Even as the talks for the Doha Round negotiations escalate to their most critical point, and there is a flurry of activity in Geneva with more frequent 'negotiating weeks' in agriculture, NAMA and services, many have the distinct feel that the real negotiations are taking place outside Geneva amongst 6 - 10 Members.
Senior trade officials of an 11 country group yesterday failed to narrow their differences on how to achieve 'ambitious' market access opportunities in the Doha Development Agenda industrials negotiations a result that could place this weekend's London trade ministerial summit in jeopardy, WTD was told.
Doha Development Agenda nonagricultural market access negotiations chairman Don Stephenson yesterday said members have only a 'small window' for reaching agreement by the end of April on what he called core elements of an agreement a formula, treatment of unbound tariffs and 'paragraph eight' flexibilities for developing countries.
A link to a letter from the U.S. textile industry calling for a sectoral on textiles under the NAMA negotiations. The proposal is for the complete elimination of tariffs in the textile sector. It was sent to the Chair of the NAMA negotiations in advance of last week's NAMA negotiations. Industry groups from Europe and the U.S. made presentations to WTO members to establish a sectoral on textiles. (Some are in favour of zero tariffs and others in favour of lesser tariff cuts). Apparently the EU convened the meeting as a way to intensify differences between developing countries (between those that currently receive preferences on textiles and those who don't).
US Trade Representative Rob Portman and visiting Australian Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile agreed yesterday that Saturday's Group-of-Six ministerial meeting in London will be crucial to the timely outcome of the Doha Development Agenda (WTD, 3/7/06).
The chairman of the World Trade Organization's negotiating group on non-agricultural market access (NAMA) warned March 7 that the window of opportunity was rapidly closing for a deal in the sector which would allow the Doha Round to be completed by the end of 2006.
Martin Khor, TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Mar06/5)
Negotiations on non agricultural market access (NAMA) will be taking place all this week at the WTO. Among the topics scheduled for discussion are flexibilities for developing countries, the link between agriculture and NAMA negotiations, non-tariff barriers and sectoral initiatives.
It seems times have changed. Information technology is out and agriculture is in. The thrust on agriculture is now enshrined in the draft of the Indo-US Knowledge initiative on Agricultural Research & Education, which is the agenda for US President George Bush when he comes to India in March 2006.
Goh Chien Yen, TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Mar06/6)
WTO members remain sharply divided on the industrial tariff negotiations, as the NAMA consultations stretched late into Wednesday 1 March evening. One of the main areas of contention appears to be over the special and differential treatment (S&D) to be accorded to developing countries, as stipulated in paragraph 8 of Annex B to the July 2004 Framework.