Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (De15/14)
17 December 2015
Third World Network
Developing nations reiterate continuing Doha for redressing
Published in SUNS #8158 dated 17 December 2015
Nairobi, 16 Dec (D. Ravi Kanth) - Several developing countries on
Wednesday reiterated their stand for continuing the Doha Development
Agenda (DDA) negotiations to address the longstanding inequities in
the global trading system, particularly in the most heavily trade-distorted
agriculture trade dominated by the subsidizing countries.
Ministers of these nations stated this position at the plenary meeting
of the World Trade Organization's tenth ministerial conference here
in Nairobi on Wednesday (16 December).
Trade ministers of India, China, South Africa, Uganda, Lesotho, Rwanda,
and Venezuela among others delivered a strong message against attempts
to hijack the DDA negotiations, without resolving the core issues
of the Doha mandate, and commence work on new issues.
The Ministers also called for an inclusive process to finalize outcomes
at the Nairobi meeting instead of pursuing confessional meetings to
decide the deliverables.
India' trade minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman said "the DDA may
have run into obstacles but it is in our collective interest to continue
work in all pillars, keeping its development dimension intact."
"We are of the firm view that this Ministerial must clearly re-affirm
the Doha Development Agenda and all Ministerial Declarations and Decisions
taken since 2001 when we launched the Doha Round," said Sitharaman.
"These are all important - let us not waste time negotiating
which of these we should reaffirm and welcome," she emphasized.
The Indian minister said the tenth ministerial meeting in Nairobi
must safeguard the legitimate interests of poor farmers and the food
security of hundreds of millions in developing countries. "We
cannot continue with the rhetoric of a development agenda without
even a reasonable attempt to address issues which are of primary concern
to developing countries," she said.
The Indian minister argued that "for decades, a handful of farm
lobbies of some countries have shaped the discourse and determined
the destiny of millions of subsistence farmers of the developing countries."
Sitharaman expressed sharp concern that "the reduction in the
massive subsidization of the farm sector in developed countries which
was the clear cut mandate of the DDA is now not even a subject matter
of discussion today, leave aside serious negotiations."
"It is regrettable that longstanding issues of interest to a
large number of developing countries are being put aside for the future
and new issues of recent vintage are being taken up with unusual enthusiasm,"
She pointed to the remarks of the Kenyan President that at a time
when the meeting is being held in Africa, "Africa's farmers simply
cannot compete against heavily subsidized farmers in developed countries."
The Indian minister said the situation is the same in all developing
countries. India, she said, would "resist the temptation of overloading
the WTO agenda at this stage with 'new issues', when we are still
grappling with the completion of work in the DDA."
Many developing countries who spoke at the plenary also came out strongly
in support of continuing the DDA negotiations until they accomplish
the mandated goals of the DDA.