An informal meeting of the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services on 7 May showed continuing differences among members, with key developing countries making clear that progress on agriculture and the US-EU concessions therein will be the yardstick for progress in other areas of the Doha negotiations.
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 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) group at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has called on WTO members to move forward on implementing the Bali Ministerial Decision of 7 December 2013 on preferential rules of origin for the LDCs. This call came at a meeting of the WTO Committee on Rules of Origin (CRO) on 30 April.
A large majority of developing and least-developed countries at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have demanded that the Annex C of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration must remain the basis for drawing-up the post-Bali work programme on services, according to trade envoys familiar with the non-attributable summary issued by the chair of the Doha services negotiations on 27 April.
A large majority of developing countries appear to have disapproved of the "re-calibration" strategy in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations, being promoted by the WTO head, Roberto Azevedo, and the industrialised countries, that will change the existing goalposts of the talks, to the detriment of its "development goals".
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.
In the background of informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee convened for 27 April Chakravarthi Raghavan argues that the large majority of developing countries hope WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo will come clean on what he intends to do with the previous mandates on the Doha Round talks, and whether in fact he intends to dump them as the US wants, and drastically change the special and differential treatment provisions in agriculture for developing countries in order to open their markets to heavily subsidised agri-exports of the US.
An informal meeting of the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services on Monday (20 April), amongst others, heard proposals from some Members on defining the services component of the post-Bali work programme on the remaining Doha Development Agenda (DDA) issues. Members also agreed that the services component of the work programme should include market access and rule-making for services trade, with the market access negotiations needing to move in parallel with the rule- making part of the services agenda.
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.