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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In this interview, Deborah James of OWINFS spoke about the ongoing tussle in the WTO around the question of food security. This debate is germane to India, whose government played a role at the last WTO meeting.
The WTO Director-General, Mr. Roberto Azevedo, appears to have attempted Tuesday (5 May) to tweak the Doha trade talks by dumping the "sequencing" framework, thus enabling the US to avoid answering tough questions on domestic support in agriculture for concluding the negotiations and ensuring a successful Nairobi Ministerial Conference.
The Doha trade talks and efforts to reach an accord on a post-Bali work programme are stuck on agriculture issues of domestic support and market access, with members standing firm on their positions and are a "long way" to meet the July deadline, the Chair of the agriculture negotiations said on 24 April.
Members of the G-33 farm coalition, seeking better terms for low-income and subsistence farmers in the developing countries, have severely criticised attempts to deny the special safeguard mechanism (SSM) for curbing the unforeseen surges in imports of agricultural products from heavily subsidised beneficiaries of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) under the Marrakesh Treaty negotiated during the Uruguay Round.
Towards 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December 2015, Chakravarthi Raghavan provides detailed analysis of critical issues faced by developing countries at the WTO to ensure a permanent solution to food security issues and translate into binding commitments the 'best endeavour' decisions of the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference.
Indian farmers organizations and civil society groups expressed serious concern over India - US agreement over public stockholding issue at the WTO negotiation. In a letter to commerce minister they argued that Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) needs to be rejected not only as a strategy but on its own lack of merit.
In the backdrop of agreement between India and US on public stockholdings for food security purposes this Global civil society letter highlights that the current solution is inadequate and calls upon WTO members to ensure that developing countries’ and LDCs’ interests are not sacrificed in the current negotiations and at the special General Council meeting on 26 November 2014 in order to clear the path for the TFA.
The United States and its close ‘allies' in industrialised countries, appear to be bent on continuing their campaign to paralyse all negotiations and talks at the WTO - on the other parts of the Bali package, a post-Bali work programme, and the Doha Round - by refusing ‘to work' on other issues, until the US-EU cherished protocol on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is agreed to and delivered. In this SUNS - South North Development Monitor article By Chakravarthi Raghavan analyses latest state of play in WTO negotiations and US & allies' negotiation strategies.
In a statement released ahead of the WTO General Council meeting tomorrow, farmers organization in India called upon the Indian Government to stand firm on linking the Food Security proposal with the Trade Facilitation Agreement in WTO. Farmers’ leaders expressed shock over the Chair's summary of the G 20 trade ministers meeting which was held on July 19 at Sydney.