Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Oct15/03)
5 October 2015
Third World Network
US will deny S&D for China and India, no DDA after Nairobi
Published in SUNS #8103 dated 1 October 2015
Geneva, 30 Sep (D. Ravi Kanth) -- The United States intends to pursue,
after the Nairobi WTO Ministerial Conference, an aggressive trade
strategy by forcing "differentiation" to deny special and
differential treatment for China and India at the World Trade Organization
(WTO), several people familiar with the development told the SUNS.
The US has made it clear that it will bring about "differentiation"
ignoring any "objective criteria," but adopt a "subjective"
basis of its own, regardless of the norms applied by the United Nations
to classify countries as developed, developing, and least-developed.
At a closed-door meeting of trade envoys from the US, the European
Union, China, India, Brazil, Australia, and Japan, and the WTO director-general
Roberto Azevedo, the US trade envoy Ambassador Michael Punke has apparently
made it unambiguously clear that Washington will not only pursue differentiation
in the post-Nairobi phase, but will also not allow the Doha Development
Agenda trade negotiations to spill over into 2016, according to people
familiar with the meeting.
India and China firmly rejected the US pronouncements, and said they
will not allow undermining the S&DT architecture without an objective
India, China, and Brazil also made it clear that the Doha Round will
continue until all unresolved issues are comprehensively addressed
after the Nairobi meeting beginning on December 15.
During a stormy meeting where the discussions centred around the "small
package" for Nairobi proposed by the United States, Japan and
Australia, the post-Nairobi roadmap over the fate of unresolved issues
of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), and the issue of differentiation,
the US adopted aggressive postures on how it intends to realize its
On the issue of the small package, which includes the export competition
pillar in the Doha agriculture package, LDC issues, and transparency,
the Indian envoy Ambassador Anjali Prasad made it clear that she has
no mandate to pursue a small package without credible and comprehensive
outcomes at the Nairobi meeting, according to people familiar with
India also made it clear that New Delhi wants a clear "reaffirmation"
for continuing the Doha Round until all unresolved issues are addressed.
India sought to know what is there for developing countries, including
India, in the small package being pushed by the US, Japan, Australia,
and the EU, and why the proponents are not coming forward with proposals
on the export competition.
In a proponent-driven organization, asked India, why are the proponents
not tabling their proposals, according to people familiar with the
The EU which has earlier called for a comprehensive package as well
as the 2008 revised draft modalities to be the basis for outcomes
in the export competition, has suggested that it is ready to consider
an adjusted revised draft modality for export subsidies, export credits,
food aid, and state trading enterprises.
The US said categorically that "we will put nothing on the table
and we don't want anything from the negotiations" on export competition,
according to people aware of the meeting.
Effectively, the US, which is pushing for the small package based
on export competition, doesn't want to put any proposal of its own
on the table for discussion among the larger membership.
On the need for an explicit statement for continuing the Doha trade
negotiations, despite the small package of issues they have proposed
involving cherry-picking, the US, the EU, Japan and Australia insisted
they will not accept any reaffirmation of the Doha negotiations in
the post-Nairobi phase.
Australia threatened to walk out of the meeting if any proposal on
the reaffirmation to continue the Doha negotiations is considered,
while the US stated that there should be "zero illusion"
on any explicit statement for continuing the negotiations to address
the unresolved issues.
The US said it is willing to discuss agriculture and NAMA outside
the DDA after members return from the Nairobi meeting in January 2016.
Brazil said it would need certainty about the post-Nairobi roadmap,
particularly a statement at Nairobi that it is not the end of the
China said post-Nairobi is an ongoing process of the Doha negotiations
and the Round will go on until there is consensus among all members
to terminate the DDA negotiations.
Faced with unbridgeable differences among the seven countries over
the post-Bali roadmap on unresolved issues of the Doha agenda, Director-General
Azevedo said the best option is not to pronounce that the Doha Round
will continue or die in the final statement, according to people familiar
with the meeting.
The DG's statement at the G-7 meeting revealed his stratagem to bury
the Doha Round quietly at the Nairobi meeting, according to an African
Azevedo's conduct as Director-General came under criticism at the
WTO's Public Forum when Biraj Patnaik of the Right to Food coalition
in India pointed a finger at him in accomplishing the Trade Facilitation
Agreement for developed countries but not doing anything for developing
countries on public stockholding programs for food security.
Patnaik asked: "When can we hope to see the same level of political
will from you in resolving the public stockholding issue as you had
shown, while pushing for the Trade Facilitation Agreement? And I ask
this because there is a strong perception, and while perception may
not always be reality, it is always reputation - that the DG is batting
for the United States and the developed countries rather than helping
resolve the issues that are affecting hundreds of millions of poor
and marginal farmers not just in India but across the developing world
including Africa and Latin America."
Azevedo seemed rattled by the question and responded by saying that
"the D-G can only do so much; it's the members (who have to act).
And those who are not part of our world know that it's member-driven.
When people talk about Trade Facilitation being for developed countries,
that's baloney, it's good for everyone. It was adopted by consensus.
So we can't say it was imposed on members. The only reason we were
able to conclude the Bali package was that the developing countries
were pushing for it big-time. There are other issues, we had a very
important agreement on Food Security. It was very difficult. I was
not pushing for A, B, or C. The moment I am seen as pushing for one
side or another I'm dead. Because the members won't trust me."
Despite his public pronouncements, Azevedo's conduct at the closed-door
meetings such as the G-7 meeting on Monday clearly exposed his intentions
to place the Doha Round in a state of permanent coma and not bother
about its existence, according to an African trade envoy. +