• It is not by accident, but by agreed intent that we have called these negotiations the “Development Round” and not a “Market Access Round”. Any outcome in this Round and at Hong Kong would need to pass this litmus test - development outcome test - and not ambition in market access alone as seen by some Members.

  • In fact, I have been calling for a 'Development Audit' of the Uruguay Round, as a mean to assessing the developmental impact both positive & negative of the Uruguay Round. Such an audit would help us tremendously in avoiding pitfalls, if any, and building upon strengths.

  • In Agriculture, it remains critical to our collective interests that the trade-distorting subsidies and protection provided by a few developed countries are eliminated so that a level playing field is established.

  • Export subsidies of all forms must be eliminated by a definite date and trade distorting domestic support substantially reduced under the Doha Round, in order to provide market access opportunities to all and to deliver the development dimension.

  • Agriculture supports and provides livelihood to the bulk of the farming community in the developing world. The viability and dynamism of our agriculture sector remains essential to secure success in our poverty alleviation strategies. We cannot accept proposals that would have the potential to disrupt our social and economic fabric.

  • Tariffs remain the only instrument of protection and for safeguarding food and livelihood security and rural development. Appropriate policy space must be intrinsic to any agreement at Hong Kong and beyond.

  • For India, satisfaction on appropriate number of Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanism with price and volume triggers are absolutely essential. We have been mobilizing the G-33 on this. I have constantly maintained that we cannot establish any linkage between Sensitive Products & Special Products, either in selection or number or treatment.

  • Sensitive products are sensitive commercially; whereas special products are special because they deal with the food & livelihood security of millions of poor people.

  • The first & foremost point we have been making is that Para 8 flexibilities (to set aside a certain percentage of our products and keep them insulated from tariff cuts) is a stand-alone provision, and cannot be traded off against less than full reciprocity in the tariff reductions formula.

  • In non-agricultural market access (NAMA) negotiations, India seeks significant market access for developing countries through reduction in tariff peaks, tariff escalation, high tariffs and non-tariff barriers in the developed countries on products of our export interest.

  • Here again any proposal for Swiss formula with a single coefficient for developing and developed countries alike is a non-starter. Developed countries are to undertake greater percentage reduction commitments through the formula. Para 4 is clear on this. We should determine the level of ambition in reduction percentage terms, and not in end-result terms. There is no mandate for harmonization.

  • Under Services, progress in negotiations have been slower than we desire, but hold promise of optimistic results. 28 countries including India have submitted their Revised Offers. India filed its revised offer in August. India's Revised Offer is a substantial improvement over the Initial Offer. (11 sectors and 94 sub-sectors are covered in the Revised Offer, as opposed to 7 sectors and 47 sub-sectors in our Initial offer).

  • Unfortunately, there is not much improvement in areas of interest to India viz. Movement of Natural Persons (Mode 4) and Cross Border Supply (Mode 1) in the offers of developed countries, but discussions in the Group co-chaired by India have been positive, and we expect a better result.

  • Coupled with market access (Mode 4) commitments, it is equally important to have disciplines on domestic regulations. In particular, qualification requirements, licensing requirements and technical standards should not be such as to impede effective market access.

  • In the light of the architecture of GATS, proposals based on quantitative targets on a one-size-fits-all basis disregards the ability and sensitivities of developing countries, and so we have opposed it. We have suggested qualitative bench marking, instead.

  • Developing countries are a recognised repository of traditional knowledge. The traditional knowledge of their indigenous communities has been used for ages to provide cost effective cures for a number of ailments. Developing countries have, therefore, sought amendments in the TRIPS Agreement to prevent bio piracy of biological material and to prevent misappropriation of traditional knowledge. We are asking for disciplines on disclosure of the source of origin of the biological resources and traditional knowledge along with securing prior informed consent and equitable benefit sharing.

  • It is a matter of concern that developed countries have been attempting to introduce a new classification of 'advanced developing countries'. We have made it clear that any such divisive attempt can derail the round.

  • The emergence of G-20, of which India is a founder member, and the lead role being played by it has been pivotal in the area of agriculture negotiations.

  • India has been actively engaged in different formats (FIPs, G-4, G-20, G-33, Core Group on Services) in the negotiations and would continue to play a constructive role in pursuing its national interests. In fact, in the FIPs, India along with Brazil are representatives of the G-20.

  • I have just come back from G-4 meeting on November 7 which India hosted at London and meeting of some key Ministers at Geneva. There are such wide gaps in the negotiating positions. Therefore, expectations for Hong Kong would need to be calibrated downwards. But this does not mean that the major milestone but all the same, a milestone, is on the way. It was never meant to be the final destination. In my assessment, another 6 months or so of negotiations would be required after Hong Kong in order to accomplish full modalities.

  • The next few days are crucial in order to make progress. All efforts would need to be made to bridge the gaps in positions. The onus, however, remains on the developed countries to move and to meet the aspirations of developing countries. In my interaction with key Trade Ministers, I have made it very clear that July Framework was not up for re-negotiations and there was no question of it being reopened. India is willing to work with other countries with a view to delivering pro-development outcomes and balanced progress on all issues under negotiations.

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Kamal Nath's Letter to WTO Members on Development
 
D.O. No. 5/ 13/ 2005-TPD
NOVEMBER 3, 2005

Dear Colleague,

It is with concern that I write this. Barely a month remains for the Ministerial in Hong Kong, China, yet the real issues remain clouded and are being pushed into the background.

The negotiations launched at Doha, and its elaboration through the General Council Decision of 1 August 2004 (the "July Framework"), are intended to secure a pro-development outcome for developing countries and at the same time to render the international trading system more open, based expressly on fair and equitable rules and disciplines. "It is not by accident, but by agreed intent, that we have called these negotiations the 'Development Round', and not a 'Market Access Round'. The WTO is not about free trade alone, and our endeavour should be to ensure success at Hong Kong without glossing over the critical aspects - aspects which form the very basis of a Development Round or else there will be no success".

There are many parallel and complementary tracks to achieving these developmental objectives. Unfortunately, we find that discussions based on some proposals, including those made recently by some Members, have led us on the single track of so called ambition, and ambition alone. Ambition means different things to different countries: to some it means market access: to four-fifths of humanity it means development.

The imbalances in the international trading system remain entrenched. The Uruguay Round has not unshackled the chains that tie down the family farms, the small and marginal producers of industrial goods and the professionals and services providers in developing countries. No "real" reductions in agricultural subsidies by the developed countries have resulted, while "real" market access in products of export interest to developing countries remains impeded by tariff peaks, escalations, specific duties, and non-tariff barriers. These are exemplified by the situation of cotton farmers in developing countries, articulated most eloquently by the four African nations in their submissions to the WTO membership.

Keeping this context, let me start with the negotiations in agriculture. The July Framework is categorical when it agrees that "[a]griculture is of critical importance to the economic development of developing country members and they must be able to pursue agricultural policies that are supportive of their development goals, poverty reduction strategies, food security and livelihood concerns".

Positions of some Members based on demands for "real" market access undermine the need for this very policy space for developing countries and our agreement to make special and differential treatment integral to all aspects of the negotiations. These demands would impose a disproportionate and high burden on developing countries, and seek to reintroduce norms that were expressly rejected out of both the Doha Mandate and the July Framework. They also distract us from the "real" need to introduce a level playing field for the very developing countries towards whom this extortionate intent is directed.

We must remember that tariff reduction is not only the pre-condition for market access. For "real" market access to accrue, it is also necessary that export subsidies, domestic support and non-tariff barriers be eliminated. Till these trade distorting measures continue to remain in use, recourse to appropriate tariff limits will continue to remain the primary instrument to protect vulnerable and resource-poor farmers in developing countries. Subsidized products are as much, if not more of an impediment to market access than tariffs, since subsidies and support are even more trade distorting.

India, through its alliances in the G-20 and G-33, has emphasized that it is nevertheless willing to undertake substantial commitments in market access based on bound tariffs, but which do not risk the livelihood of its large vulnerable and poor rural communities. India remains committed to the G-20 offer of 12 October 2005, which is premised upon proportionately lower commitments by developing countries than those by the developed countries, and full satisfaction on the effectiveness and operational content of Special Products (SP) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) to enable developing countries to meet their food security, livelihood security and rural development needs, without restriction or limitation. I welcome also the proposal of the ACP Members who have come forth with another generous offer despite their known capacity constraints.

In NAMA, the commitments required to be undertaken by the WTO membership as a whole are crystal clear. Developed countries are to undertake greater percentage reduction commitments through the formula, and necessary flexibilities are to be provided to developing countries to address their sensitivities. These are not trade-offs inter se. Agreement on the extent of flexibilities in paragraph 8 would provide the necessary clarity to engage constructively on the formula and treatment of unbound tariff lines.

The main task before us in NAMA is to define the level of ambition for developed countries for reduction from bound rates. We note with concern some recent proposals suggesting new norms to measure tariff reduction from applied rates. These are totally extraneous to the mandate and can only complicate the negotiations. Once the level of ambition has been defined, we can peg the reduction commitments of developing countries at a proportionately lower level as agreed in the Framework.

Any single-coefficient Swiss formula for developing and developed Members alike inverts special and differential treatment, and is a non-starter. The Framework Agreement itself militates against such proposals. In simple terms, such self-serving proposals demand more than just "real" market access from developing countries. For example, while the EC's proposal, seeks reduction in bound tariffs by 77% from India, it entails a tariff reduction of a convenient 28% from the EC and a mere 24% from the US. In contrast, the ABI formula seeks equivalent percentage reductions on the present average bound tariff of each Member.

