Civil Society Letter to Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO): Request by least developed country members for an extension of the transitional period with respect to pharmaceutical products and for waivers from the obligation of articles 70.8 and 70.9 of the trips agreement
Members of the World Trade Organization remained sharply polarized Monday over the "five approaches" put forward by the Chair of the negotiating group for further talks to finalize outcomes in market access on industrial products in the post-Bali work programme for concluding the Doha Round.
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.
Today, as Ministers meet to further a controversial and little known proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) on the sidelines of the annual Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meeting, Wikileaks released (wikileaks.org/tisa/) a trove of negotiating texts, including annexes covering a wide range of issues on domestic regulation, financial services, air and maritime transportation, electronic commerce, transparency, telecommunications, professional services, and the natural movement of persons (called “Mode4” in trade agreements.)
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.
A meeting of the WTO Committee on the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) on 8 May heard a number of participants calling for the rapid conclusion of the negotiations on the expansion of product coverage under the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). There was no agreement, and the next meeting of the Committee is set for October 2015.
A large majority of developing countries on Thursday (7 May) firmly rejected demands from the United States, the European Union, and other developed countries for binding the autonomous liberalisation measures taken by them in the services sectors after the Uruguay Round of commitments.
The developing countries made clear that they are not willing to undertake "commitments for free" in the Doha services negotiations, several services negotiators told SUNS.
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.