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WTO Negotiations and Work Programme

WTO Negotiations and Work Programme

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WTO Negotiations and Work Programme

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  1. WTO Negotiations and Work Programme 3rd Arab Businessmen Forum ESCWA, Lebanon, 2-3 July 2008 Hakim Ben Hammouda Director Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, WTO

  2. The DDA Negotiations • The Ninth Multilateral Trade Negotiations Round launched in the Qatari City of Doha at the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in November 2001 • Unsuccessful attempt to launch the negotiations in December 1999 in Seattle, USA • Concerns of developing countries – marginalisation in the MTS, lack of transparency and inclusiveness • Members resolved to place the needs and interests of developing countries at the heart of the negotiations

  3. Doha Work Programme • Liberalisation • Rule-making • Development-orientation • New Issues

  4. Liberalisation • Agriculture: ‘substantial improvements in market access, reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies, and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support’ • Non-agricultural market access: ‘to reduce or as appropriate eliminate tariffs, including the reduction or elimination of tariff peaks, high tariffs and tariff escalation, as well as non-tariff barriers, in particular on products of export interest to developing countries’ • Services: ‘promoting the economic growth of all trading partners and the development of developing and least-developed countries’

  5. Rule-making • Anti-Dumping and Countervailing: ‘clarifying and improving disciplines under the Agreements on Implementation of Article VI of the GATT 1994 and on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures’ and fisheries subsidies • DSU: ‘improvements and clarifications’ • TRIPS: multilateral registry in wines and spirits, extension of protection of geographical indications, examine the relationship between TRIPS and the Convention on Biological Diversity, etc. • Trade and Environment: ‘negotiations … on the relationship between existing WTO rules and specific trade obligations set out in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs)’

  6. Development • Implementation-related issues (related to UR Agreements) • TRIPS and public health • S & D: ‘reviewed with a view to strengthening them and making them more precise, effective and operational’ • Technical Assistance • Other concerns: small economies; least developed countries, trade, debt and finance; trade and technology transfer.

  7. Singapore (New) Issues • Trade Facilitation: ‘review and as appropriate, clarify and improve relevant aspects of Articles V, VIII and X of the GATT 1994 and identify the trade facilitation needs and priorities of Members, in particular developing and least-developed countries’ • Trade and investment • Trade and Competition • Transparency in Government Procurement

  8. DDA (2001) • Single undertaking (except DSU) • Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) • Various negotiating groups • Open group membership • Expected (conclusion 2005)

  9. Principal Elements of the DDA • Doha Declaration (WT/MIN/(01)/DEC/1) • 1 August 2004, General Council Decision (WT/L/579) • Hong Kong Declaration (WT/MIN(05)/DEC)

  10. State of play • Still work in progress. Attempts for consensus building: Revised draft modalities texts on Agriculture and NAMA • Mini Ministerial the week of 21 July. • Single Undertaking – guarantor of a final outcome acceptable to all Members • Successful conclusion by end of 2008?

  11. Why Aid for Trade?

  12. Trade can be an engine for growth that lifts millions of people out of poverty But many developing countries face barriers that prevent them from benefiting from the world trading system

  13. Some of these barriers are in export markets – tariffs, quotas, subsidies, etc. – which the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations aims to reduce or eliminate

  14. But internal barriers – lack of knowledge, excessive red tape, inadequate financing, poor infrastructure – can be just as difficult for exporters to overcome • Targetting these “supply-side” constraints is what Aid for Trade is all about

  15. Aid for Trade is a part of overall aid to development but with the specific objective of helping developing countries, in particular the least developed, to play an active role in the international trading system and to use trade as an instrument for growth and poverty alleviation. • It is not a substitute for trade opening, but a necessary and increasingly important complement

  16. There are four main areas where Aid for Trade is needed • Trade policy and regulation Building capacity to formulate trade policy, participate in negotiations and implement agreements

  17. There are four main areas where Aid for Trade is needed • Economic infrastructure • Investing in the infrastructure – roads, ports, telecommunications, energy networks – needed to link products to global markets • In Sub-Saharan Africa, alone, annual infrastructure needs are $17-22 billion a year, while spending is about $10 billion

  18. There are four main areas where Aid for Trade is needed • Productive capacity building Strengthening economic sectors – from improved testing laboratories to better supply chains – to increase competitiveness in export markets

  19. There are four main areas where Aid for Trade is needed • Adjustment assistance Helping with any transition costs from liberalization – preference erosion, loss of fiscal revenue, or declining terms of trade

  20. A role for the WTO: monitoring and evaluation • WTO is not a development agency – and should not become one. Its core function is trade opening, rule making, and dispute settlement • But the WTO does have a role – and a responsibility – to ensure that relevant agencies and organizations understand the trade needs of WTO Members and work together more effectively to address them

  21. A role for the WTO: monitoring and evaluation • The WTO is well placed to play this role • Direct interest in ensuring that all its members benefit from trade and WTO agreements • Multilateral, consensus-based organization where developing and developed countries have equal weight • Institutional experience in reviewing complex policy areas through Trade Policy Review Mechanism

  22. Monitoring and evaluation in the WTO on three levels: • Global level (using data compiled by the OECD-DAC) – November 2007 and spring/summer 2009 • Donor level To share best practices across countries, to identify areas for improvement and to increase transparency on pledges and commitments • Country and regional level (Philippines (Asia), Peru (Latin America) and Tanzania (Africa)) - Arabs? To provide a focused, on-the-ground perspective on whether needs are being met, resources are being provided, and Aid for Trade is effective

  23. Roadmap for 2008 • Increasing developing country ownership of A4T. • Shifting emphasis to monitoring implementation – with a focus on country, regional and sectoral priorities. • Launching work programme to develop performance indicators and to strengthen self evaluations.