Progress on the services negotiations is very slow. The services market in developing countries is still evolving, and the architecture of GATS provides flexibility to them to undertake commitments according to ability and need. Proposals based on quantitative targets on a one-size-fits-all basis disregard their ability and need as well as their sensitivities. In a Development Round the way forward would be liberal commitments on Mode 1 and Mode 4 by developed countries. These are crucial to providing the required developmental content.

Developing countries are a recognized repository of traditional knowledge contributed to also by their bio-diversity. The traditional knowledge of their indigenous communities has been used for ages, inter alia, to provide a cost-effective cure for a number of ailments. In the recent past, attempts have been made to misappropriate this knowledge for commercial gain, denying in the process the value that justly should be reaped by these communities. Developing countries have, therefore, sought amendments in the TRIPS Agreement to prevent bio-piracy of biological material and to prevent misappropriation of traditional knowledge. Disciplines on disclosure of the source and country of origin of the biological resources and traditional knowledge along with securing prior informed consent and equitable benefit sharing would be fair and equitable and should be agreed to. Respect of intellectual property rights of individuals should be complemented by respect of intellectual property rights of communities.

We also need to ensure that the flexibilities that were agreed to for arriving at the decision to address the public health issues in August 2003 are observed in letter and spirit to deliver the development goals. For that, we support an amendment in the TRIPS Agreement to bring in these flexibilities.

In the negotiations on trade & environment, rules and trade felicitations, also, we must address the specific needs and interests of the developing countries.

Developing countries have put forth several constructive proposals on development and implementation issues which are of considerable significance to them. Substantive progress on these issues must take place by Hong Kong. It is important that we agree on an S&D package for LDCs. especially the duty free and quota free access to LDCs exports in developed country markets. We need to make progress on the work programme for small economies in accordance with the Doha mandate and also address the concern of preference erosion.

I would caution against any attempt to redraw the Doha mandate itself and disrupt the basic structure of the GATT/WTO by creating a new category of WTO Members called "advanced developing countries". Foremost, this is divisive and could well have the effect of derailing the negotiations in their entity.

Deadlines are important-but more important than anything else is to have a deadline to achieve development. An equitable and fair outcome to the Doha Round, at Hong Kong and beyond, should deliver effectively on the development dimension. India looks forward to working constructively towards this objective.

With regards,

 

Yours sincerely,
KAMAL NATH

 

To
Trade Ministers of all WTO Members countries

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'Development impact must be touchstone of Doha talks' : Kamal Nath
I am honoured and truly delighted to be here with you as a Special Invitee to this ACP/G-90 meeting, organized as it is at a crucial juncture of the ongoing Doha negotiations. The special significance of this may I say, historic meeting lies in the fact that the vast majority of the countries for whose development we together launched this Round in 2001 are gathered here. It was not by accident that this Round of negotiations was called a “Development Round”. It was an act of deliberate purpose. We are determined that this Round should contribute immensely to the development of all countries and towards creation of a fair and equitable world trading system. After all, the WTO is not only about free trade, but, perhaps more importantly, about fair trade.

In the Doha Declaration we have recognized the need for all our peoples to benefit from the increased opportunities and welfare gains that the multilateral trading system generates. Considering that the majority of WTO Members are developing countries, our needs and interests are the core, the kernel of the Doha Development Agenda. It is in this context that enhanced market access, balanced and equitable rules, and well-targeted, sustainably-financed technical assistance and capacity-building programmes have been mandated. The 'developmental impact' of any agreed formula, rule, discipline or commitment must be the touchstone against which it is judged. And if the impact on development is adverse, it should be forthwith discarded, and a positive, pro-development solution found.

 

Development is not an adjunct to the global economy; it is, simply put, the key. Unlocking the growth potential of the developing countries is the only way ahead for us. New opportunities and new vistas have to be opened up in the developed economies. The developed world should recognize the new economic architecture. The large range of protective and support measures in inefficient sectors in the developed economies have to be phased out. They extract far too high a development cost from the rest of the world for us to sustain them any longer. Wide-ranging and far reaching adjustments are required not to devastate agriculture in poor countries, but to boost investment in the agricultural sector of developing economies. This will promote ancillary industrialization, development and trade, and provide the much needed impetus to global growth.

Agriculture is crucial for us in the developing world. Two thirds of all poor people in developing countries live and work in the agricultural sector, depending on agriculture for their livelihoods. In India, for example, we have 650 million people dependant on agriculture not as a commercial or economic activity, but for their basic sustenance. The situation is not much different across the developing world. This contrasts sharply with the situation in the developed world where agriculture accounts for less than 5 per cent of output and employment.

The perverse impact of policies in developed countries may bring financial benefits to a section of their people, but extract its price in blood from elsewhere. The high subsidies in cotton alone for rich farmers in developed countries are responsible for the devastation of the livelihoods of millions of poor farmers. The case of the cotton producers across West Africa is an open wound, a blot on the conscience of the world, that requires to be redressed expeditiously if the multilateral trading system is to retain its credibility.

I am disturbed by some of the proposals that we have seen presented by some our developed trading partners. We are being asked to accept steep market access commitments as a quid pro quo for their own commitments towards reducing their domestic support. This totally disregards the fact that while tariffs are the only means of protection of vulnerable farming communities in developing countries, and are legitimate economic instruments, domestic support & export subsidies are grotesquely distorting. It is intrinsically wrong to play off one against the other. We have to move forward in this area and cannot wait for another eight rounds of negotiations to go through for straightening out the imperfections in the agricultural trading regime. We need meaningful commitments from the developed countries for agriculture across all its pillars and aspects in this Round.

Very little is being done to address the most significant structural distortions in the international trade on agricultural products. A multiplicity of non-tariff and tariff-based measures, high tariffs, sharp tariff escalation, seasonal duties, and non-ad valorem duties on agriculture make a mockery of the trading rules that are being preached to us as being development friendly for industrial products.

For a successful Doha Round, due recognition must be given to the enormous imbalances in the global trading system that is reflected in the inequitable distribution of the gains from globalization and the continued protection in the developed countries of the products of interest to the people from developing countries.

In the NAMA negotiations, the first thing that has to be acknowledged is the extensive autonomous liberalization that has taken place in the developing world with or without any reciprocity. The developing countries have steadily been improving their market access for all. The result of tariff reductions has been both beneficial and disastrous. In some countries, we have certainly benefited, but this is not always the case. I wouldn't like to quote specific instances but in some countries real de-industrialization (which I recognize is a very strong word), has occurred due to drastic reduction of industrial tariffs. Some of the adverse impact is a consequence of the demands made in the Uruguay Round.

Therefore, from the development perspective, while there certainly is a case for multilateral liberalization of tariffs this cannot be unmindful of the national development priorities, the policy space requirements and the situation of the specific industrial sectors in developing countries. It is for this reason that any NAMA tariff reduction formula should fully capture the legitimacy of the policy paths chosen by various countries, and not try to strait-jacket them into a single mould. There is no mandate for harmonisation, while it is crystal clear that there should be less than full reciprocity in reduction commitments. Let us not quibble about coefficients. After all, coefficients are just mathematical symbols. What is relevant is the effect of the formula. The reduction percentages that result from the formula should reflect the principles
of S&DT.

It is no secret that the developed countries are highly competitive in the industrial sector and relatively insignificant adjustments will be required of them in this round. The major area of concern for us in the tariff structure of developed countries is the tariff peaks and tariff escalations that they still maintain. I call this an area of major concern as these tariffs are specifically on products of interest to developing countries fisheries, textiles and clothing, leather and leather manufactures. What is the use of granting zero duty access for luxury cars and sophisticated electronic equipment, but imposing a 30% duty on leather handbags?

In addition to this, of course, is a range of non-tariff barriers, which keep morphing into various shapes, anti-dumping rules and frequent changes in standards and procedures, disrupting developing country exports and retarding their potential to export markets. These have to be addressed as the barest minimum outcome of this Round.

While Agriculture is certainly the greatest source of livelihood in developing countries, we cannot deny the fact that the industrial sector also continues to be critical as a source of livelihood. This reality is often ignored. The industrial sectors still provide a significant part of labour intensive employment and output of developing economies.

Does this mean that nothing 'ambitious' can be achieved in NAMA? Not at all. Of course, we can achieve ambitious results. In the first place, the Doha Round provides us with an opportunity to increase the level of bindings in all WTO members we could all agree that 100% binding (subject, of course, to the flexibilities provided for in Para 8) is an objective for all of us. This will help create a more transparent, inclusive and certain trading system. Further, the modalities for liberalization in NAMA must accomplish two things simultaneously: (i) ensure that the remaining high tariffs, tariff peaks and tariff escalations in developed countries is eliminated in this round, and (ii) ensure that sufficient flexibility that accommodates the sensitive sectors and adjustment needs of developing countries is provided for. These flexibilities are 'stand alone', and cannot be traded off against the tariff reduction formula.

A point of over-arching relevance is that all developing countries, particularly the small, weak and vulnerable countries and LDCs will face significant transitional costs. The issue of preference erosion is a real challenge. We fully recognize that the particular development challenges of small, weak and vulnerable countries need to be addressed if the development outcome of the Doha Round is to be a reality.

I have just returned from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta where I had the privilege of representing my Prime Minister, and also interacting with the Heads of Government of about thirty countries present there. These concerns were most forcefully and eloquently expressed there. The CHOGM virtually converted itself into a Trade Meet! And instead of a couple of non-descript paras in a communiqué, the CHOGM decided to issue a full-fledged Declaration on Multilateral Trade issues. Considering that the Commonwealth accounts for 40% of WTO membership, and includes developed countries, this is significant.

