Doha round

Doha round

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Doha round'
Start a new discussion about 'Doha round'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

The Doha Development Round or Doha Development Agenda (DDA) is the current trade-negotiation round of the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 (WTO) which commenced in November 2001. Its objective is to lower trade barrier
Trade barrier
Trade barriers are government-induced restrictions on international trade. The barriers can take many forms, including the following:* Tariffs* Non-tariff barriers to trade** Import licenses** Export licenses** Import quotas** Subsidies...

s around the world, which will help facilitate the increase of global trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

. As of 2008, talks have stalled over a divide on major issues, such as agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, industrial tariffs and non-tariff barriers
Non-tariff barriers to trade
Non-tariff barriers to trade are trade barriers that restrict imports but are not in the usual form of a tariff. Some common examples of NTB's are anti-dumping measures and countervailing duties, which, although they are called "non-tariff" barriers, have the effect of tariffs once they are...

, services, and trade remedies. The most significant differences are between developed nations led by the European Union (EU), the United States (USA), and Japan and the major developing countries
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

 led and represented mainly by Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and South Africa. There is also considerable contention against and between the EU and the USA over their maintenance of agricultural subsidies
Agricultural subsidy
An agricultural subsidy is a governmental subsidy paid to farmers and agribusinesses to supplement their income, manage the supply of agricultural commodities, and influence the cost and supply of such commodities...

—seen to operate effectively as trade barriers.

The Doha Round began with a ministerial-level meeting in Doha
Doha
Doha is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar...

, Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 in 2001. Subsequent ministerial meetings took place in Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

, Mexico (2003), and Hong Kong (2005). Related negotiations took place in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Switzerland (2004, 2006, 2008); Paris, France (2005); and Potsdam
Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....

, Germany (2007).

The most recent round of negotiations, 23–29 July 2008, broke down after failing to reach a compromise on agricultural import rules. After the breakdown, major negotiations were not expected to resume until 2009. Nevertheless, intense negotiations, mostly between the USA, China, and India, were held in the end of 2008 in order to agree on negotiation modalities
Modalities (trade negotiations)
Modalities are the formulas, targets, or specific measures used to accomplish objectives in trade negotiations. An example of modalities in the current World Trade Organization agriculture negotiations would be a percentage phase-out over a specified time period of agricultural export subsidies...

. However, these negotiations did not result in any progress.

Negotiations


Doha Round talks are overseen by the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), whose chair is the WTO’s director-general, currently Pascal Lamy
Pascal Lamy
Pascal Lamy is the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, a French political advisor, a businessman, and a former European Commissioner for Trade...

. The negotiations are being held in five working groups and in other existing bodies of the WTO. Selected topics under negotiation are discussed below in five groups: market access
Market access
Market access for goods in the WTO means the conditions, tariff and non-tariff measures, agreed by members for the entry of specific goods into their markets. Tariff commitments for goods are set out in each member's schedules of concessions on goods. The schedules represent commitments not to...

, development
Development studies
Development studies is a multidisciplinary branch of social science which addresses issues of concern to developing countries. It has historically placed a particular focus on issues related to social and economic development, and its relevance may therefore extend to communities and regions...

 issues, WTO rules, trade facilitation
Trade facilitation
Trade facilitation looks at how procedures and controls governing the movement of goods across national borders can be improved to reduce associated cost burdens and maximise efficiency while safeguarding legitimate regulatory objectives...

 and other issues.

Before Doha


Before the Doha ministerial, negotiations had already been under way on trade in agriculture and trade in services. These ongoing negotiations had been required under the last round of multilateral trade negotiations (the Uruguay Round
Uruguay Round
The Uruguay Round was the 8th round of Multilateral trade negotiations conducted within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , spanning from 1986-1994 and embracing 123 countries as “contracting parties”. The Round transformed the GATT into the World Trade Organization...

, 1986–1994). However, some countries, including the United States, wanted to expand the agriculture and services talks to allow trade-offs and thus achieve greater trade liberalization.

The first WTO ministerial conference
WTO Ministerial Conference of 1996
The World Trade Organisation's Ministerial Conference of 1996 was held in Singapore on December 9 - December 13, 1996. The inaugural meeting for the organisation since its formation...

