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TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (May08/25)
26 May 2008
Third World Network

ANALYSIS OF CHAIRíS AGRICULTURE TEXT ON SPECIAL SAFEGUARD MECHANISM

The Chair of the WTO's agriculture negotiations Amb. Falconer issued a revised modalities paper on 19 May.

An important part of that paper is on the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) for developing countries.

From the point of food security and farmers' livelihoods, this text on SSM, If adopted, it would render the SSM ineffective and useless.†

It would only serve a negative purpose, i.e. that the world will be told there is now a safeguard to protect small farmers in developing countries, when in fact it will not do so!

Attached is my critique of the SSM text.† It comes with 3 annexes including a table of the examples given in the main paper.

Please also note the issue of whether the SSM covers only MFN trade or also includes imports under FTAs (or preferential trade).

In his previous Feb 2008 paper the Chair said that a country can choose whether to include agric products under FTA tariffs in the SSM. This was a positive measure as it means that the SSM can be used on agric products with low tariffs that were reduced under FTAs such as EPAs.† However in the new paper he says only products with MFN tariffs (i.e. negotiated in the WTO) can be included.† This is a big blow that reduces further the usefulness of the SSM.

This coming week will see meetings on ag and NAMA where the two papers will be discussed.† It starts on Mon 26 May with an ag meeting and on 27 May will be a NAMA meeting.

Regards
Martin Khor
TWN

Click here for paper

 


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