We must be ever-persistent and ever-vigilant. Persistent, till our developmental goals are met, and vigilant that this is achieved without sowing division amongst developing countries. The fact that South-South trade is rapidly growing points out correctly that we are capable of aiding each other while maximizing our own benefit and advantage. This is a path that we will continue to follow vigorously and diligently. But we should not let developed countries garb their self-interest in a fancy-dress of concern for some sections of developing countries at the cost of others.

We need creative solutions that will address the problem of preference erosion for preference dependent countries without further delaying market access for products from all developing countries. Extended adjustment periods can certainly be considered. However, limiting the extent of liberalization in areas of sensitivity of the developed countries in the guise of helping preference dependent countries has to be recognized for what it is-self serving and not sustainable.
There are solutions within the unilateral preference schemes that have to be explored. The rules of origin often promote exports from the preference giver that is not the declared purpose, and should therefore be rectified. If the rules of origin were to allow import of the raw material from any source, the competitiveness of the preference receivers will improve automatically. It will help them integrate better with the world economy. For those economies that face adjustment costs, assistance must be provided for supply-side development. Assistance will be required to advance their efforts to facilitate trade, build capacity diversify their economies and strengthen their competitiveness in order to take advantage of new trade opportunities provided by a successful Doha Round. A fund to assist countries to manage the impact of preference erosion should be created.

Developing countries are often castigated for not being 'ambitious' enough. We are told that the Doha Round will be a failure if an 'ambitious' result is not achieved. Ambition is certainly a good thing. We should all have ambition I cannot quarrel with this lofty objective. But ambition means different things to different people. Ambition can only be judged within a context. If the objectives of that context are achieved, then ambition is achieved. The Doha Round is a development round and so ambition must reflect development. Six months ago at the OECD meeting in Paris, I called for a Development Audit of the Uruguay Round. Unless we are able to evaluate the developmental impact of decisions, we will not be able to effectively translate our declared objectives into reality.

As we race towards Hong Kong, we must all be optimistic and work hard for success. We must be conscious of deadlines; deadlines are indeed important but, as I said in my letter to you a few weeks ago, most important is the deadline to end poverty, the deadline to achieve development. India is committed to work with all developing countries, and especially the weak, the small, the vulnerable, the most exploited and the least developed, to achieve this common objective!

(Text of the address by Mr. Kamal Nath at the ACP / G-20 summit in Brussels on 30th November, 2005)

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G-20 Proposals
on
Domestic Support
&
Market access
 
The G-20 - an alliance of agricultural exporting countries in the WTO negotiations on agriculture - finalised its proposals on market access and domestic support and presented the proposals to the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) of the WTO in Geneva on 12 October, 2005. India believes that the proposals represent the true middle ground between the extremes of the US proposals on the one hand, and the European Union (EU) and G-10 proposals on the other. The defensive market access interests of India are fully reflected in the proposals, Mr. Kamal Nath said. The G-20 proposal on market access states that: "G-20 recognises the need to safeguard developing countries' farmers against imports from developed countries benefitting from trade-distorting domestic subsidies. Developing countries will have the right to have recourse to remedial action against such imports. G-20 will submit a proposal to ensure that right". It was at India's request that the G-20 agreed to prepare a paper on the right of all developing countries to take remedial action against subsidised imports. Details of G-20 proposal are given below:
 
G-20 Proposal on Domestic Support
12 October 2005
 
  1. The G-20 reaffirms its document dated 5 July 2005, "Draft elements for discussion on Domestic Support", in which it presented the structure for reductions in AMS, de minimis and overall trade distorting support, as well as the note regarding the elements for the base for overall reduction appended to it. A copy of the previous G-20 paper on domestic support is attached for reference.

  2. In particular, the G-20 highlights the fact that in order to deliver the Doha mandate of "substantial reductions in trade distorting domestic support", it is necessary to count with a combination of cuts, disciplines and monitoring.

  3. Regarding disciplines , the G-20 has circulated its proposals" Review and Clarification of Green Box Criteria"and G20 Elements for discussion: Blue box" and has just endorsed a document on product-specific capping. With that the G-20 will be covering all elements concerning disciplines provided in for the Framework that are essential tools to complement cuts.

  4. Furthermore, the G-20 is also tabling a proposal on monitoring and surveillance that will further enhance the mechanism to ensure transparency and compliance with the commitments members entered into.

  5. In order to move forward the negotiations, the
    G-20 presents below its proposal on the level of ambition regarding cuts of overall trade-distorting support and AMS.

  6. As S&D is an integral part of all elements of the negotiation, developing country Members required to do so will undertake a cut less than 2/3 of the cut to be undertaken by developed Members in the same band.
    I. Overall Trade Distorting Support

  7. The Doha Declaration mandates negotiations to achieve the objective of "substantial reductions in trade distorting domestic support". In keeping with such instruction, the July Framework, indicates that the overall cut constitutes the central elements of the pillar to which all other elements of domestic support-AMS, Blue Box and de minimis -should adjust to (see paragraph10 and 12 of the Framework). With that the Framework provides for an overall restriction to the level of subsidies independent from how it is classified under the different boxes and allow for the fulfillment of the objective of bringing down levels of applied trade-distorting domestic support.

  8. The G-20 Proposes that the bands and the cuts for developed countries be defined as follows:
    Bands (Thresholds in US$ billion) Cuts
    Over60 billion 80%
    10-60 billion 75%
    0-10 billion 70%

  9. As to S&D, given the difference in de minimis entitlements between developed and developing countries (5and 10% of total value of production, respectively), developing countries should be in a separate band for overall cuts. Furthermore, developing countries without AMS entitlements shall be exempted from making an overall reduction to their trade-distorting domestic support, since they will be exempted from making reductions to their de minimis.
    II DE MINIMIS

  10. Reductions shall be made to both product and non- product specific de minimis. The level of such reductions will be such to adjust to the rate of cut for the overall trade- distorting support.

  11. Developing country members with no AMS entitlements shall be exempt from reductions The level of reduction of de minimis for those developing country members with AMS entitlements will be determined in relaton to overall reductions of trade-distorting domestic support, bearing in mind that those developing countries that allocate almost all de minimis support for subsistence and resource-poor farmers will be exempt.
    III. AMS

  12. Final bound AMS will be reduced substantially, using a tiered approach, as follows:
    Bands(Thresholds in US$billion) Cuts
    Over 25 billion 80%
    15-25 billion 70%
    0-15 billion 60%

    IV-Other issues

     

  13. The G-20 believes that the work in the sub-Committee on Cotton needs to be expedited so that early agreement can be reached on effective measures consistent with all aspects of the Framework Agreement. They stressed the urgency to address this question not later than the Sixth Ministerial Conference in the light of the current crisis affecting African cotton producers.
G-20 Proposal on Market Access
12 October 2005
  1. The G-20 recalls that the Doha Ministerial Declaration calls for " substantial improvements in market access" and that special and differential treatment for developing Members is an integral part of all elements in the negotiations.

  2. The G-20 reaffirms its document " Elements for discussion on market access", dated 7 July2005 (attached), and the views contained therein, In particular, the Group recalls that the tariff reduction formula is the main component of the market access pillar and, therefore, should be negotiated before addressing the issue of flexibilities for developed countries.

  3. The G-20 reiterates the importance of the Framework principles, contained in its paragraph29, guiding the elaboration of the tariff reduction formula with a view to leading to substantial trade expansion.

  4. The Group maintains that overall proportionality of commitments between developed and developing countries should be achieved through lower tariff reductions and higher thresholds for the bands. Developing country Members will cut less than 2/3 of the cut to be undertaken by developed country Members.

  5. Also, the Group stresses that the full compliance of the Doha Mandate in terms of substantial reduction in domestic support and elimination of all forms of export subsidies by developed countries constitutes an essential element for the submission of this proposal and is a necessary condition for its validity.

  6. The G-20 recognizes the need to safeguard developing countries farmers against imports from developed countries benefitting from trade-distorting subsidies. Developing countries will have the right to have recourse to remedial action against such imports. The G-20 will submit a proposal to ensure that right. These disciplines shall be negotiated.

  7. The G-20 stresses that its proposals of the linear cut within the bands constitutes the real middle ground in market access negotiations and expects Members to converge to that proposal

  8. The G-20 emphasizes that special and differential treatment for developing countries constitutes an integral part of all elements of the negotiation. The G-20 is also determined to make operational the provisions in the Framework on special and differential treatment for developing countries, in particular SPs and SSM, so as to preserve the food security, rural development and livelihood concerns of millions of people.

  9. With a view to delivering the Doha mandate, the G-20 proposes that developed countries will undertake a formula a cut of at least 54%,on average, while developing countries will be subject to a maximum tariff cut of 36%, on average. In order to accomplish that, the G-20 proposes the following.

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Pre - Hong Kong Activities



 

• Kamal Nath for Tough Stance on farm issues at WTO - Attends Fluela Group Meeting at Zurich & Ministerial Meetings of G-20, G-33, FIPS & FIPS Plus in Geneva

Mr. Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, led the Indian delegation in the Fluela Group Meeting at Zurich on October 10 and Ministerial Meetings of G-20, G-33 and Five Interested Parties (FIPS) at Geneva during 11-12, October 2005. These meetings were followed by Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) Meeting on October 13 in Geneva. The Ministerial engagement at the Fleula Group, FIPS, G-20, G-33 in meetings widely being regarded as 'make or break' meetings, was important in view of the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Conference at Hong Kong in December this year. The Ministers met to discuss key issues under negotiations namely agriculture, non-agricultural market access, services, development issues, rules among others. Apart from India, most of the key trade ministers (US, EC, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Australia, China, Korea, HKC, Egypt, Malaysia) participated in these meetings, which assessed progress of the current Doha Round negotiations in the WTO. Fluela Group is a small group of key WTO Members comprising Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, European Communities, India, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Rwanda, South Africa, and United States. G-20 Ministers met in Geneva on October 12. This was the third Ministerial Meeting of the G-20 this year; first one was held in New Delhi in March 2005 and the last one in Pakistan in September 2005. The G-20 Ministers assessed the progress made in agriculture negotiations so far and evolve the G-20 strategy for the negotiations on agriculture in the run-up to the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference of the WTO slated for December 2005. The G-20 Ministers also consulted the country coordinators of other developing country alliances, in particular the G-33 on Special Products (SP) and the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM); the least developed countries; the Africa group; the CARICOM and the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific countries.

