Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Dec15/09)
15 December 2015
Third World Network
African, other Trade Ministers angry over US efforts to end DDR
Published in SUNS #8156 dated 15 December 2015
Nairobi, 14 Dec (D. Ravi Kanth) - Trade ministers from Africa and
several other countries are seething with anger over concerted attempts
by the United States and other powerful countries to terminate the
Doha Development Agenda (DDA) trade negotiations in Nairobi even before
the beginning of the World Trade Organization's tenth ministerial
conference on Tuesday (15 December), several trade ministers told
"We would not be willing to come here and agree for the conclusion
of the Doha Round," South Africa's trade minister Rob Davies
told the SUNS.
South Africa will not accept "some compromise language that would
amount to saying legally that the Doha Round is over and we would
not agree to that," Minister Davies maintained.
Minister Davies said "we are going to look at all kinds of proposals
carefully and we need to ensure the confirmation of Doha Round."
He said "a large majority of countries want to continue with
the Doha Round and the mandate is in favour of developing countries."
"We don't want to see that mandate discarded in favour of something
whose future we don't know, that is the real point," Minister
Even before an honest discussion began on the reaffirmation of the
DDA negotiations at Nairobi on Tuesday, the US Trade Representative
(USTR), Ambassador Michael Froman, issued a verdict that it is time
to abandon the Doha negotiations because they remain deadlocked.
"After 14 years, including the past two years of intensified
engagement, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Cecilia Malmstrom,
EU trade commissioner, and many others have been clear about the need
to chart a more productive path," Ambassador Froman wrote in
the Financial Times on Monday.
The USTR called for bringing "new approaches to the table...
Doha issues are too important to leave to the Doha architecture that
has failed for so long."
Further, the American trade chief argued that the agriculture subsidies
are provided by the emerging countries and not the US and the EU.
The USTR said "freeing ourselves from the strictures of Doha
would also allow us to explore emerging trade issues."
"One way or the other, this week's WTO ministerial conference
in Nairobi will mark the end of an era," Froman maintained.
"Pretending otherwise would intensify the search for solutions
outside the WTO, raising questions about its relevance in trade negotiations,"
the USTR argued.
A former Western trade envoy described Froman's article and the remarks
it contained as "an insult to the Kenyan cabinet secretary Amina
Mohamed and Kenya."
Asked to comment on Froman's remarks, the South African minister said
"I don't want to respond."
"We have come here with a very substantial draft text and the
big issue is the way the work program after Nairobi is defined,"
said Minister Davies.
"Here we have got very different and divergent views of a large
majority of members who want to reaffirm the Doha mandate and Doha
The South African minister also cautioned that there cannot be a "pressure-cooker
type of process."
"What is clear is that the Africa Group, the ACP countries and
other developing countries want to continue with the Doha Round,"