, which was held in Singapore in 1996, established permanent working groups on four issues: transparency
Transparency (social)
Transparency is a general quality. It is implemented by a set of policies, practices and procedures that allow citizens to have accessibility, usability, utility, understandability, informativeness and auditability of information and process held by centers of authority...

 in government procurement
Government procurement
Government procurement, also called public tendering or public procurement, is the procurement of goods and services on behalf of a public authority, such as a government agency...

, trade facilitation
Trade facilitation
Trade facilitation looks at how procedures and controls governing the movement of goods across national borders can be improved to reduce associated cost burdens and maximise efficiency while safeguarding legitimate regulatory objectives...

 (customs issues), trade and investment, and trade and competition. These became known as the Singapore issues
Singapore issues
The "Singapore issues" refers to four working groups set up during the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1996 in Singapore. These groups are tasked with these issues: transparency in government procurement, trade facilitation , trade and investment, and trade and competition...

. These issues were pushed at successive ministerials by the European Union, Japan and Korea, and opposed by most developing countries. Since no agreement was reached, the developed nations pushed that any new trade negotiations must include these issues.

The negotiations were intended to start at the ministerial conference of 1999
WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999
The WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 was a meeting of the World Trade Organization, convened at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington, USA, over the course of three days, beginning November 30, 1999. A week before the meeting, delegates admitted failure to agree...

 in Seattle, USA, and be called the Millennium Round but, due to several different events including protest activity
WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 protest activity
Protest activity surrounding the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999, which was to be the launch of a new millennial round of trade negotiations, occurred on November 30, 1999 , when the World Trade Organization convened at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington,...

 outside the conference (the so-called "Battle of Seattle"), the negotiations were never started. Due to the failure of the Millennium Round, it was decided that negotiations would not start again until the next ministerial conference in 2001 in Doha, Qatar.

Just months before the Doha ministerial, the United States had been attacked by terrorists on 11 September 2001. Some government officials called for greater political cohesion and saw the trade negotiations as a means toward that end. Some officials thought that a new round of multilateral trade negotiations could help a world economy weakened by recession and terrorism-related uncertainty. According to the WTO, the year 2001 showed "...the lowest growth in output in more than two decades," and world trade contracted that year.

Doha, 2001


Began in November 2001, committing all countries to negotiations opening agricultural and manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 market
Market
A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

s, as well as trade-in-services (GATS
General Agreement on Trade in Services
The General Agreement on Trade in Services is a treaty of the World Trade Organization that entered into force in January 1995 as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations...

) negotiations and expanded intellectual property regulation (TRIPS
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO Members...

). The intent of the round, according to its proponents, was to make trade rules fairer for developing countries. However, by 2008, critics were charging that the round would expand a system of trade rules that were bad for development and interfered excessively with countries' domestic "policy space".

Importance of US presidential 'fast-track' authority


The round had been planned for conclusion in December 2005  — after two more ministerial conferences had produced a final draft declaration. The WTO pushed back its self-imposed deadline to slightly precede the expiration of the U.S. President's Congressional Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority
Fast track (trade)
The Fast track negotiating authority for trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate agreements that the Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Fast-track negotiating authority is granted to the president by Congress...

. Any declaration of the WTO must be ratified by the U.S. Congress to take effect in the United States. Trade Promotion Authority prevents Congress from amending the draft. It expired on 30 June 2007, and congressional leaders decided not to renew this authority for President George W Bush.

Cancún, 2003


The 2003 Cancún talks—intended to forge concrete agreement on the Doha round objectives—collapsed after four days during which the members could not agree on a framework to continue negotiations. Low key talks continued since the ministerial meeting in Doha but progress was almost non-existent. This meeting was intended to create a framework for further negotiations.

