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ASHA Kisan Swaraj
19
Dec

INDIA CAVES IN ON ALL RED LINES IN DRAFT WTO MINISTERIAL DECLARATION

India caves in all red lines in draft ministerial declaration:
WTO 10th Ministerial in Nairobi, December 19th 2015 
1. No permanent solution on public stockholding issue
2. No disciplines on Special Safeguard Mechanism – just a work program
Most damagingly in the final draft declaration that is likely to be adopted in two hours unless the Indian Minister steps in and wrecks the draft:
3. Doha Development Agenda is NOT re-affirmed in the draft. Instead, just a mention of Doha issues in Para 31. Ha was not merely a set of issues. It was a set of principles and a negotiating framework. In the absence of this, India stand to lose all the gains made int he past 15 years on Doha.
4. The draft declaration leaves the door wide open for new (Singapore)  issues including government procurement competition policy, transparency etc. all of which could never have been allowed in until all the issues in the DDA were comprehensively addressed.
INDIA HAS CAVED IN TO US / EU PRESSURE ON ALL COUNTS.  

DETAILED ANALYSIS:

The draft Nairobi Ministerial Declaration is a sad disappointment for the interests of developing countries in this, the first WTO ministerial on African soil. It is not in any way an affirmation of the achievement nor even affirmation of the development promised in Doha, so critical to Africa’s economic prospects, but rather the near-burial of the Doha Development Agenda.

The draft agreement, yet to be discussed and agreed by members, is being offered by the chair after consultation with an unrepresentative group of five countries – the US, EU, China, India, and Brazil. No Africans or LDCs were included in the final drafting, and they are now being presented with a take-it-or-leave-it text. They should leave it, not take it.

The text fails to affirm the past decisions made in the course of the Doha Round, including key commitments to act on cotton, of key interest to West African countries. It offers meagre progress on agriculture, with small advances on export subsidies, but little movement on export credits which the United States uses to favor its agricultural exporters. It provides no resolution of the public stockholding issue so crucial to India and other developing countries, despite commitments in Geneva last year to resolve the issue in Nairobi. Most notably, the negotiations excluded the most trade distorting policies – domestic support in developed countries – because the United States and other developed countries refused to allow it onto the agenda. This means that cotton-producing countries will continue to be subjected to price suppression and unfair export competition from the United States.

Perhaps worst of all, the draft declaration fails to reaffirm the commitment to the Doha Development Agenda, instead offering tepid support for the priority resolution of outstanding Doha issues. It then goes on to welcome the introduction of new issues – the Singapore issues of investment, public procurement, competition policy, transparency – proposals firmly rejected by African and other countries in 2003 in Cancun, Mexico.

As 27 African civil society representatives in Nairobi state in their reaction to the declaration, “Africa is being marginalized on the very soil of Africa.”

KEY POINTS OF THE DRAFT TEXT BELOW::

30. We recognize that many Members reaffirm the Doha Development Agenda, and the Declarations and Decisions adopted at Doha and at the Ministerial Conferences held since then, and reaffirm their full commitment to conclude the DDA on that basis. Other Members do not reaffirm the Doha mandates, as they believe new approaches are necessary to achieve meaningful outcomes in multilateral negotiations. Members have different views on how to address the
negotiations. We acknowledge the strong legal structure of this Organization.

31. Nevertheless, there remains a strong commitment of all Members to advance negotiations on the remaining Doha issues. This includes advancing work in all three pillars of agriculture, namely domestic support, market access and export competition, as well as non-agriculture market access, services, development, TRIPS and rules. Work on all the Ministerial Decisions adopted in Part II of this Declaration will remain an important element of our future agenda.

32. This work shall maintain development at its centre and we reaffirm that provisions for special and differential treatment shall remain integral. Members shall also continue to give priority to the concerns and interests of least developed countries. Many Members want to carry out the work on the basis of the Doha structure, while some want to explore new architectures.

33. Mindful of this situation and given our common resolve to have this meeting in Nairobi, our first Ministerial Conference in Africa, play a pivotal role in efforts to preserve and further strengthen the negotiating function of the WTO, we therefore agree that officials should work to find ways to advance negotiations and request the Director-General to report regularly to the General Council on these efforts.

34. While we concur that officials should prioritize work where results have not yet been achieved, some wish to identify and discuss other issues for negotiation; others do not. Any decision to launch negotiations multilaterally on such issues would need to be agreed by all Members.

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