INDIA CAVES IN ON ALL RED LINES IN DRAFT WTO MINISTERIAL DECLARATION
The draft agreement, yet to be discussed and agreed by members, is being offered by the chair after consultation with an unrepresentative group of five countries – the US, EU, China, India, and Brazil. No Africans or LDCs were included in the final drafting, and they are now being presented with a take-it-or-leave-it text. They should leave it, not take it.
The text fails to affirm the past decisions made in the course of the Doha Round, including key commitments to act on cotton, of key interest to West African countries. It offers meagre progress on agriculture, with small advances on export subsidies, but little movement on export credits which the United States uses to favor its agricultural exporters. It provides no resolution of the public stockholding issue so crucial to India and other developing countries, despite commitments in Geneva last year to resolve the issue in Nairobi. Most notably, the negotiations excluded the most trade distorting policies – domestic support in developed countries – because the United States and other developed countries refused to allow it onto the agenda. This means that cotton-producing countries will continue to be subjected to price suppression and unfair export competition from the United States.
Perhaps worst of all, the draft declaration fails to reaffirm the commitment to the Doha Development Agenda, instead offering tepid support for the priority resolution of outstanding Doha issues. It then goes on to welcome the introduction of new issues – the Singapore issues of investment, public procurement, competition policy, transparency – proposals firmly rejected by African and other countries in 2003 in Cancun, Mexico.
As 27 African civil society representatives in Nairobi state in their reaction to the declaration, “Africa is being marginalized on the very soil of Africa.”
30. We recognize that many Members reaffirm the Doha Development Agenda, and the Declarations and Decisions adopted at Doha and at the Ministerial Conferences held since then, and reaffirm their full commitment to conclude the DDA on that basis. Other Members do not reaffirm the Doha mandates, as they believe new approaches are necessary to achieve meaningful outcomes in multilateral negotiations. Members have different views on how to address the
negotiations. We acknowledge the strong legal structure of this Organization.