• Kamal Nath Rejects New US, EU Agri Market Access Proposals - Protects India's Agri Concerns in WTO

India successfully safeguarded its market access concerns in the area of agriculture in the key meeting of World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade ministers in Zurich. In the meeting of the FIPS (Five Interested Parties), Mr. Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry, rejected outright the two tariff reduction formulae - one proposed by the US-Australia called “progressivity within a band” and the other proposed by the EU (European Union) for “a pivot within each band” in the agriculture market access negotiations which would have been detrimental to the interests of developing countries, including India. Mr. Kamal Nath strongly opposed the concept of progressivity and said there was no question of India accepting it. “We (the G-20) had already agreed to the banded formula in the Framework. Progressivity is nothing but the Swiss formula which we had already rejected”, he said. After hectic negotiations, the US and Australia conceded not to press for progressivity within bands for tariff reduction. Mr.Nath forcefully articulated India's position that given the difference in tariff structures of developed and developing countries, overall proportionality in reduction commitments between the two could be achieved only if the thresholds, rates of reduction within a band and even the number of bands were different for developing countries vis-à-vis the developed countries. On the issue of flexibility in the market access formula around a “pivot” (the average rate of cut in each band) pressed by the EU, India presented the G-20 position that if the EU pushed this concept through, it could effectively lead to blocking market access in products of export interest to developing countries. India was also concerned that the pivot concept might encourage some developed countries to become unnecessarily ambitious in the tariff reduction formula, putting the burden of proportionately higher cuts on developing countries as well. Finally, the EU agreed to give up this demand. The burying of both progressivity and pivot in the market access negotiations is seen as a significant strategic victory for developing countries in the agriculture market access negotiations in the WTO.

• G-20 Pressure Forces Movement on Cut in Domestic Support / US Climb Down on Subsidy Issue

Sustained pressure by the G-20 on the need for elimination of trade distorting domestic support given by developed countries in order to ensure a level playing field for farmers in the developing countries led to the latest US offer on reduction of farm subsidies. “The latest US offer shows that the G-20 has become a force to reckon with in the WTO negotiations”, Mr. Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry, said while assessing the US proposal on Domestic Support in agriculture in the meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministers of FIPS (Five Interested Parties) in Zurich. “We will have to analyse its implications in greater detail”, he said. As expected, the US has made the offer conditional on greater market access. However, Mr. Kamal Nath made it clear in unambiguous terms that whatever be the domestic support cuts by developed countries, India would not compromise on her vital interests as far as market access was concerned. With the latest US offer on the heels of the EU commitment based on its reform of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), what is apparent is that the G-20 strategy as an alliance in the WTO agriculture negotiations is proving successful.

• Developing Countries Laud India's Role in WTO

Developing countries of the G-33 lauded India's role in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations, at a meeting of the G-33 convened in Geneva at India's request. Several member countries also appreciated India's role in making G-33 an effective grouping in the WTO. G-33 is a coalition of WTO member countries on Special Products (SPs) and Special Safeguard Mechanisms (SSMs) in agriculture. All the G-33 countries attended the meeting, which was addressed by Mr. Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, who led the Indian delegation to key WTO meetings that have been convened in the run up to the Hong Kong Ministerial. Mr. Nath emphasised the need to finalise the proposal on the selection and treatment of Special Products, while addressing the G-33. He said that all products that had livelihood security and food security implications should qualify for categorisation as Special Products. Self-selection should be the principal methodology. These products should be treated with far more flexibility than what the tariff formula would normally require, he said. Mr. Nath also emphasised that no market access formula could be agreed to unless the parameters on selection and treatment of Special Products was also agreed on. He also touched on the Special Safeguard Mechanism. Mr. Nath is particularly concentrating on coordinating the working of the G-20 with that of the G-33. It may be recalled that the G-20 is a group of agricultural exporting countries with aggressive interest particularly in seeking cuts in all trade distorting domestic support and elimination of export subsidies, whereas the G-33 is a group with defensive interests in the area agricultural market access. India feels that since it has interest in both areas, its own as well as the interests of developing countries in general would be best served by the two groups working in tandem.

• India's Paper Becomes Basis for WTO Negotiations on Services

An issue paper prepared by India has been accepted as the basis for the ongoing negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Services. Seeking a fresh momentum to the WTO negotiations on services, which had not made much progress so far, Mr. Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, tabled the paper by India at a meeting of the Ministerial Core Group on Services, which was jointly co-chaired by him and Mr. Robert Portman, the US Trade Representative (USTR) in Geneva on Wednesday. India's paper aims to provide a structure and focus on the various issues on which decisions would be required at the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference of the WTO in December in order to achieve a balanced and meaningful package on Services at the end of the current Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. India has a special interest in Services in view of its strengths in this sector and in fact, the Core Ministerial Group on Services was recently constituted as a result of the initiative taken by Mr.Kamal Nath. The Core Group meeting held on 12th October in Geneva was attended by Ministers and Senior Officials of 15 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, EC, Egypt, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and the US) to consider concrete ways of imparting specificity and momentum to the services negotiations. The paper received broad support in the Core Group as a basis for moving forward and as clearly outlining all the relevant issues. Particularly, members agreed on the following basic principles which would guide further work in negotiating the guidelines and procedures on services:

  • Any complementary approach must supplement and not replace the existing request-offer approach which in fact needs to be intensified simultaneously.

  • Such approach must preserve the basic architecture of GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) and the flexibility it provides particularly for developing country members, including the levels of development of individual members.

  • While all members should participate, any targets that may be agreed would not be applicable to LDCs.

  • The focus of any such approach should be improvements from the existing commitments. The special situation of newly acceded countries who have taken extensive commitments at the time of their accession to the WTO would be taken into account.

The paper emphasised the need to improve the quality as well as coverage of commitments in Services. The paper also identified the issue of possible numerical targets that needed discussion. There was recognition in the paper and in the discussions that followed that the Services package would have to include domestic regulations and that clear direction was needed at the Hong Kong Ministerial for developing a sound basis for legal disciplines at the end.

• Left Note a Valuable Input in WTO Negotiations, says Kamal Nath

Mr. Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, has said that the suggestions received from the Left parties on WTO negotiations are a valuable input in the ongoing Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations. “The government shares many of the concerns expressed by the Left parties and these concerns are being met”, the Minister said in New Delhi on 17/10/05 while responding to queries on the response of the Left parties to the note on WTO negotiations which has been received in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. “Government's position in the WTO negotiations is primarily based on national self-interest and the interests of Indian agriculture and India's farmers would not be compromised at any cost”, Shri Kamal Nath said. The need to ensure special & differential treatment for developing countries in all areas of negotiations particularly in agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA) would be of utmost importance and hence, coordination with other developing countries was an integral part of the government strategy, the Minister said. “India has sought to build coalitions primarily of developing countries in order to ensure that its national interests are fully protected. As an emerging developing economy, India's position, both defensive and offensive, are determined solely by the national interest”, he said and pointed out that even in FIPs (the Five Interested Parties grouping) India had participated, along with Brazil, as a representative of the G-20 Alliance in agriculture, thus furthering the interests of developing countries in a significant way. Stating that the government has on a continuing basis held extensive consultations with domestic stakeholders with a view to forging a national consensus in various sectors, Shri Kamal Nath said the process of dialogue and consultation with political parties ahead of the Hong Kong Ministerial would continue.

• WTO Talks in Fips Deadlocked : Kamal Nath Says No to Higher Tariff Cuts - India Will Continue to Take Tough Stance -- No Compromise on Farm Interests

The ongoing trade talks in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) were deadlocked on 19/10/05 primarily on the issue of agriculture a sector in which India's position was strongly articulated by Mr. Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce & Industry, who led the Indian delegation to a key ministerial meeting of the FIPS (Five Interested Parties) in Geneva, which includes US, EU, India, Brazil and Australia. He insisted that India could not offer any higher tariff cuts in agriculture than what was already contained in the paper tabled by the G-20 alliance of developing countries. The Minister also forcefully raised the issue of Special Products (SPs)* and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM)** for developing countries. He said that these would have to be sorted out satisfactorily before deciding on anything further. Shri Kamal Nath made it clear that he would continue to take a tough stance when the interests of millions of farmers were at stake. He would not settle for a deal that could be unfavourable for farmers. “Only an arrangement that fully safeguards our interests would be acceptable”, he said. The Minister also staunchly resisted a move by the European Union (EU) to link the treatment of Sensitive Products and Special Products. (Sensitive products are regarded as those sensitive to developed countries). “Sensitive Products are sensitive commercially”, he said, “while Special Products are dependent on the food and livelihood security and rural development needs”. He made it clear that “the two are conceptually different”. He effectively blocked a move by the US-EU to widen the scope of talks and establish linkages of Agriculture with non-agricultural market access (NAMA) and Services. The strategy of the developed countries was to cooperate to get ambitious results in NAMA and thus take the pressure off the US to give an enhanced offer on domestic support/subsidy cuts and the EU to agree to deeper tariff reductions in agriculture. Mr. Nath also countenanced the move by the US to downplay the issue of “proportionality”. Mr. Kamal Nath insisted that the developing countries would not commit at any cost to more than two-thirds the extent of developed countries cuts. He also rejected the US formulation of “slightly lesser cuts” by developing countries as “totally inadequate to meet our concerns”. With the hardening of positions, and the inability of the EU to better its offer due to extreme pressure from some of its Member states, the talks ended in a stalemate. The Ministerial talks, originally scheduled for two days, ended abruptly late on Wednesday night. The session for 20/10/05 was cancelled.

