertaking. However,
agreements reached at an early stage may be implemented on a provisional
or a definitive basis. Early agreements shall be taken into account
in assessing the overall balance of the negotiations."]
Lamy said he also heard several participants stress the importance
of transparency, inclusiveness and multilateralism in any processes
ahead, including in agreeing on early harvest candidates. A number
also emphasized the importance of respecting the development mandate
of the Round.
Although work has continued at varying levels across the Doha Development
Agenda (DDA) to implement the elements of political guidance from
MC8, progress and activity have been mixed. Over the past six months,
various processes and initiatives have benefited from the time and
space which delicate and complicated issues sometimes merit.
"I understand that these discussions will continue after the
summer break and I will continue to encourage their participants to
reach out to the wider membership," said Lamy, adding, "But
we should, I believe, all agree that the harvest from the first half
of this year has been meagre."
Lamy said: "Of course, there have been important and positive
achievements such as the LDC accession guidelines, on which we should
build as we operationalize fully the guidelines from Ministers on
the Doha part of our dossier, during the second half of this year.
But in so doing, we have to recognize that prolonged and dogmatic
discussions about whether or not to deliver on everything or a few
things or nothing at all have not and will not take us very far. The
only thing we know is that an ‘all' or ‘nothing' does not work. A
‘my way or the highway' is the best way to ensure paralysis."
"What I believe is important going forward is for all of us to
remain faithful to the guidance that Ministers provided at MC8. This
included remaining faithful to the mandate and recognizing that not
all elements of the DDA could be concluded simultaneously in the near
future. It included adopting a gradual approach and advancing those
areas where progress can be achieved. It included exploring different
negotiating approaches, while respecting the principles of transparency
and inclusiveness. The time has also come for more serious and creative
thinking about how to bridge gaps in areas where convergence remains
elusive. It also included exploring issues relevant to the multilateral
Lamy said: "So, the guidance from Ministers is clear. On our
part, we must collectively and urgently agree on what can be done
at a technical level, how it should be achieved and when and where
it should be done. I believe that after the summer break, we need
to change gears at various levels so as to ensure that we use our
time in the most efficient manner possible. We have a heavy collective
responsibility, not only for the Doha Round but for the multilateral
trading system in these difficult times to make sure 2012 is not a
For his part, he said he intends to meet with the Negotiating Group
Chairs immediately following the summer break to explore specific
steps in which the work can be taken forward.
"As a college, the Negotiating Group Chairs and I will need to
look at ways to deliver on the instructions stemming from MC8 in line
with what many of you have requested. And we will try to look at creative
ways to bridge the most difficult and intractable issues."
The TNC Chair noted that over the past few weeks and months - whether
at the level of informal Heads of Delegation or in the General Council
- "we have heard time and again that there is interest in re-engaging
more seriously on a broad range of issues under the Doha Agenda. I
firmly believe that we need to test this stated interest and do so
in an inclusive and transparent fashion."
"But ultimately, the ball lies in your court. You, the negotiators,
have to achieve the needed substantive and balanced progress across
all areas of our negotiations that you all say you desire," Lamy
"Those of you who believe that, as time passes, inexorably, the
Round might lose all its remaining steam may be right, whether we
like it or not. What is clear, in my view, is that not engaging seriously
in trying to find solutions to the present impasse will increase the
probability of such a disappointing outcome. Credibility lies in the
capacity to produce results, not statements. We should all face up
to this reality and accept that there is no individual clever escape
from this collective responsibility. As we break for the summer, I
would urge each of you to reflect on your individual contribution
towards collectively breaking the deadlock and allowing for forward
movement in our work to fully operationalize the guidance we received
at MC8 from our Ministers."
A number of delegations spoke following the report by the Chair of
According to trade officials, Lesotho, on behalf of the African Group,
said that what is important is to focus on those elements of any agreement
that address concerns of developing countries, and these should be
the building blocks for any agreement. Trade facilitation should not
be a stand-alone or self-balancing agreement. Other development-related
issues should be concluded simultaneously to ensure balance.
The African Group said that there is a need to be faithful to the
development mandate. An early harvest for trade facilitation is something
that will require intense effort and there is need to define the parameters
and principles on which any early harvest agreement would be based.
Mauritius, on behalf of the ACP Group, said that the crisis is not
about to end and it is making things difficult even though enhanced
trade would make things much better. The single undertaking is key
to maintaining balance. If members are to have trade facilitation
as a single issue to discuss as an early harvest, it would make things
more difficult for the group. It believes that trade facilitation
is an issue that is worthwhile for enhancing trade in ACP countries.
