Negotiations in the WTO are heating up – and they are going badly. In November last year, WTO members agreed to come up with a “Work Program” for resurrecting the Doha Round by July 31. In this article Deborah James of OWINFS network articulates civil society position on recent developments in WTO negotiations.
Today, 341 global civil society organizations – including development advocates, trade unions, farmers’ organizations, consumer and environmental groups from over 100 countries – sent a letter to WTO members today urging them to abandon the WTO expansion talks and instead focus on an urgent agenda to fix existing damaging rules in the WTO.
Several developing countries on Wednesday (July 8) expressed their frustration with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo's announcement that the work program with precise modalities for concluding the Doha Development Round (DDR) trade negotiations will not be delivered by end-July.
Major developing countries - China, India, Brazil, and South Africa - unambiguously rejected on Friday (July 3), a proposal from Canada to set "new landing zones" in the Doha agriculture package without adhering to the existing mandates that were negotiated since 2001, trade envoys told the SUNS.
Some 341 global civil society organisations (CSOs) on Wednesday underlined that if the upcoming tenth ministerial conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to be held in Nairobi, Kenya is to be a "success", it must deliver on development and turn around the WTO.
341 organizations of civil society from over 100 countries of the global North and South, as consumer groups, environmentalists, trade unions, farmers, and other development advocates, have sent a letter to WTO members regarding the wrong direction of the current WTO talks, and urged the governments to substantially turnaround the negotiations in advance of the December Ministerial in Nairobi.
Major developed countries, particularly the United States and the European Union, have vehemently opposed a proposal from the G-33 coalition for a permanent solution for public stockholding programmes for food security in the developing countries, several trade envoys told SUNS.
A proposal floated by the World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo during his meetings with seven major developed and developing countries to bring about convergence on the domestic support pillar of the Doha agriculture package has now surfaced in a non-paper issued by Australia and Canada, several trade envoys told the SUNS.
A report presented by the World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo on Wednesday (June 17) about his consultations with select trade envoys in different configurations raised more questions than answers over the continued attempts to rescue one major developed country which remains opposed to a developmental outcome in the domestic support pillar of the agriculture package for concluding the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) trade negotiations by the end of the year.
A majority of developing countries, at an informal meeting of the Special Session of the WTO Agriculture Committee on Tuesday (16 June), underlined that the Rev. 4 draft agriculture modalities text should remain the basis for moving forward the negotiations in agriculture.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General, Mr. Roberto Azevedo, in his current drive to conclude the Doha Development Round at the forthcoming Nairobi Ministerial meet, appears to have floated Thursday a concept on domestic agriculture support, upending all the collective efforts hitherto on further reforms in Agriculture, mandated by the Agreement on Agriculture of the Marrakesh Treaty of 1994.
A large majority of Members, mainly developing countries, have voiced strong support at the meeting of the TRIPS Council (9-10 June) for the request by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for an extension of the transitional period with regard to the intellectual property protection of pharmaceutical products, which is set to expire on 1 January 2016.
Trade ministers of leading developing countries denounced at Paris on Thursday (June 4) attempts by major developed countries to force a decision on the so-called "re-calibration" approach to lower the level of ambition of the post-Bali work program to conclude the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations later this year, several officials said.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mr. Roberto Azevedo, has issued to members what appears to be a sanitized version of his meetings and issues discussed with trade envoys in different configurations over the last one month. A glimpse of the closed-door consultations between the director-general and select trade envoys in various configurations were reported by different publications, including the SUNS.
There is still no clarity on re-calibration, simplification and doabilities, India told an informal meeting at the level of Heads of Delegation (HOD) at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Monday (1 June).
Kenya's foreign minister, Ms. Amina Mohamed, said here on Wednesday (July 1) that the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations cannot be concluded without "credible" developmental outcomes at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)'s tenth ministerial conference in Nairobi later in the year, several trade envoys told the SUNS.
The growing disquiet and discontent among the large majority of developing countries over the non-transparent manner in which talks over the post-Bali work programme are taking place at the WTO surfaced Monday at an informal meeting of the Negotiating Group on Market Access for Non-Agricultural Products (NAMA), as also at an informal Heads of Delegation (HOD) meeting in the afternoon.
In this Jakarta Post article Iman Pambagyo, Indonesian ambassador in charge of the WTO, strongly criticizes non-transparent negotiations process followed by developed countries and Roberto Azevedo, Director General of WTO to define the Post Bali Work Programme towards 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, later this year. He also called upon the ministers from the developing to insist strongly that the conversations in Geneva should be inclusive, transparent and flexibility for developing countries is a must.
The World Trade Organisation's Director-General Roberto Azevedo is apparently upset that his meetings with trade envoys from seven developed and developing countries to discuss the benchmarks in the market access pillars of agriculture and industrial goods for concluding the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations by the end of this year are being reported in some publications, including SUNS, according to people familiar with the development.
In a scenario more reminiscent of the bad old days of the pre-WTO trading system, of very restricted "green room" meetings, where a few developing countries are sought to be isolated and pressured to force down an accord on the membership, the WTO DG Mr. Roberto Azevedo has been apparently having closed-door meetings with trade envoys from the United States, the European Union, China, India, Brazil, Australia, and Japan.