• Protecting Farmers' Interests: Kamal Nath Pushes G-4 - To Get SP and SSM on Board in Hong Kong Agenda

In a major initiative to safeguard the interests of farmers in developing countries including India, Mr. Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry, got the G-4 (which comprises the US, the European Union (EU), Brazil and India) as well as Japan to take on board the issue of greater specificity in respect of Special Products (SPS) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) in the agenda of the forthcoming Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Hong Kong. SPs and SSM are of great significance to India and the developing countries, as these are the two key instruments which would enable them to fully safeguard their farm interests in the WTO agriculture negotiations. SPs are products which would invite nil or minimum tariff reduction commitments, while SSM would safeguard against surge in subsidized imports. Addressing the meeting of G-4 hosted by India in London which was also attended by Japan as a special invitee, Mr. Nath insisted that there should be the same level of specificity in the matter of SP and SSM as in the other areas of agricultural negotiations and these could not be left till the end. For India, SPs should cover at least 15 % of the tariff lines, he said. He also urged members to give their suggestions on the proposal made in this regard by the G-33, a group of countries having defensive interests in agriculture so that the proposal could be carried forward. The EU proposal for a single co-efficient for tariff reduction in non-agricultural market access (NAMA) was again rejected outright by India and Brazil, with both the two members of the G-20 stressing that there must be different co-efficients for the developed and developing countries, with flexibilities for their policy space intact as provided for in para 8 of the July Framework in order to be able to meet their development objectives.

• Kamal Nath Says no Re-opening of July Framework, Hong Kong to be Judged Solely By Development Yardstick - Geneva Talks end Inconclusively as Wide Divergences Remain

Mr. Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry, made it clear that the July Framework which had set out the principles and guidelines for the ongoing Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), was not up for re-negotiations and there was no question of it being re-opened as it addressed in a large measure the development issues of concern to developing countries. In three interventions at the key meeting of WTO Trade ministers in Geneva, the Minister forcefully made the point that the forthcoming Hong Kong ministerial conference of the WTO would be judged solely by how far it meets the development objectives of the Doha Round. Emphasising that level of ambition in the talks meant different things to different countries and that in India, agriculture meant survival, Shri Kamal Nath told the WTO members that in agriculture, in most developing countries where farmers were dependent on subsistence agriculture for their food and livelihood security, the real issue is how they can increase their daily income from just one or two dollars a day. For the farmers in developed countries engaged in corporate agriculture, the issue, on the other hand, is how their present levels of income can be protected by their heavily subsidised agricultural regimes. He strongly emphasised that for farmers in developing countries, tariffs were the only protection from subsidised imports and this level of protection would have to be continued, unless the heavy domestic support and export subsidies in the developed countries were completely eliminated. The discussions in Geneva, in which nearly 20 ministers participated representing the larger membership of the WTO, ended inconclusively on 9th November with the wide divergences in the various areas of negotiations including non-agricultural market access remaining as wide as ever.

• No Agri Market Access without Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanism: Kamal Nath -- India Takes The Lead in Voicing Developing Country Concerns

Taking the lead in voicing the concerns of developing countries especially in agriculture, Mr. Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, made it clear during greenroom discussions at the ministerial level in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva as well as during the meeting of the G-4 plus Japan, hosted by India earlier this week in London, that there could be no agricultural market access package without full satisfaction on the issue of Special Products (SPs) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) as these two instruments were crucial for protecting the interests of farmers in developing countries. Special Products denote products of interest to developing countries which would be subject to only minimal or nil tariff reductions. Special Safeguard Mechanism is meant as a safeguard against surge in subsidised imports. Later, at an official level meeting of the G-33 an alliance of countries on SPs and SSM in Geneva, the Chinese representative indicated that China would work closely with India on SPs and SSM. Both India and China along with several other G-33 countries are also part of the G-20 alliance. Meanwhile, the G-20 Ministerial press statement issued in Geneva last evening stressed that developed country proposals so far had not incorporated adequately Special and Differential (S&D) Treatment for developing countries. “The G-20 reaffirms that S&D is an integral part of all areas of the negotiations. In particular, SPs and SSM must be addressed with a view to a successful outcome in Hong Kong”, it said.

• India Will not Succumb to Pressure, Says Kamal Nath / Holds Consultations with Left Parties on Hong Kong WTO Strategy

India will not succumb to pressure from any country in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations, Mr. Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, said at a meeting with the Left parties convened by him here on 20/11/05 to discuss the strategy for the forthcoming Ministerial Conference of the WTO scheduled to be held in Hong Kong next month. Speaking to newspersons after the marathon 4-hour long session, the Minister underlined that he saw no difference in objectives with the Left in so far as protecting agriculture and industry were concerned, but said they did express concerns on how to achieve those objectives and assured that their concerns would be addressed. The government's broad objectives, Mr. Nath said, were: to protect the interests of the farmers and Indian agriculture; to safeguard the interests of domestic industry especially the small and medium scale enterprises and aim for gains in services where India had inherent strengths. The meeting Mr. Nath's second with the Left within a month on WTO issues, was attended by Mr. S. Ramachandran Pillai, Politbureau member, Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI (M); Mr. D. Raja of the Communist Party of India (CPI); Mr. S.P. Shukla, Adviser /CPI(M) on WTO Affairs; and Mr. Manoj Bhattacharya, Member of Parliament, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). Among the issues raised by the Left was a suggestion to press for re-introduction of Quantitative Restrictions (QRs) on imports and for keeping health and education off the negotiating table as these came within the domain of public policy. They also cautioned against changing the basic architecture of GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) as it would dilute the policy space provided in the present agreement.

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Trade Negotiations Committee Meeting
30th November, 2005
Statement by Mr. S.N. Menon, Commerce Secretary of India
 

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to thank you for your opening Statement and for your continuing efforts in building convergence on the way ahead for us in this complex negotiations. I would also like to thank the Chairs of the various negotiating groups for their reports and their efforts at taking the negotiations forward.

A number of delegations have spoken of the imbalances in the text. Such an outcome is inevitable in a bottom-up process. Rather than dwelling on this issue, we should see how we can work forward on this basis towards Hong Kong and thereafter towards a conclusion which adequately achieves the development objectives which were set out with such expectations at Doha.

India continues to attach great importance to these negotiations and their successful conclusion within 2006. The results of our collective endeavours will have great implications for the lives of 100s of millions of the poor in developing countries. It is, therefore, with a sense of disappointment that we note a serious and growing development deficit in the Round. Paragraphs 17-20 of the draft text on special and differential treatment are clear evidence of this fact. There has been virtually no progress in the Doha Mandate on S&D, calling for provisions to be made more effective, precise and operational. Even the 5 prioritized S&D proposals of the LDCs have not been agreed to. There is a similar lack of emphasis on development issues in Agriculture, NAMA and TRIPS. Urgent action is required to rectify this if the outcome of the Round is to have any credibility and relevance for developing countries.

The lack of convergence is most evident in the agriculture and NAMA negotiations. Members have engaged constructively in intensive discussions in the last few days to identify issues which could be posed to Ministers and to try to capture the progress made in the negotiations since the finalisation of the July Framework. In these efforts, however, we must guard against conveying a false sense of convergence in these critical areas. The most important issues in both the negotiations continued to be marked by serious differences among us and we will do ourselves no credit by glossing over such differences. At the same time, we have a collective responsibility to focus our energies in Hong Kong on these differences so that we can resolve them to the maximum extent possible, thus, paving the way for finalisation of full modalities early next year.

Mr. Chairman, it is important that I avail this opportunity to highlight some of the important issues that cause us discomfort and on which we expect substantial progress in Hong Kong.

  1. On Agriculture, it will be extremely difficult for my delegation to go back home without convergence on issues such as specification in proportionality of cuts or thresholds of tariff reduction formula for developing countries. Other issues that remain of concern to developing countries are:
  1. Agreement on designation and treatment of Special Products
  2. Product coverage, price and volume triggers and remedies in the Special Safeguard Mechanism
  3. Exemption from any form of cuts to the de minimis in the domestic support pillar

On NAMA we are concerned with attempts to dilute less than full reciprocity (LTFR) in reduction commitments which requires that developed countries must undertake greater percentage reductions as compared to developing countries. This is the mandate and we cannot accept interpretations which measure LTFR against S&D provisions". In addition, flexibilities in para 8 are essential for developing countries and the language in para 8 is explicit. Paragraph 8 is a stand alone provision and only numbers that are currently in brackets need to be finalised. As the mandate is not for harmonising the tariffs of Members, the application of a non-linear formula based on averages of Members' schedules would best deliver the mandate of cutting high tariffs and tariff peaks while taking account of the development priorities of developing countries. We need to re-double our efforts to resolve NTBs which are increasingly becoming barriers to trade.

