Analytical Note, April 2011
Present Situation of the WTO Doha Talks and Comments on the 21 April 2011 Documents.
Although Doha started as a “Development Agenda” with a pledge that developing countries‟ interests would be at the centre, ironically there is hardly any development content left in the Doha elements. The WTO released on 21 April 2011, a 600-page package providing an overview of the last 10 years of Doha negotiations. The following papers provide analysis of this overall package.
1) Key Overview Paper: Present Situation of the WTO Doha Talks and Comments on the 21 April 2011 Documents
WTO released on 21 April 2011, a 600-page package providing an overview of the last 10 years of Doha negotiations. This paper is an analysis of this overall package. Although Doha started as a “Development Agenda” with a pledge that developing countries’ interests would be at the centre, ironically there is hardly any development content left in the Doha elements.
The agricultural deal has side-stepped the major issue of subsidies by developed countries. Special and Differential Treatment (S&D) for developing countries such as the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) is practically inoperable and ineffective. There are no results in cotton. In NAMA, the packaged is imbalanced and problematic in terms of the shrinking of developing countries’ policy space to carry out much needed industrialisation. The services report puts a ‘necessity test’ back in as an option in the domestic regulation negotiations. Key areas of interest to developing countries have been sidelined – Article XXIV; S&D and Implementation issues.
2) Comments on the WTO Agriculture Chair’s April 2011 Report (TN/AG/26)
This Analytical Note provides some commentary on the various outstanding issues highlighted by the Chair of the Agriculture negotiations. This is followed by a development assessment of the December 2008 modalities (TN/AG/W/4/Rev.4). The most glaring feature of this ‘Rev.4’ text is the myriad flexibilities provided to developed countries in the areas of Overall Trade Distorting Supports (OTDS); Aggregate Measure of Support (AMS); Blue Box; Green Box; Sensitive Products; Tariff Capping; Tariff Quota Creation; Tariff Escalation. In comparison, the Special and Differential Treatment provided to developing countries are much more limited, such as LDC flexibilities (only effective for LDCs not in customs unions); SVE flexibilities; 2/3 cuts for developing countries; Special Products; Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM). The SSM, as compared with the Special Safeguard Provision enjoyed by developed countries is a clear illustration of this point.
3) Comments on the WTO NAMA Chair’s April 2011 Report (TN/MA/W/103/Rev.3/Add.1)
This Note is a commentary on the textual report by the Chairman on the state of play of the NAMA negotiations (TN/MA/W/103/Rev.3/Add.1). Since the Negotiating Group on Market Access (NGMA) has been primarily discussing Non-Tariff Barrier (NTB) proposals, the paper focuses on those issues with a draft text or which have been subject to intensive discussions in the last few months, in particular: (1) Horizontal Mechanism, (2) Transparency and (3) International Standards. For each issue, we provide some suggestions for the way forward.
4) Comments on the WTO Services Chair’s April 2011 Report (TN/S/36)
The majority of developing countries do not have a comparative advantage in trade in services. Therefore, they frequently find themselves on the defensive side of the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) negotiations. For instance, many of the service sectors in developing countries are still in a formative stage and, therefore, might not be able to compete successfully with international firms. The Note is a response to the Report by the Chairman of the Council for Trade in Services to the Trade Negotiations Committee titled Negotiations on Trade in Services (WTO Doc. TN/S/36, 21 April 2011). This Note provides a chronological review of the GATS mandates as well as a critique of the Chair’s proposals for the way forward in the services negotiations and their impact on the interests of developing countries, including the least developed countries (LDCs), in the negotiations.
5) Comments on Trade Facilitation
6) Comments on the WTO Environmental Goods and Services Chair’s April 2011 Report
7) Comments on the WTO Chair’s April 2011 Report on TRIPS-Related (TN/IP/21 AND TN/C/W/61)
This article was tagged: Agriculture, Doha Development Round, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA), Services, Sustainable Development, Tariffs, Trade Facilitation, Trade for Development, Trade Liberalization, TRIPS