By Martin Khor, TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Oct06/04)
The World Trade Organisation's Doha negotiations should resume as soon as possible, and on the basis of the development mandate and principle so that the developing countries will really benefit, according to many developing countries individually or through their groupings.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab this week told members of the services industry that they are leaving too much of the lobbying for approval of trade agreements to agriculture groups, which are taking on that effort to an extent that is disproportionate to the importance of agriculture for the U.S. economy.
The United States and the European Union have concluded an agreement that will provide new commercial opportunities for U.S. banks and other service providers in the 25-nation EU, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab announced Sept. 25.
In Geneva, on Thursday, at the request of WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, the ambassadors of the 149 WTO member nations, meeting in General Council, officially agreed to suspend Doha Round talks indefinitely after the stalled meeting on 24 July when the major G-6 trading powers (EU, United States, Brazil, India, Australia and Japan) were unable to reach a compromise on the modalities (figures and other provisions) for trade liberalisation in agricultural products and non-agricultural manufactured articles (NAMA).
Martin Khor, TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Mar06/4)
The plurilateral services negotiations that were launched at the WTO on 28 February by the major developed countries (joined by a handful of developing members) are clearly aimed at creating a new negotiating method to more effectively pressurize some emerging developing economies to open up many of their key services sectors to competition from the large multinational service enterprises.
Martin Khor, TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Mar06/3)
Several collective requests were made on 28 February to selected countries to take part in plurilateral sectoral meetings under the WTO's services negotiations. More requests are expected to be made in the next few days.
The US has been asked by several trading partners to open up its port services to international competition, a longstanding request given more significance by the dispute over the takeover of P&O by Dubai Ports World.
Links to eight plurilateral requests for services liberalisation that have been submitted in the WTO. These include: energy, environmental services, telecommunications, financial services, architectural and engineering, construction, maritime transport, and computer related services.
The United States joined the European Union, Japan, Canada and other industrialized nations yesterday in presenting requests under a new plurilateral approach in the stalled Doha Development Agenda services negotiations.
An agreement was reached among a number of countries to pursue common objectives in improving access to selected telecommunications markets around the globe. The markets selected reflect the interest of many countries to develop a modern telecommunications sector. There is a broad recognition that the opening up of telecommunications markets will bring significant benefits to customers. Foreign operators will bring with them - especially to developing countries - valuable technological knowledge acquired through their operations in their home markets. Enhanced competition brings down the overall cost of services and consumers enjoy higher quality, advanced services at affordable prices. The development of telecommunications markets promotes the performance of enterprises of all economic sectors as the cost of their operations will be reduced while speed in conducting business will be improved.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative
The United States today launched a new effort to jump start the WTO Services negotiations. Joining with like-minded developed and developing countries, the U.S. will push for a common set of liberalization objectives in services sectors key to global growth and development. Services are a significant and growing part of the U.S. economy as evidenced by the $56 billion surplus in services trade in 2005. Further, 8 of 10 U.S. jobs are in the services sector.
Today, the EU and other developed and developing country WTO partners have submitted new market access requests in several services sectors as part of the DDA negotiations in services. These joint requests mark the beginning of the 'plurilateral' negotiations in services as agreed by WTO members at last December