Mr. Chairman, recognising the different nature of the Services negotiations with the primacy given to the request offer process, it is imperative for achieving a balanced outcome in the Round, that we do not miss the opportunity at Hong Kong for providing the much-needed specificity and direction in Services. The current service text prepared by the Chair, while not perfect, has stuck an appropriate balance between specificity and flexibility preserving the GATS architecture. While all of us have made compromises to arrive at this text, it still remains a sound basis for continuing work post Hong Kong. We believe it is important to preserve this current text without making any changes which would upset the fine balance for the Hong Kong Ministerial.

Finally, on the relationship between TRIPS and CBD, we find a glaring omission in the Draft Ministerial Text relating to paragraph 19 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration. That paragraph instructs the TRIPS Council to examine, inter-alia, the CBD-TRIPS relationship. It also requires the Council to take into account the development dimension and the principles and objectives of the TRIPS Agreement. Hence, in our view, all matters on which Ministers have instructed us to address development issues should find a reference in the text that we propose for their adoption at Hong Kong. Given the importance Members attach to para 19 issues, a similar paragraph needs be inserted in the draft Hong Kong text.
Given the importance Members attach to the para 19 issues, a similar paragraph needs to be inserted in the draft Hong Kong text. I will read out that paragraph for the benefit of all :

"We take note of the work undertaken by the Council for TRIPS, pursuant to paragraph 19 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration, and agree that this work shall continue on the basis of paragraph 19 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration and the progress made in the Council for TRIPS to date. The General Council shall report on its work in this regard to our next Session".

Mr. Chairman, in earlier discussions, we have expressed reservations about some other portions of the text, and i hope these concerns will be taken on board while finalising the text for the General Council. Such reservations include our submission regarding the text on RTAs.

Mr. Chariman, I wish to assure you that India will continue to play a constructive role to ensure that the Hong Kong Conference is a meaningful staging post for the successful completion of this Development Round". We look forward to work with you and all members in this regard.

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Presentation by ICRIER
 

ICRIER-SRTT-MOC Seminar

on

Important Issues for India's Negotiations in WTO

November 14, 2005

Presentation on
Agriculture & Non Agricultural Market Access Negotiations
by
Prof. Anwarul Hoda and Prof. Ashok Gulati


Venue
Jacaranda Hall I, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi - 110 003

 

Agriculture
&
Non Agricultural Market Access
Negotiations

By
Prof. Anwarul Hoda
and
Prof. Ashok Gulati
14th November, 2005

 

AGRICULTURE

 

i. Domestic support-Issues in Negotiations

  • Tiered formula for cuts on overall level of trade distorting support
  • Tiered formula for cuts in AMS• Capping of product specific AMS
  • Reduction of de minimis
  • Review of criteria for Blue box
  • Review of criteria for Green Box
  • Lower reduction coefficient and longer implementation period for eveloping countries
 

ii. Recommendations on Issues in Domestic Support

  • Tiered formula for cut in overall Trade Distorting Support(to say 5% of value of production) most important
  • Total AMS, Product Specific AMS, De minimis and Blue box would get squeezed
  • Developing countries can also accept a low limit for overall TDS.
  • No change but clarification needed for Article 6.2
  • Green Box criteria :it is important to propose that direct payments be limited to small farmers
 

iii. Issues in Export Competition

  • Implementation period for elimination of direct export subsidies
  • Disciplines on export credit, export credit guarantees and insurance programmes less than 180 days
  • Disciplines on food aid
  • Disciplines on State Trading Enterprises
  • S&D treatment of developing countries
 

iv. Recommendations on Export competition

  • Suggested period of 5 years for elimination of direct export subsidies should be maintained
  • While developing disciplines in export credit for under 180 days the possibility of any exceptions or looseness should be ruled out
  • For food aid fundamental changes are necessary
  • The exporting STEs should not have monopoly powers
  • S&D treatment by way of longer period of implementation
 

v. Issues in Market Access

  • Single approach, progressivity in reduction and flexibility for sensitivities
  • Tiered formula for reduction of tariffs
  • Sensitive products
  • Special products
  • Special safeguards Mechanism
 

vi. Recommendation on Market Access

  • Capping is critical
  • Any reasonable reduction
  • Special Products: No escape from self selection
  • Self selection would be credible only if products are limited in number
  • Maximum reliance on SSM
 

vii. General Strategy in Agricultural Negotiations

  • Proactive rather than defensive strategy in India's interest
  • Fiasco better than hollow round
  • India should make clear offer of tariff cuts conditional on steep cut domestic support of US and EU
 

Non-Agricultural Market Access

 

I. What Are "Modalities" of Negotiations?

  • Product-by-product, linear, formula, sector approaches
  • Base rates, staging
  • S&D Treatment
 

I. What Are "Modalities" of Negotiations?

  • Product-by-product, linear, formula, sector approaches
  • Base rates, staging
  • S&D Treatment
 

II. Main Areas of Convergence

  • Multiple modalities needed
  • Formula approach to be core modality
  • Some form of Swiss formula [Z=AX/(A+X)],where X=initial rate, Z=final rate and A=agreed coefficient
  • Movement toward substantial increase in coverage of bindings; consensus possible on comprehensive coverage
 

III. Issues for Hong Kong

  • Flexibility for developing countries
  • Swiss formula and its coefficient
  • Treatment of unbound tariffs
  • Sector initiatives
  • Non-reciprocal preferences
  • Newly acceded countries
  • Non-tariff barriers
 

iv. Flexibility for Developing Countries in Previous Rounds

  • Kennedy Round - not called upon to participate in linear reduction agreed among developed countries
  • Tokyo Round-not required to accept Swiss formula agreed among most developed countries
  • Uruguay Round-not required to cut tariffs by one-third agreed among developed countries
 

iv. Flexibility for Developing Countries in Previous Round (Contd..)

  • Developed countries had freedom to follow alternative modalities to achieve the objective cuts.
  • In the above three rounds developing countries exhorted to make a contribution to the objective of trade liberalisation or called upon to increase the level of bindings
 

v. Flexibility for Developing Countries in Doha Round

  • Application of lower than formula cut on a proportion of tariff lines or trade
  • Exemption of a proportion of tariff lines or of trade from commitments
  • Different coefficient or coefficients in Swiss formula for developing countries
 

vi. Swiss Formula and its Coefficient

  • Cuts higher tariffs by a larger proportion
  • Coefficient becomes the effective ceiling
  • Wide acceptance of differentiated coefficients for developing countries
  • Issue whether differentiated coefficients for developing countries should be allowed in addition to flexibility for lower cuts and exemption from commitment for a proportion of tariff lines
 

vi. Swiss Formula and its Coefficient

  • Cuts higher tariffs by a larger proportion
  • Coefficient becomes the effective ceiling
  • Wide acceptance of differentiated coefficients for developing countries
  • Issue whether differentiated coefficients for developing countries should be allowed in addition to flexibility for lower cuts and exemption from commitment for a proportion of tariff lines
 

vi. Swiss Formula and its Coefficient (Contd..)

  • Issue also if developing country coefficient should be based on a single criterion such as average of current bound rates or should factor in other aspects such as coverage, dependence for revenue and autonomous liberalisation
 

vii. Treatment of Unbound Tariff Lines

  • Bound rates are the base rates for commitments taken the past
  • It is agreed that for unbound tariff lines basis will be applied rate as on 14 Nov 2001 and there would be mark up
  • Members with low applied tariffs on unbound lines are not satisfied with linear mark up
  • Solution lies in non-linear mark up or binding at target average level
 

viii. Sectorial Initiatives

  • In Uruguay Round major developed countries agreed on tariff elimination of harmonization on 10 products and product groups
  • Participation in these initiatives was not compulsory
  • Suggestions for sectorial elimination in 9 product groups in current negotiations
  • Issue is whether participation should be compulsory or optional
  • One proposal for developing countries being allowed to maintain tariffs at low level while others eliminate tariffs
 

ix. Non-reciprocal Preferences

  • Reduction of MFN tariffs would erode preferences
  • ACP countries concerned at implication for the erosion of preferences granted by US and EC
  • Suggestion that MFN duties on products of interest to ACP countries should be exempted from cuts is divisive
  • Possible solutions include improvement of supply side capabilities through financial and technical assistance and longer period of implementation in respect of these products
 

x. Newly Acceded Countries

  • Some newly acceded countries have undertaken significant tariff commitments in the accession process including 100 per cent binding and low average tariffs
  • They demand flexibility on a comprehensive basis in application of modalities
  • Sympathy for longer time frame
  • General view is that flexibility should be considered after the modalities of general application have been decided
 

xi. Non-tariff Barriers

  • Specific non-tariff barriers have been identified by participants
  • Three modes of negotiations are bilateral (on a product-specific basis), vertical (on a sector-specific basis) or horizontal (on an area specific basis)
  • Next step is to negotiate on a bilateral basis on product-specific basis and to identify areas where participants would like to move forward on vertical or horizontal basis
 

xii. Considerations for India's Stand at Hong Kong and Beyond - I

  • India has reduced tariffs considerably after Uruguay Round
  • Government is committed to reduce applied non-agricultural tariffs further on autonomous basis
  • India has not bound more than 30 per cent of its non-agricultural tariffs
  • India's bargaining ability is high on account of the above factors
  • From India's point of view a strong dose of non-discriminatory liberalization of world trade in paramount to erode regional preferences
 

xiii. Recommendations on Bottom Line for India-I

  • • Maintain that coefficient in Swiss formula should be average of bound tariffs
  • Reciprocity will not be achieved if same or nearly the same coefficient is applied to developed and developing countries alike
  • While we stress on less than full reciprocity we are actually confronted with the prospect of not getting even full reciprocity
 

xiii. Recommendations on Bottom Line for India-I (Contd...)