It has no objection to a trade facilitation deal.
However, within the trade facilitation pillar, the group said that
there is need to address the issue of the developmental balance, and
special and differential treatment (SDT) is the key. But there needs
to be a wider array of issues that can be discussed as well. Even
if not everything is negotiated simultaneously, there is need to ensure
that issues of importance to developing countries are not left by
It said that there has been good progress in the Special Session of
the Committee on Trade and Development on agreement-specific proposals
as well as the monitoring mechanism.
Australia, on behalf of the Cairns Group of agricultural exporters,
called for serious engagement in agriculture, saying that it is disappointed
at the lack of such engagement. There is need to recognise that meaningful
progress in agriculture is extremely important.
Chad, for the Cotton-4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali), questioned
how members could be discussing trade facilitation as a starting point
for an early harvest, when at the Ministerial Conference last December,
Ministers reaffirmed the importance of a specific, expeditious and
ambitious treatment for cotton. The Cotton-4, Chad added, will not
accept any early harvest without issues of importance to LDCs, including
Cambodia, speaking for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),
said that it recognised the good work that is going on in trade facilitation,
on the agreement-specific proposals and the monitoring mechanism.
It thought that the issue of export competition in agriculture should
be addressed. All LDC issues should be taken up as a matter of priority
for the organisation.
Barbados, on behalf of the Small and Vulnerable Economies, said that
there are various approaches to negotiations that have been taking
place since the last ministerial conference but it is important to
recognise that these are merely supplementary to a multilateral approach.
Transparency, inclusiveness and a bottom-up approach are central.
It welcomed the LDC decision. It said that trade facilitation is an
area in which progress is being made and it looked forward to a development-friendly
outcome in this area.
Pakistan said that there is need to look at different approaches and
to move forward. While it is prepared to look at issues, Members need
to be faithful to the development mandate.
Mexico, agreeing with Mauritius, said that the MC8 guidelines should
be followed and what needs to be done as well is an agreement on trade
Japan said that its concern is on increasing protectionism despite
what was agreed by the G20 for a standstill and a rollback of protectionist
measures. It is concerned that it is not being made clear why an agreement
on trade facilitation is beneficial to all.
Nigeria said that it is committed to serious engagement towards making
progress through an incremental step-by-step approach. This should
not deter members from seeking a fair and balanced outcome. It is
important to advance the work on development issues, SDT, the monitoring
mechanism and trade-related technical assistance and capacity-building.
The European Union said that transparency and monitoring is an important
pillar in the organisation for combating protectionism. But members
cannot forget the other pillar, i. e. the negotiations to improve
existing rules and there is need to move the negotiations forward
in the coming months. The work on the LDC guidelines shows that members
are capable of reaching agreement and coming together in pursuit of
a common goal.
There are other issues as well where good progress is being made,
the EU said, pointing to SDT, agreement-specific proposals and the
monitoring mechanism (taking place in the Special Session of the Committee
on Trade and Development). But there is need to build on short-term
progress and the need to ensure that we are working on things that
are important to the WTO. This should not cause us to forget that
we need to conclude the DDA as a whole and that any work that is done
with respect to provisional or definitive early harvest agreements
are merely a stepping stone to the entire Doha agenda. Progress so
far this year has not been what the EU expected or wanted.
China said that MC9 is already on the radar screen and there is need
to assess progress and to begin to chart the way forward. It welcomed
the agreement on the LDC accession guidelines. This agreement will
serve as a confidence booster which will help members in terms of
achieving common goals.
On the linkages that are developing, it said that this is a source
of concern for some delegations. But these are arising from different
interpretations of where members are. Some delegations see that we
are at a big impasse and we can't conclude the round and the only
solution is to agree on those issues that are easier, but others believe
that we can overcome these difficulties and that we need to follow
the single undertaking, said China, adding that it is very much a
part of this latter group.
It said that development issues should be the focus in an early harvest.
Trade facilitation will not be the only early harvest issue and it
will not be the only issue we agree on in the DDA. It was pleased
to see that the Director-General has said that the single undertaking
is a guarantee that all DDA issues will be concluded in the future.
The mandate is not to be blamed for any difficulty. It supported the
African and ACP group statements.
