Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Oct18/14)
22 October 2018
Third World Network
South call for expeditious conclusion of DDA talks, oppose new
Published in SUNS #8776 dated 18 October 2018
Geneva, 17 Oct (D. Ravi Kanth) - A large majority of developing and
poorest countries on Tuesday demanded the expeditious conclusion of
the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) trade negotiations while opposing
the aggressive attempts to pursue plurilateral negotiations in new
issues without multilateral approval, several trade envoys told SUNS.
At the informal Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) meeting, South
Africa, on behalf of the African Group, issued a strong call "to
continue to pursue outcomes on the core developmental issues in line
with the Doha mandate in respect to agricultural domestic support,
public stockholding and fishery subsidies."
The African Group said it is encouraged by engagement for making improvements
on cotton subsidies and market access.
The African Group demanded an outcome on the S&DT (special and
differential treatment) proposals. "As such, we do not see a
likelihood of consensus on proposals calling for graduation, case-by-case
application of S&DT or further differentiation," South Africa
India said "some of the ideas on reforms being floated, in their
breadth, novelty and potential impact are akin almost, to launching
a new Round, even when we still need to address some of the Doha issues,
build on the work done and harvest some outcomes."
India argued "we have been proponents of reforms of the Uruguay
Round agreements like the Agreement on Agriculture and believe, that
though reforms may be necessary, and even help enhance the effectiveness
of the organization, the need at this time, is to follow approaches
that build and enhance trust among Members, and provide a healing
India warned that attempts to run away from the core developmental
issues by pursuing new issues or reforms will have the following consequences:
* may increase divergences or are divisive, or
* freeze the inequities against the developing countries and LDC interests,
* perpetuate the monopoly of platforms and thwart competition, or
* go against the development focus which is part of the basic structure
of the organization, or
* seek to dump principles of non-discrimination and consensus which
have ma de the WTO inclusive, or
* those that do not address the asymmetry of existing agreements,
* those that would compromise the ability of developing countries
and LDCs to fight hunger and poverty which are still huge challenges
Malawi, on behalf of the ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific) group,
said "any proposals for WTO reform must clearly set out reasons
why this is considered necessary; how the reform takes into account
the interests of the whole WTO membership, especially developing countries,
including the ACP Group; and how the reform would contribute towards
the discharge of the DDA and other Ministerial mandates."
The ACP said "inclusivity, transparency, S&DT for developing
countries and LDCs are cardinal principles enshrined in the institution
that must be fully adhered to."
A large majority of developing countries - India, South Africa, Indonesia
on behalf of the G33 group, and the ACP group - called for addressing
the unresolved issues of the Doha work program.
Many developing countries expressed sharp concern over attempts to
undermine the consensus principle and "differentiation"
for availing special and differential flexibilities.
Many members said that they are ready to accelerate the current discussion
for crafting disciplines on fisheries subsidies.
Members, however, remained divided on the plurilateral discussions
on electronic commerce, micro, small, and medium enterprises, domestic
regulation for services and trade and gender.