  • Agreement on different numbers for developed and developing countries would be difficult
  • The best option is to stick to the average of bound tariff for coefficient
  • Bottom line-agree to a mark up in coefficient for countries with very low average of bound tariffs : multiply the average by an agreed factor or agree on minimum average
 

xiv. Recommendations on Bottom Line for India-II

  • For India a mark up by a factor of two in the applied level in 2001 for determining the base rate for unbound tariff lines would be adequate
  • For countries with low applied levels on unbound tariff lines both non-linear mark up and binding at a reasonable target level acceptable. Once agreement is reached on average bound levels being the coefficient in the Swiss formula India could agree to minimize the demand for flexibilities for developing countries
 

xiv. Recommendations on Bottom Line for India-II (Contd...)

  • Exemption from binding for a proportion of tariff lines could be given up and the proposal for lower cut could be reduced to not more than one or two percent
 

xv. Recommendations on Bottom Line for India-III

  • Sectorial initiatives - optional approach as well as maintenance of low tariffs by developing countries should remain India's stand until the end
  • Non-reciprocal preferences-financial and technical assistance to improve supply side capabilities is the only rational approach; longer time frame for implementation on a few tariff lines could be considered
 

xv. Recommendations on Bottom Line for India-III (Contd...)

  • Newly acceded countries - India could be sympathetic to their concerns but ask for response from them on a bilateral request offer basis
  • Non-tariff barriers - India could assess the cost and benefits of vertical and horizontal approaches but should concentrate on bilateral product-specific approach
 

xv. Recommendations on Bottom Line for India-IV

  • India should remain resolute on above bottom lines until the end
  • If agreement is reached particularly on the coefficient and mark up for unbound tariff lines in the formula approach, India could also participate in negotiations for further reductions on a request-offer basis
  • If agreement is not reached India should propose reversion to negotiations only on a bilateral request-offer basis
 

ICRIER-SRTT-MOC Seminar

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WTO BRIEFS

TRADE STATISTICS


Trade Growth in 2005 to slow from record 2004 pace

Lower economic output, brought on in part by the sharp rise in oil prices, will slow world trade growth in 2005, according to World Trade Organization economists. World merchandise exports are expected to grow by 6.5 per cent in 2005, markedly less than the 9 per cent growth recorded in 2004.
“While growth in trade will remain satisfactory in 2005 the decelerating trend is cause for some concern,” said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy. “To set us on the right course we need to create more opportunities for trade, particularly in developing countries, and we need to adjust global trade rules to better meet the needs of entrepreneurs in the 21st century. The way to achieve this is through the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda round of global trade negotiations.”
Trade growth picked up in OECD countries in the second quarter of 2005, but available information points to significant growth deceleration in intra-Asian trade and in US imports in the first half of 2005. The steep rise in real oil prices, to their highest level in more than two decades, has negatively affected consumer and business confidence in the oil importing countries. The full impact of the price increases is still to be felt in consumer and business expenditure.
The main statistics show that world merchandise exports increased in nominal terms by 21 per cent to $8.9 trillion in 2004. In real terms, merchandise exports rose by 9 per cent in 2004 compared with nearly
5 percent in 2003. Trade in commercial services grew in nominal terms by 18 per cent to $2.1 trillion in 2004, which was also stronger than the 14 per cent growth recorded in the preceding year.
The WTO annual publication International Trade Statistics provides detailed information on global trade flows by region and product in 2004. The tables and charts will be available on the WTO website today. The printed version of this report will be available in December.


Highlights


Key features of the world trade developments in 2004 include the following:

  • Strong economic growth and rapid trade expansion were present in all regions in 2004.
  • The expansion of merchandise trade continued to exceed merchandise output growth by a large margin. The excess of trade over output growth was again particularly large for manufactures.
  • The sharp rise in prices and traded volumes of many primary commodities has often been a major factor explaining the relative strength of regions and product groups in international trade flows. The most prominent illustration of this is, of course, export growth of net oil exporters. The sharp increase in net oil imports of China, the United States and India since 2000 had been a major factor behind the expansion of oil trade and the increase in oil prices.
  • Sharp price increases for iron and steel, ores, non-ferrous metals and fuels combined with a further
    depreciation of the US dollar vis-à-vis the currencies of major European traders led to a double-digit price increase for world merchandise trade, the largest annual increase since 1995. These four product groups (iron and steel, ores, non-ferrous metals and fuels) recorded export growth in excess of
    30 percent in 2004. Product groups with the weakest nominal growth in 2004 included agricultural products, textiles and clothing.
  • Transportation services expanded by 23 percent to $500 billion, the fastest increase among all services categories. The expansion was boosted by rising transportation costs and a strong increase in the volume of merchandise trade.
  • Oil exporting regions (the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Middle East and Africa) increased their merchandise exports much faster than the global average. North America and Europe are the two regions whose merchandise export and import growth remained below the global average growth in 2004.
  • The merchandise exports of least-developed countries (LDCs) are estimated to have increased by one third to $62 billion in 2004. Higher commodity prices and an increase in the volume of crude oil contributed to this strong performance. Non-oil exporting LDCs recorded lower than average export growth for the group.
  • The emergence of China as a major import and export market for goods and services continued unabated in 2004. The share of China in the exports and imports of many countries has doubled between 2000 and 2004. By 2004, China had become the world's third largest merchandise trader.


ANTI-DUMPING


WTO Secretariat reports continuing declines in both new anti-dumping investigations and new final anti-dumping measures

The WTO Secretariat, on 24 October 2005, reported that in the period 1 January-30 June 2005, the number of initiations of new anti-dumping investigations and the number of new measures applied continued their previously-reported declining trends. During January-June 2005, 15 Members reported initiating a total of
96 new investigations, down from 106 initiations in the corresponding period of 2004. A total of 12 Members applied 53 new final anti-dumping measures during the January-June 2005 period, compared with 58 new measures applied during January-June 2004. Twenty-one of the 96 new initiations were opened by developed Members, and 24 of the 53 new final measures were applied by developed Members, during the first half of 2005. This compares with 40 new initiations opened and 23 new measures applied by developed Members during the first half of 2004.

Among Members reporting new initiations during January-June 2005, South Africa, with 17 initiations, was the Member reporting the highest number, more than triple the 5 initiations it reported during the same period of 2004. The European Communities (15), India (13), and China (11) reported the second, third and fourth-highest numbers of new initiations during the 2005 period. These figures compare with 13 for the European Communities, 4 for India, and 11 for China during the corresponding period of 2004. Thus, the number of initiations reported by India more than tripled, those reported by the European Communities increased slightly, and those reported by China showed no change.

China remains the most frequent subject of the new investigations, with 22 initiations directed at its exports during January-June 2005 compared with 25 during the corresponding period of 2004. Chinese Taipei was the second most frequent subject, with 9 initiations of new investigations directed at its exports, a decline from 14 during the first half of 2004. India was third, with 8 initiations in respect of its exports compared with 5 during January-June 2004. The United States was fourth, with 7 initiations directed at its exports, compared with 8 during the corresponding period of 2004. Indonesia and Thailand were subject to 6 new initiations each during the 2005 period, and Korea and Malaysia were subject to 5 initiations each, while Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, the European Communities, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Pakistan, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, South Africa, and Sweden, each were subject to 4 or fewer new initiations during the first half of 2005.

Patricia Francis appointed as Executive Director of the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO

Patricia Francis has been appointed as Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, the joint technical cooperation agency of UNCTAD and WTO for business aspects of trade development. The appointment was made by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy.
Ms. Francis, a citizen of Jamaica, will serve for a period of three years, beginning in June 2006.

Ms. Francis has extensive management experience in the fields of trade promotion and technical assistance to developing countries. She will have an important role to play in further developing the International Trade Centre, whose mission is to help to promote exports of developing countries and countries in transition.

Ms. Francis has held several important posts in both government and the private sector. She served as president of JAMPRO, Jamaica Promotions Corporation, for the past 10 years, and was formerly president of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies. She has worked with ITC to develop a national export strategy for Jamaica. Ms. Francis was chair of the China-Caribbean Business Forum, and as a management consultant advised Latin American and Caribbean countries. ITC was created by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1964.

Poorest countries given more time to apply intellectual property rules

Least-developed countries have been given an extension until 1 July 2013 to provide protection for trademarks, copyright, patents and other intellectual property under the WTO's agreement, following a decision reached by member governments on 29 November 2005.

The decision by the WTO's Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) extends the transition period for least-developed countries by seven and a half years, and includes commitments on technical assistance to help them prepare to apply the agreement. The transition period was due to expire on 1 January 2006, 11 years after the TRIPS Agreement came into force.

The decision does not affect the transition period for patents for pharmaceutical products, which was agreed in 2002; least-developed countries will not have to protect these patents until 2016.

“This agreement, coming just before the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, is good news,” WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said. “Members have shown that they are ready to ensure that the world's poorest countries have the flexibility that they need in order to meet their WTO obligations in a way that serves their development needs. This demonstrates what can be achieved in Hong Kong where development is a central issue.”

The decision says least-developed countries will not have to provide the intellectual property protection covered by the TRIPS Agreement until 1 July 2013 unless they graduate from being least-developed. However as is currently the case if they voluntarily provide intellectual property protection, they have to observe TRIPS provisions on non-discrimination.
The decision also reiterates developed countries' commitment to provide technical and financial cooperation to help the least-developed countries implement the TRIPS Agreement and respond to needs that the least-developed countries have promised to identify, preferrably over the next two years.

Where least-developed countries do voluntarily provide some kinds of intellectual property protection even though they are not required to do so under the TRIPS Agreement, they have promised not to reduce or withdraw the current protection that they give.

