Debating ‘10’ and ‘15’

Original Publication Date: 
1 March, 2007

Geneva - Ahead of another four-member ministerial effort to reach a "breakthrough" in the long-stalled Doha Development Agenda negotiations, the NAMA-11 coalition of developing countries yesterday warned that a Swiss formula coefficient of "10" for industrialized countries and "15" for developing countries is "totally unfair and unbalanced," WTD was told (see related report this issue).

The concept of "10" for industrialized countries and "15" for developing countries hides the reality that in actual percentage terms developed countries would make cuts of 23 percent to 25 percent in their bound industrial tariffs while developing countries would be forced to pare their industrial tariffs by some 60 percent to 70 percent, South African trade representative Faizel Ismail told WTD.

Even some industrialized countries such as Norway are understood to have spoken against the coefficient of "10" for industrialized countries, saying it does not force any adjustment, said sources.

Expressing sharp concern over repeated efforts to push the "10" and "15" scheme by some players, Mr. Ismail said "this also does not reveal the enormous imbalance in the efforts that have to be made by developed and developing countries, as the degree of adjustment involves loss of jobs and employment in developing countries." Besides, he added, it makes the principle of less-than-full reciprocity redundant.

NAMA-11

South Africa - which is the coordinator for NAMA-11 - is seeking a broader development dimension in the nonagricultural market access talks.

The European Union has insisted since the beginning that it would not accept anything less that "10" for industrial nations and "15" for developing countries. The United States has mooted a formula involving a difference of "5" between the coefficients for industrialized and developing countries.

In the last NAMA caucus session held on Friday, Pakistan Ambassador Manzoor Ahmad suggested a balanced deal would settle around a coefficient of "5" for industrialized countries and "25" for developing countries. A coefficient of "6" and "30", for instance, would reduce industrial tariffs on both sides by an equal 50/50 basis. But, he added, such an approach remains unacceptable to industrialized countries.