Nairobi MC making life difficult for WTO

Progress at the tenth round of the WTO’s Ministerial Conference (MC) indicates that the inevitable clash between the so called ‘new issues’  and the Doha Development Agenda is driving the MC towards a crash finish.

So far the draft distributed at the Conference doesn’t include the agenda of the G-33- the Special Safeguard Mechanism.  

On the other hand, it contains the new issues though there is no specific mentioning of the measures that the developing world doesn’t entertain right now.  

Members have the freedom to suggest the changes and submit it on the final day of the summit on Friday. The Chair of the MC declared that the Conference should not be extended to one more day. At Bali, the MC was extended to an additional day to reach consensus on TFA and India’s food security programme.

The stalemate is concentrated on agriculture as there is no consensus on issues including food security related government stock holding of food grains and the phasing out of export subsidy by the developed countries.  On the first issue, India is seeking a permanent solution for it at Nairobi.

The developed countries have advertised the new issues as the 21st century trade matters at the same time showing disinterest towards the unfinished DDA.

Commerce Minister Ms. Sitharaman said that longstanding issues of interest to developing countries should not be postponed. India thinks that the WTO is losing direction as new issues are being taken up with zeal without solving the existing DDA.

In another development, African Ministers expressed their frustration at the lack of progress of on DDA and they articulated that the stalemate between the advanced developing countries and the developed world is hurting the little benefit they got as part of the Bali Package.