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TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Dec15/03)
7 December 2015
Third World Network


DG forced to insert specific language for DDA continuance post-Nairobi
Published in SUNS #8148 dated 3 December 2015


Geneva, 2 Dec (D. Ravi Kanth) -- China, India, and South Africa on Tuesday (1 December) forced the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo to insert their specific language for reaffirming the continuation of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations with the existing ministerial decisions and mandates in the draft consolidated Nairobi ministerial declaration, several trade envoys told the SUNS.

At a green room meeting of over two dozen trade envoys on 1 December, China, India, and South Africa made it clear to the Director-General that they will not allow the report prepared by the three facilitators to be a basis for finalizing the draft ministerial declaration for the Nairobi ministerial conference beginning later this month.

The three facilitators - Ambassador Gabriel Duque of Colombia, Ambassador Stephen Karau of Kenya, and Ambassador Harald Neple of Norway - circulated the draft consolidated Nairobi ministerial declaration on 27 November in which they omitted the written submissions made by a large majority of countries seeking the reaffirmation to continue the DDA negotiations in the post-Nairobi work program.

The facilitators merely said in Part I of their text that "The WTO shall remain the main forum to negotiate multilateral trade rules. At our Fourth Session, we launched for the first time in the history of the GATT and the WTO, a Development Round - the Doha Development Agenda. We have made some progress in the negotiations."

"We recall the adoption of the Protocol Amending the TRIPS Agreement and welcome the adoption of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) as the first multilateral agreement since the establishment of the WTO. We commend those Members that have already ratified the respective Protocols and look forward to further ratifications. We note with regret that much less progress has been made in central elements of the WTO's negotiating agenda, in particular in agriculture."

And in Part III of the text, the facilitators suggested the following language in Paras 23 and 24:

i) Paragraph 23 - "We welcome the advances made in the Doha Development Agenda. We regret that it has not been possible to reach agreement on all areas of the negotiations, including Agriculture, NAMA, Services, Rules, including fisheries subsidies, and TRIPS. In particular, we note the importance of agriculture to many WTO Members, including LDCs. We will therefore address all aspects of agriculture reform as a matter of priority."

ii) Paragraph 24 - "In reaffirming the centrality of development, we agree that the principles of Special and Differential Treatment and Less Than Full Reciprocity for developing and least-developed country Members shall remain integral parts of the WTO's future work."

China, India, and South Africa rejected the proposed language by the facilitators on the ground that it fails to reflect the written proposals as well as statements made by a large majority of countries during the Room W meetings.

The three countries told the DG to include their language in both the preamble of Part I and the post-Nairobi work program in Part III. Trade envoys from the three countries said that in case their proposed language is bracketed, then the language in the facilitators' report must be bracketed too, according to people familiar with the development.

On December 1, the six countries - China, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Venezuela - also issued their proposal containing the language to be included in the preamble and the post-Nairobi work program. The six countries suggested the following language to be inserted in the consolidated draft ministerial declaration:

i) Preamble: "We reaffirm the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), and the Declarations and Decisions adopted at Doha and at the Ministerial Conferences held since then, and further reaffirm our full commitment to conclude the DDA negotiations on that basis."

ii) Part III on post-Nairobi work program: "We reaffirm the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), and the Declarations and Decisions adopted at Doha and at the Ministerial Conferences held since then, and further reaffirm our full commitment to conclude the DDA negotiations on that basis."

More importantly, the six developing countries issued strong caveats to ensure that there is no omission or dilution of their proposals when members begin their Room W meetings on Wednesday. They argued that if their text is placed in brackets, then the "existing paras 23 and 24 of the Consolidated Draft by the Facilitators would also need to be in brackets, before any discussion on the Text takes place."

Further, the six countries maintained that their "proposal would also not prejudice Members' rights to make textual suggestions or express reservations/disagreement on any other paragraph of the Facilitators' Text during the discussion in Room W."

Following the initiative taken by the six countries, the African Group also decided to propose their specific language to ensure that the Doha Round is not buried in Nairobi, an African trade envoy told the SUNS.

In a nutshell, China, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Venezuela put paid to a devious stratagem being pursued by a handful of major developed countries to ensure that there is no explicit commitment to reaffirm the continuation of the DDA negotiations after the Nairobi meeting, trade envoys told the SUNS. +

 


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