Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Oct14/03)
14 October 2014
Third World Network
outlines principles for post-Bali work programme
Published in SUNS #7891 dated 10 October 2014
Geneva, 9 Oct (Kanaga Raja) -- The African, Caribbean and Pacific
(ACP) group of countries at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in
a communication on the post-Bali work programme, has called for adherence
to the Single Undertaking for those areas where early agreement has
been reached and for remaining areas to conclude the Doha Development
Agenda (DDA), in accordance with Paragraph 47 of the Doha Ministerial
In a communication dated 6 October, Kenya, on behalf of the ACP Group,
outlining some principles for consideration in the preparation of
a clearly defined post-Bali work programme and calling for adherence
to the principle of the Single Undertaking, has said that development,
agriculture and Least Developed Country (LDC) outcomes "must
be prioritised and be concluded with tangible binding results."
The communication comes just as WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo,
in his capacity as Chair of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC),
has convened a formal meeting of the TNC for 16 October. This meeting
is to replace an earlier scheduled meeting for 6 October that was
In its communication, Kenya recalled that Ministers, under Part III
of the Bali Ministerial Declaration that was adopted on 7 December
2013, had instructed "... the Trade Negotiations Committee to
prepare within the next 12 months a clearly defined work program on
the remaining Doha Development Agenda issues. This will build on the
decisions taken at this Ministerial Conference, particularly on agriculture,
development and LDC issues, as well as all other issues under the
Doha mandate that are central to concluding the Round."
The ACP Group noted that since February this year and in subsequent
meetings, the TNC Chair has laid the ground for negotiating group
chairs to restart consultations with Members to test what is doable
to conclude the DDA.
Negotiating Group chairs have held meetings both in informal open-ended
and consultations format, it added.
In outlining its principles for defining the post-Bali Work Programme,
the ACP Group underscored that the single undertaking must be adhered
to for those areas where early agreement has been reached and for
remaining areas to conclude the DDA, in accordance with Paragraph
47 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration.
"As affirmed in the Bali Ministerial Declaration, development,
agriculture, and LDC outcomes must be prioritised and be concluded
with tangible binding results," said the ACP communication.
The ACP Group underlined that it "by and large was not the cause
of the breakdown in 2008 and in 2011." It took note of the call
of some major players to update data in light of the realities today,
and looked forward to the results of their work to update their data
and to resolve differences among them.
"So far, for most ACP States, the updated data analysis shows
that little has changed except that some ACP States have become further
marginalised in the multilateral trading system," said Kenya.
Therefore, it said, a key principle for the post-Bali Work Programme
is that the major partners take the leadership to conclude the DDA,
with development at the core of any deal.
The ACP Group said it is open to any ideas that may allow Members
to overcome the most critical and fundamental stumbling blocks in
the negotiations and that will maintain and adapt the principles behind
the flexibilities negotiated to date in favour of the ACP Group in
agriculture and NAMA (non-agricultural market access), and ensure
ACP States are not worse off.
"However, some of the new ideas floated so far should not undermine
the essence of the flexibilities elaborated so far in the existing
mandates in favour of developing countries and LDCs," the Group
According to Kenya, agriculture is a clear priority for the ACP Group.
It noted that there are a number of flexibilities the group supported
and fought for that must be preserved, including on SVEs (Small and
Vulnerable Economies), preference erosion, Special Products and the
Special Safeguard Mechanism.
"Indeed, increasing price and import volatility necessitates
access to an easily implementable safeguard mechanism. In addition,
a satisfactory solution on cotton is long overdue and we trust that
its prioritisation will result in a concrete solution on this issue,"
said the ACP.
With respect to NAMA, "our data has also changed very little,"
the Group underlined. "While, we are not demandeurs, we remain
concerned about preference erosion, the increasing impact of non-tariff
barriers, and approaches that can undermine our national developmental
and regional integration efforts."
The ACP Group reiterated the need for clarity and Secretariat work
on Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), similar to the work undertaken for
tariffs, saying that this would provide a complete picture of the
elements affecting market access for ACP products.
According to the ACP communication, services is one of the three market
access pillars and was, with agriculture, part of the Uruguay Round
"Services must not be ignored by major players in the quest to
fulfill the development component of the DDA negotiations," said
It emphasised that consultations in the services negotiations area
must also take into consideration flexibility for individual developing
and least developed countries, as provided for by Article XIX: 2 and
IV: 3 of the GATS and also be open-ended, so that all Members can
engage on what is to be achieved under this pillar to conclude the
According to the communication, ACP states have identified a number
of sectors and the modes of supply that will increase diversification
of their economies, employment and enhance global supply chains, including
services related to trade in goods as well.
In this regard, the ACP called on developed country Members to conclude
the services pillar with full bindings in the sectors and modes of
supply of paramount interest to developing countries and LDCs, particularly
Mode 4 and in sectors such as tourism, transport, ICT (Information
and Communications Technology), and a host of professional services
that are exported by them.
Moreover, it is expected that Members in a position to do so will
respond positively to the collective request on the LDC services waiver
submitted in July in time for the high level meeting to take place
six months after the submission date.
"If work advances in services domestic regulations negotiations
and other rulemaking, the ACP Group will continue to engage on the
development aspects but stresses that in the case of domestic regulations,
disciplines of importance to the group that impact on market access
in Mode 4 and the provision of professional services, such as qualification
requirements and procedures and licensing requirements must be addressed,"
said the ACP communication.
Central to concluding the Doha Development Round includes observance
of the Doha Declaration mandate in paragraph 44 for special and differential
treatment together with resolution of the original 88 proposals, which
are still on the table, said the ACP.
"These proposals must be resolved in a manner that reflects clear
value to developing countries and LDCs," it stressed. +