Kenya said that it is important that the donor community continues
to fund Aid for Trade and trade finance. Transparency, inclusiveness
and a bottom-up approach are key. Any reference to trade facilitation
as stand-alone or self-balancing is not helpful. Trade facilitation
is very much part of the basket but it must be balanced with LDC issues,
export competition and other issues.
Kenya said it has a five-stage approach, whereby there should be discussion
and agreement on five issues - agricultural issues, LDC issues, SDT,
trade facilitation and services. It would like to open a dialogue
in areas where a provisional or definitive agreement is possible.
Chile said that the all-or-nothing approach is not viable, and members
must leave behind dogmatic approaches. Trade facilitation is important
and is to the benefit of all. It also mentioned DSU reform, areas
involving transparency, ensuring full compliance with notification
requirements, and fisheries subsidies which is another area where
a deal can be reached.
South Africa said: "Let us remind ourselves that it took 40 years
since the rejection of the Havana Charter and ITO by the US Congress
in 1955 - for the world to create a World Trade Organization in 1995.
In its preamble, the Marrakesh Agreement that established the WTO
promised to build new agreements on the basis of the principle of
According to South Africa, the Doha round was the first round that
agreed at the outset in its mandate to build new agreements on the
basis of the internationally recognized principles of equity, balance
and development. The built-in agenda of the Uruguay Round on agriculture
failed to gain traction amongst members. It was therefore recognized
that the only way to encourage developed countries to make the necessary
reforms in agriculture would be through trade-offs on other issues
of interest to them such as NAMA (non-agricultural market access)
"It is for this reason that the single undertaking was agreed
to be a basis for the negotiations. In addition, the Doha round chose
the more inclusive multilateral route to negotiations - rather than
the plurilateral and request and offer method of previous GATT rounds.
In the Doha mandate we also agreed to recognize the plight of the
LDCs and promised to create new opportunities for them to export into
world markets in areas that they can compete. It is for these reasons
that the Doha round became known as the Doha Development Agenda."
South Africa added: "At MC8, members agreed that in order to
help us find a way out of the current impasse in the Doha round ‘new
approaches' should be explored. We are in favour of seeking new approaches
but not in favour of so-called ‘new approaches' suggested by some
that are merely ‘old wine in new bottles'. We are not in favour of
bringing back the old approach of request and offer and plurilaterals
that was driven by the main players in the GATT. We are in favour
of an approach to negotiations that is multilateral, that seeks to
create balance within and between issues, and that recognizes the
different levels of development of developing countries. This is what
we agreed to in the Doha mandate. Any approach that is not based on
the principles of equity, balance, development, inclusiveness and
transparency will not gain the support of the majority of members
and the world at large."
On trade facilitation, South Africa said that it is engaged on advancing
a fair and balanced Trade Facilitation Agreement in the WTO. "We
recognize the need to upgrade our customs infrastructure, procedures
and processes. We are already working to achieve this in our own economy
and in our region. However, we also recognize that the wide disparities
in the existing levels of development and modernization of customs
infrastructure between developed and developing countries will require
the developing countries and particularly the poorer countries in
the ACP/Africa Group and LDCs to bear the brunt of the implementation
burdens that result from such an Agreement. Therefore, appropriate
and necessary capacity must be provided to these countries."
Whilst an upgrading of customs infrastructure, processes and procedures
is clearly of interest to most developing countries, an agreement
on Trade Facilitation cannot be self-balancing, as it will impose
significant implementation burdens on them, said South Africa, adding
that it is for this reason that to ensure a fair and balanced outcome
for any "short-term" deliverables in the Doha round other
priority issues of importance to developing countries, especially
the poorest, must be part of this outcome.
"We cannot now only prioritize an issue such as Trade Facilitation
where developed countries are the main demandeurs. We promised to
prioritize the interests of the poorest countries such as; DFQFMA
[duty-free quota-free market access], Cotton, S&D [special and
differential treatment], and the elimination of harmful export subsidies,
at various ministerial meetings. These issues must also be addressed
in any ‘short-term' deal."
With regard to the discussion in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB)
on the monitoring of trade restrictive measures, South Africa said
that attempts to label the legitimate use of policy space available
to developing countries under existing WTO rules as protectionist
whilst refraining from commenting on the use of other measures witnessed
in the recent bailouts of firms and banks in many developed countries
will not succeed. These measures and their trade impacts will need
to be monitored and evaluated in the WTO.
