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
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
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
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. +