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Doha Round for Plan B to work: CUTS
Separate WTO and the Doha Round for Plan B to work: CUTS
June 01, 2011, Jaipur
reason behind the non-progress of the Doha Round of negotiations by
the WTO Members is that there is no clear, committed constituency
behind it in most countries. Neither the political leadership nor
the business is interested in concluding the Doha Round. On the
other hand, there is a committed constituency in favour of the
multilateral trading system,” said Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General,
“Unfortunately the latter has not strengthened the former. Now,
there is a danger that the lack of commitment on the former seeps
into the latter,” he argued.
to WTO Director-General’s yesterday’s presentation at the Trade
Negotiations Committee on a possible Plan B to be delivered at the
WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2011, Mehta said that it is
not necessary to equate the Doha Round and its positive outcomes
with the vitality of the WTO. “The success of this Plan B will
depend on de-coupling of these two issues,” he added.
of this Plan B is to deliver on some critical issues faced by the
least developed countries plus a few others and also to agree to a
plan to deal with the rest of the issues. There was general support
from the WTO Members to this Plan B but that is no guarantee that it
has already indicated its reservation on zero-duty market access on
all products from LDCs and also on cotton subsidies. These two
issues were specifically mentioned by the WTO Director-General while
presenting this Plan B.
‘plus’ issues proposed by various WTO Members to be included in this
Plan B include: export restriction, export competition in
agriculture, fisheries subsidies, 28 special and differential
treatment proposals (which were to be adopted at Cancun in 2003),
transparency mechanism in regional/preferential trade agreements,
horizontal mechanism in non-tariff measures.
Members also presented some principles that should guide the
selection of plus issues. They are: feasibility, doability, balance,
development, etc. Unless there is a firm direction to deal with
these issues they may degenerate into the mess as witnessed in the
Doha Round of negotiations.
early and positive outcome of the Doha Round would have strengthened
the WTO, should the opposite be necessarily true? The Doha Round
should be taken off WTO’s back by putting it on a track that is not
organically linked to WTO’s vitality.
to CUTS International, a leading international NGO working on trade
and regulatory issues, “The relevance, vitality and utility of the
WTO are not wholly dependent on conducting rounds of negotiations.
Mr. Lamy’s Plan B is in that direction and thus, it should be
For more information, please contact:
Bipul Chatterjee, Deputy Executive Director, CUTS International,
Archana Jatkar, Deputy Head & Coordinator, CUTS