On "new issues" in the WTO, South Africa reiterated that
whilst it supports the introduction of new issues for debate and analysis
in the regular committees of the WTO, "we do not believe that
it would be feasible or fair to move ahead with these issues before
we have succeeded to addressing issues that affect the majority of
members and that have been on the agenda for decades, such as trade
distorting subsidies in agriculture."
On the issue of LDC accession, South Africa said that while it is
fully committed to facilitate the accession of LDCs in the WTO and
the international trading system, and will not stand in the way of
the adoption of this decision, it was concerned over the high level
of commitments (envisaged) from LDCs by the proposed Benchmarks on
South Africa added: "Whilst we respect the fact that this was
a negotiated outcome, we wish to place on record our view that LDCs
should be accorded the necessary policy space that they require to
build their infant industries and advance their economic development.
These guidelines should thus be implemented with this objective in
mind and guidelines should be implemented with due regard to the specific
development situation and needs of each LDC and not be applied in
a ‘one-size-fits all' approach. In addition, the LDC Guidelines should
not prejudice the negotiating rights nor constrain the negotiating
space of LDCs, SVEs [Small and Vulnerable Economies] and other Developing
countries in the Current Doha Round negotiations."
According to trade officials, Costa Rica supported the Cairns Group
statement. It is not optimistic about the outlook. There needs to
be an effort towards strengthening of the monitoring of the Trade
Policy Review Body. There needs to be better monitoring and work addressing
Bolivia said that it has yet to learn how trade facilitation will
help development. It wanted to know what this means in terms of how
it will help their exporters. Why should developing countries show
enthusiasm for this if it does not help their exporters? If there
is to be an agreement on this, it should be sufficiently balanced
and flexible. Many developing countries will have to implement new
legislative reforms and this could come at great cost. There will
be very little cost in this agreement for developed countries, it
On the LDC accession guidelines, it raised questions about the 100%
binding of tariffs and 50% overall average tariffs for agriculture,
as well as the 95% binding and 35% average tariffs in goods.
Canada said it valued the Director-General's stark assessment.
Switzerland shared Japan's concerns about protectionism. Even if the
G20 had made pronouncements (on this issue), the members of the G20
have not followed these recommendations.
Tunisia supported the African Group.
Brazil said that by acknowledging the difficulties that we have with
respect to the single undertaking, what it has done is put the spotlight
on the fact that we have not been able to move forward in this way.
We cannot sweep this under the carpet, and it keeps pressure on the
members to try and find ways forward, it added.
On an early harvest, it said that it is not optimistic about a selective
approach to issues. However, the overall stalemate should not prevent
members from trying to reach agreement where they can. Negotiations
should take place in the negotiating groups. We need to seek outcomes
that are of importance to developing countries in general and LDCs
in particular. Trade facilitation is not a self-balancing pillar,
India said it agrees with the Director-General that the progress made
in the negotiations in the first six months has been quite meagre.
The Director-General has stressed the importance of the Single Undertaking
and the imperative to conclude the Doha Round on its basis. India
agreed with him entirely on this point as well as with the other delegations,
who have reiterated this issue in their interventions.
Looking at the situation, India said that it can discern that there
is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Doha Round negotiations in
the minds of many developing country delegations, specially as to
what happens after MC9 regarding the other unresolved issues. Do they
get forgotten, with the demandeurs of new issues urging the membership
to move on to a carefully selected set of 21st Century issues or are
they going to be negotiated and agreements concluded on them before
a de facto new round of negotiations is launched after MC9?
"I think this uncertainty lies at the heart of the problem that
we are facing in terms of lack of progress in most areas. If we are
to break out of this impasse and move the multilateral process forward,
we need to build trust and confidence among the membership, not in
terms of mere words, which are never in short supply in international
negotiations, but in terms of concrete action in moving on areas of
interest to others that the Doha Round would get concluded on the
basis of the current mandate and the progress already achieved. Without
this reassurance being provided in terms of concrete action, the chances
of a breakthrough do not appear to be very bright."
As is evident from the interventions since the morning, India said
that a large number of developing country groups and individual delegations
are of the view that Trade Facilitation cannot be harvested on a stand-alone
basis and is not self balancing either from the perspective of the
demandeurs and recipients or from the perspective of a majority of
The questions raised earlier on Trade Facilitation since Singapore
and still being raised are who will it benefit in the short and medium
term, what will be the costs to be borne and who will bear them. With
the shape that the negotiations have taken in the current times, which
is focused mainly on import facilitation, these questions need to
be answered in order to provide comfort to the developing countries
that the Trade Facilitation agreement would be one, which will have
both internal as well as external balance.
