Published on May 7, 2008
THE STATE OF PLAY OF THE “PRE-DOHA” PROCESS FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF UNCTAD SECRETARIAT: THE STATE OF PLAY OF THE “PRE-DOHA” PROCESS FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF UNCTAD SECRETARIAT Murray Gibbs Head, Trade Negotiations and Commercial Diplomacy Branch Geneva, May 2001 FROM “POST-SEATTLE” TO “PRE-DOHA”: some new elements that are shaping the process : FROM “POST-SEATTLE” TO “PRE-DOHA”: some new elements that are shaping the process The failure of the 3rd Ministerial Conference in Seattle The “confidence-building” measures in the decision-making process at the WTO (more transparency) The increasing capacity of developing countries to make negotiating proposals and the role of the “positive agenda” The increasing role of NGOs and the media The on-going mandated negotiations and the work on the implementation issues The main “sticking points” to be solved before the 4th Ministerial Conference in Doha: : The main “sticking points” to be solved before the 4th Ministerial Conference in Doha: The status of the new EU preferential regime for LDCs (the “EBA” initiative): a waiver ? a binding provision? a fragmentation of developing countries ? Should the mandated negotiations be separated or linked to preparations for Qatar ? Round or no round ? The implementation issues should be a pre-condition for a new round ? ROUND OR NO ROUND?The “Plan A or Plan B” alternativeand their implications : ROUND OR NO ROUND? The “Plan A or Plan B” alternative and their implications Since the informal session of the WTO-General Council on May 3rd, the discussion concentrates on: Plan A: a Ministerial meeting launching a new round, with “new issues” on the agenda, i.e. investment, competition, government procurement, trade facilitation…and others?; or Plan B: a normal WTO Ministerial meeting, with no decision on a new round (but where the future work programme of the WTO has to be adopted). Some positions on the issue of a round or no round:: Some positions on the issue of a round or no round: India, Pakistan: the implementation issues should come first Egypt, South Africa: let’s consider investment and competition, but the implementation problems need to be solved LDCs: focusing on the preferential regimes Cairns Group: a round is needed to go beyond art.20 of the Agreement on Agriculture The US Trade Promotion Authority: The US Trade Promotion Authority Was submitted on May 10th by President Bush to the US Congress to obtain a negotiating mandate ensuring that the outcome of multilateral and bilateral negotiations will not be amended by the Congress. It includes: the objectives of the US trade policy the tools to achieve these objectives Some of the main objectives contained in the US Trade Promotion Authority: : Some of the main objectives contained in the US Trade Promotion Authority: “increased democratisation around the world” “mutually supportive trade and environment, and trade and labor policies” reciprocal market access for US goods, services and investment “a more open, transparent and effective trading system” a new round and some regional and bilateral trade agreements no trade barriers for electronic commerce protection of intellectual property and creating opportunities for export goods containing US technology. Preserve the current US antidumping legislation The US Trade Promotion Authority contains an“Labor and Environment Toolbox”: The US Trade Promotion Authority contains an “Labor and Environment Toolbox” This is an “illustrative” list of actions that the US could take “in combination with trade negotiations” to promote the protection of children, core labor standards and “supportive” trade and environment policies. That may indicate that the US are envisaging formulae such as “Annexes” to the bilateral or regional agreements on social and environment issues, as was the case in the NAFTA agreement. The interests of the European Union:: The interests of the European Union: The topic of investment and competition is the first topic in the proposed agenda for a comprehensive round; the EU states that all countries have a strong interest in this topic; The main EU’s goal is to achieve a plurilateral agreement in the WTO, i.e. outside any “single undertaking”. The EU talks about “trade and social development issues”. These positions will be influenced by other on-going negotiating processes:: These positions will be influenced by other on-going negotiating processes: In the Americas, the negotiations for a Free Trade Area were launched in the Quebec Summit last month; ACP/EU negotiations will start in 2002; many subregional integration processes are on-going in all developing regions, involving different degrees of trade liberalisation; accession of many developing countries to the WTO (China, many OPEC member states); expansion of the EU membership. The WTO (with or without a round) is not “the only game in town”... The views of UNCTAD Secretariaton future trade negotiations: The views of UNCTAD Secretariat on future trade negotiations The views of UNCTAD Secretariaton future trade negotiations: there are many important “pending issues” at the WTO:: The views of UNCTAD Secretariat on future trade negotiations: there are many important “pending issues” at the WTO: Many “traditional” border measures are still in place and contradict the argument of a “deep integration” in the trading system, such as: Residual trade protection targeting specific trade interests (tariff peaks and escalation, rules of origin, exceptions to preferences as sugar); Sectorial protection: special disciplines for agriculture and textiles; Discretionary trade measures that can be used when needed (AD, special safeguards, lack of commitments on movement of persons in services). Therefore….: Therefore…. The WTO should “go back to basics” and concentrate on the unfinished business of trade liberalisation; To give priority to the “non-trade issues” would overburden the system and stimulate regional or bilateral arrangements; Recede trade policy “from high to low politics”, as was the case during the GATT; avoid to impose new constraints to the domestic economic policies. The current work of UNCTAD Secretariat on the “positive agenda 2001”:: The current work of UNCTAD Secretariat on the “positive agenda 2001”: Analysing the negotiating proposals on services and agriculture; provide tools to identify the negotiating objectives and to formulate negotiating proposals; support regional integration among developing countries; support the acceding countries to the WTO; emphasise special and differential treatment.