The decision was agreed by consensus among all members, as is standard practice in the WTO.


Saudi Arabia
becomes 149th member of WTO

WTO General Council formally concluded on 11 November 2005 negotiations with Saudi Arabia on the terms of the country's membership to the WTO.

The conclusion of those negotiations was welcomed by Director-General Pascal Lamy. “Today's decision is a historic event for the WTO. Saudi Arabia is on its way to becoming the WTO 149th Member, paving the way for a stronger multilateral trading system. I look forward with great optimism to the Kingdom's participation in the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting,” said Mr. Lamy.

Saudi Arabia has been negotiating its membership since July 1993. It has completed its package of documents presenting the Kingdom's terms of accession at the Working Party meeting on 28 October 2005. The legal texts, which run to some 600 pages, were formally accepted by the 148 Member Governments of the WTO at the special session of the General Council. Dr. Hashim A. Yamani, Minister of Industry and Commerce, signed the Protocol of Accession with full powers, thus accepting the Protocol on behalf of the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia will become the 149th Member of the WTO thirty days later, on 11 December 2005.

As a result of the negotiations, Saudi Arabia has agreed to undertake a series of important commitments to further liberalize its trade regime and accelerate its integration in the world economy, while offering a transparent and predictable environment for trade and foreign investment in accordance with WTO rules.

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PARLIAMENTS BRIEFS

 

  • India Approach Paper at WTO

    India has presented an Issues Paper for discussion among Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) outlining some parameters and guidelines to move forward the services negotiations. India along with many members has held intensive discussion on these parameters and guidelines with a view to incorporating them in the Hong Kong Ministerial declaration.
    The issues paper presented by India accords primacy to flexibilities available under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) architecture and the negotiating Guidelines and procedures adopted in the council of Trade in Services in 2001. The negotiations are expected to be completed by end 2006
  • Items Imported Under WTO

    The WTO agreements do not require any Member country to import any product. WTO Agreements only lay down the rules for global trade to be followed by the WTO Members. India's total imports during the last
    3 years were:
Year Imports
  in Rs. crore in $million
2004-05 490,532 109,173
2003-04 359,108 78,150
2002-03 297,206 61,412









         There is no indication that imports have adversely affected India's economy

  • Rejection of Export Consignments

    The United State Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has reported refusal of 256 consignments in August, on its website. Instances of rejection and destruction of couple of rejected Indian consignments of agricultural and marine products by some of the EU Member States on account of Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS) and technical parameters have been noticed during the last two and half years. The Department of
    AYUSH has informed that Canada banned Indian Ayurvedic drugs due to reportedly high levels of heavy metals in these Ayurvedic drugs, without providing the details of the test results and the methods adopted to determine the same. As per the WTO - Agreement on the Application of Sanitary & Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Members of the WTO are allowed to take or adopt any measure including embargo on imports for protection of life or health of human beings, animals and plants, provided such measures are based on evidence of science, are not having discriminatory content, and are not trade restrictive. The Canadian ban on import of Indian Ayurvedic drugs appears to have violated the aforesaid principles of science and non-discrimination and has also caused undue trade disruption. The matter was taken up with Canada in the last meeting of the Joint Commission held in India in September 2005. In order to address quality issues in food products exports, Government has laid down standards and residue monitoring plans for various processed food items. Government is also providing assistance for establishment / modernization / technology upgradation of food processing units, setting up of testing / inspection facilities, support for research & development, including quality assurance and accreditation under quality certification system, creation of infrastructure, development of human resources etc.

  • WTO MEET AT GENEVA

    Under the ongoing negotiations on the Agreement on Agriculture in the World Trade Organisation (WTO),market access commitments, inter alia, through lower bound duties on imports of agricultural products have been under discussion since the negotiations were launched in January 2000, the negotiating mandate in respect of which was elaborated through the Doha Ministerial Declaration of 14 November 2001. Through the General Council Decision of 1 August 2004 (the "Framework Agreement") it has been further agreed that the objective of substantial improvements in market access will be achieved, inter alia, through a tiered tariff reduction formula such that products bound at higher levels be subjected to higher cuts. Special and differential treatment for developing countries will be integral to all aspects of the negotiations. The WTO Ministerial meeting scheduled to be held at Hong Kong, China, from 13-18 December 2005, would among other issues also discuss the issues involved in the agriculture negotiations including import duty reductions. Ministerial level meetings have been held in various configurations, including the G-33, which last met on
    12 October 2005, the G-20 on 12 October and
    7 November 2005, and the G-4 on 22 November 2005, in Geneva. However, divergences have remained on various aspects of the market access commitments, including the quantum of reductions in tariffs. To safeguard the interests of Indian agriculturists, India along with other Members of the WTO holding similar interests and concerns, has demanded that all forms of export subsidies must be eliminated by a credible end-date, and all forms of trade-distorting support provided by developed countries to their agriculture sector must be substantially reduced. India has also taken the stand that tariff reductions should be made from the bound rates on the basis of a tiered formula as provided in the Framework Agreement. The G-20, of which India is a Member, favours straight linear cuts within each tier of the tariff reduction formula, with proportionately lower commitments by developing Members as compared with those by developed Members. India has also taken the stand that meaningful and operational special and differential treatment for developing countries must be integral to all aspects of the negotiations, including the instruments of Special Products and new Special Safeguard Mechanism to ensure food security, livelihood security and address the rural development needs of poor farmers in developing countries.

  • G-20 COUNTRIES MEET

    The G-20 Ministers met in Bhurban (Pakistan) on
    9-10 September 2005 primarily to take stock, and to discuss the future strategy of the Group, in the negotiations on agriculture in the World Trade Organization (WTO), covering all the three pillars of domestic support, export competition and market access. The G-20 also discussed briefly other areas of negotiation, including market access in non-agricultural products, services, trade facilitation, and rules, under the Doha Work Programme. Domestic support measures are categorized into the Amber Box, the Blue Box, or the Green Box depending upon their trade-distorting effects or effects on production. Green Box measures have no, or minimal, trade-distrorting effects or effects on production and are exempt from curtailment, and typically include a government's general services programmes on research, pest and disease control, training, extension and advisory services, inspection services, marketing and promotion services, and infrastructural services, as well as public stock holding for food security purposes, domestic food aid and direct payments to producers, including for relief from natural disasters. Blue Box measures include direct payments under production-limiting programmes to producers. Amber Box measures, considered the most trade-distorting, include market price support, non-product-specific support provided through government expenditures on fertilizers, electricity, irrigation, etc., and non-exempt direct payments to producers, and are subject to reduction commitments and other disciplines as provided for in the Agreement on Agriculture of the WTO. Apart from such domestic support, export subsidies of all forms are considered trade-distorting. Under the ongoing negotiations in the WTO, all WTO Members have agreed that all forms of export subsidies should be eliminated by a credible end date, and that substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support must be secured through a combination of cuts, disciplines and monitoring. It has further been agreed that Members with higher level of domestic support will undertake steeper cuts to achieve harmonization in the domestic support entitlements, and to cap Blue Box payments at 5% of the annual value of agricultural production. The detailed modalities for achieving these objectives are under negotiation based on proposals from both developed and developing Members. Divergences remain among Members on various aspects of these modalities, including on the quantum of reductions as well as the criteria and disciplines for domestic support measures classifiable under the Blue Box or the Green Box. The negotiations are expected to conclude by 2006.

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Indian Express 8/11/2005

 

Economic Times 8/11/2005

 

Business Standard 8/11/2005

Financial Express 7/11/2005

 

Financial Express 21/10/2005

 

Economic Times 21/10/2005

 

Hindustan Times 11/11/2005

 

Economic Times 11/11/2005

 

  

Economic Times 15/10/2005                            Financial Express 15/10/2

 

Times of India 12/10/2005

 

Indian Express 13/10/2005

 

Times of India 17/11/2005

 

Economic Times 17/11/2005

 

Business Standard 17/11/2005

 

Indian Express 20/11/2005

 

Indian Express 20/11/2005

 

Financial Express 18/11/2005

 

Hindu BL 18/11/2005

 

Statesman 27/11/2005

 

Dainik Jagran 26/11/2005

 

Dainik Jagran 26/11/2005

 

Aaj 22/11/2005

 

Dainik Jagran 13/10/2005

 

Dainik Jagran 13/10/2005

 

Rajasthan Patrika 21/10/2005

 

Maha Megha 21/10/2005

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Schedule of Meetings At WTO/GENEVA*

DATE MEETING
NOVEMBER  
1 Trade Policy Review Body - Bolivia
1 Negotiating Group on Rules - Regional Trade Agreements
1 Committee on Anti-Dumping Practices
2 Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade
3 Trade Policy Review Body - Bolivia
3 Committee on Safeguards
  EID AL-FITR (WTO non-working day)
7 Nov. - 11 Nov. NAMA week
8-10 Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation
  Council for Trade in Goods
11 Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology
14 Nov. - 18 Nov. Geneva week
14 Geneva week
14 Dispute Settlement Body - Special Session
15 Geneva week
16 Geneva week
17 Geneva week
18 Geneva week
28 Trade Policy Review Body - Romania
28 Dispute Settlement Body
29 Committee on Trade and Development
30 Trade Policy Review Body - Romania
DECEMBER  
1-2 General Council
5 Dispute Settlement Body - Special Session
13-18 SIXTH MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE HONG KONG, CHINA
21 Committee on Government - Procurement
(Source : WTO/Geneva as on October-November 2005)
Published by
MINISTRY OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY
Government of India
Udyog Bhawan, New Delhi - 110 011
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