Some other areas in Trade Facilitation that need to be fleshed out
through discussions is Needs Assessment for meeting the financial
and technical assistance requirements of the developing countries.
Another area that needs more fleshing out at this juncture, which
is in the middle game before MC9, is the nature of the compensation
that has to be provided to a complaining country (to the DSB) in case
of a default on the part of another country. In other areas covered
by WTO agreements, dispute panels have been asking a defaulting country
to bring the impugned measure in conformity with the relevant agreement.
The demandeurs have so far not made it clear as to what shape a possible
violation of a Trade Facilitation commitment would take. This would
need to be discussed in detail in order to allay the misgivings of
developing countries and bringing further clarity to the negotiations.
According to India, a number of delegations have stressed the importance
of achieving some deliverable by MC9 and have emphasized para 19 of
the MC8 guidance, which basically paraphrases para 47 of the Doha
mandate, to state that Trade Facilitation is the prime candidate for
early harvest by MC9. Some delegations have indicated that the Cancun
Agreement Specific Proposals and the Monitoring Mechanism could be
a good enough payment for Trade Facilitation in terms of being faithful
to the Doha mandate, apart from the LDC Accessions Benchmark guidelines.
"The question we need to answer is whether this payment is enough
from the perspective of the developing countries and the whole membership.
We have heard many delegations say that it is not enough. A number
of developing countries have stated that Agriculture has to be there
in the package, with the Cotton 4 stating clearly their expectations
in regard to Cotton."
India further said: "Others have mentioned market access issues
of the LDCs like DFQF and Services Waiver as priority items along
with Export Competition in Agriculture and a few other issues. Earlier
we had heard of the TRIPS extension also being one of the priority
issues for LDCs. This is one of the issues specifically mentioned
in para 10 of the MC8 document and we hope that this does not fall
through the cracks because the LDC's waiver period will come to an
end by the middle of next year."
Bearing in mind all these factors, India said that it is of the view
that the only way forward is to have a constructive, comprehensive
and meaningful discussion after the summer break among the membership
as to what kind of package can be aimed at in the short term.
"We cannot a priori include or exclude any issues from this package,
including Trade Facilitation. We have heard in the past that a small
package approach, initiated by the DG [Director-General] in 2011,
has not worked in the past and will not work now. It will only be
business as usual. However, the demandeurs need to bear in mind that
Trade Facilitation has been around as a WTO issue since Singapore
more than 15 years ago and pursuing it to the virtual exclusion of
other development issues of the Doha Round, specially those which
yield concrete market access gains to the poorest countries, may be
difficult to get off the ground."
According to trade officials, Bangladesh said that what we need are
practical and reasonable approaches to the issues in front of us.
We have to remember the importance of keeping the single undertaking
intact. There was basic convergence on an LDC package earlier and
this is a self-balancing agreement. It could be a confidence booster
to strike an LDC deal. The decision was taken long ago in Hong Kong
and all that is required is implementation. The LDC package would
be a strong bedrock for making progress in other areas, it added.
The United States said that overall we are in a better place than
we were one year ago. One year ago, we were having abstract debates
that got us nowhere and at MC8 we turned the page. The first step
in resolving a problem is recognising that you have a problem. In
the six months that have taken place since MC8, we have seen progress
on trade facilitation and on the agreement-specific proposals and
the monitoring mechanism.
It said that it hears concerns from some delegations that they are
concerned about issues being left behind. It said that it wants a
broad agenda too, something in agriculture, services, NAMA and rules.
It would like to see progress in all these areas. But its approach
is pragmatic and it sees opportunities for progress in some areas
to go ahead, and we should not wait but try and go forward where we
can, it added.
Norway said that it is concerned with what happens in market access
and rules issues where there has been no progress and where they need
to be part of a balanced outcome at some point.
Argentina agreed with the Cairns Group, and Cotton-4 on cotton. It
was of the view that tariff rate quota administration should be improved
and that export competition should be addressed. Agriculture continues
to be the bastion of protectionism par excellence, and we see all
manner of distortive practices including tariff escalation and subsidies.
It said it is facing difficulties with respect to private standards,
SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) standards and technical barriers
to trade, all of which distort trade in agriculture. It would like
to see all forms of agricultural export subsidies eliminated by the
2013 ministerial conference. +