Collapse of negotiations


The Cancún ministerial collapsed for several reasons. First, differences over the Singapore issues
Singapore issues
The "Singapore issues" refers to four working groups set up during the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1996 in Singapore. These groups are tasked with these issues: transparency in government procurement, trade facilitation , trade and investment, and trade and competition...

 seemed incapable of resolution. The EU had retreated on some of its demands, but several developing countries refused any consideration of these issues at all. Second, it was questioned whether some countries had come to Cancún with a serious intention to negotiate. In the view of some observers, a few countries showed no flexibility in their positions and only repeated their demands rather than talk about trade-offs. Third, the wide difference between developing and developed countries across virtually all topics was a major obstacle. The U.S.-EU agricultural proposal and that of the G20 developing nations
G20 developing nations
The G20 is a bloc of developing nations established on 20 August 2003. Distinct and separate from the G-20 major economies, the group emerged at the 5th Ministerial WTO conference, held in Cancún, Mexico, from 10 September to 14 September 2003...

, for example, show strikingly different approaches to special and differential treatment. Fourth, there was some criticism of procedure. Some claimed the agenda was too complicated. Also, Cancún ministerial chairman, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez
Luis Ernesto Derbez
Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista is a Mexican politician and current rector of the Universidad de Las Américas.Upon assuming power in December 2000, President Vicente Fox chose him to serve as his Secretary of Economy...

, was faulted for ending the meeting when he did, instead of trying to move the talks into areas where some progress could have been made.

The collapse seemed like a victory for the developing countries. The failure to advance the round resulted in a serious loss of momentum and brought into question whether the 1 January 2005 deadline would be met. The North-South divide
North-South divide
The north–south divide is a socio-economic and political division that exists between the wealthy developed countries, known collectively as "the north", and the poorer developing countries , or "the south." Although most nations comprising the "North" are in fact located in the Northern Hemisphere ,...

 was most prominent on issues of agriculture. Developed countries’ farm subsidies (both the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy
Common Agricultural Policy
The Common Agricultural Policy is a system of European Union agricultural subsidies and programmes. It represents 48% of the EU's budget, €49.8 billion in 2006 ....

 and the U.S. government agro-subsidies) became a major sticking point. The developing countries were seen as finally having the confidence to reject a deal that they viewed as unfavorable. This is reflected by the new trade bloc
Trade bloc
A trade bloc is a type of intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization, where regional barriers to trade, are reduced or eliminated among the participating states.-Description:...

 of developing and industrialized nations: the G20
G20 developing nations
The G20 is a bloc of developing nations established on 20 August 2003. Distinct and separate from the G-20 major economies, the group emerged at the 5th Ministerial WTO conference, held in Cancún, Mexico, from 10 September to 14 September 2003...

. Since its creation, the G20 has had fluctuating membership, but is spearheaded by the G4 (the People's Republic of China, India, Brazil, and South Africa). While the G20 presumes to negotiate on behalf of all of the developing world, many of the poorest nations continue to have little influence over the emerging WTO proposals.

Geneva, 2004


The aftermath of Cancún was one of standstill and stocktaking. Negotiations were suspended for the remainder of 2003. Starting in early 2004, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick
Robert Zoellick
Robert Bruce Zoellick is the eleventh president of the World Bank, a position he has held since July 1, 2007. He was previously a managing director of Goldman Sachs, United States Deputy Secretary of State and U.S. Trade Representative, from February 7, 2001 until February 22, 2005.President...

 pushed for the resumption of negotiations by offering a proposal that would focus on market access, including an elimination of agricultural export subsidies. He also said that the Singapore issues could progress by negotiating on trade facilitation, considering further action on government procurement, and possibly dropping
investment and competition. This intervention was credited at the time with reviving
interest in the negotiations, and negotiations resumed in March 2004.

In the months leading up to the talks in Geneva, the EU accepted the elimination of agricultural export subsidies “by date certain.” The Singapore issues were moved off the Doha agenda. Compromise was also achieved over the negotiation of the Singapore issues as the EU and others decided. Developing countries too played an active part in negotiations this year, first by India and Brazil negotiating directly with the developed countries (as the so-called “non-party of five”) on agriculture, and second by working toward acceptance of trade facilitation as a subject for negotiation.

With these issues pushed aside, the negotiators in Geneva were able to concentrate on moving forward with the Doha Round. After intense negotiations in late July 2004, WTO members reached what has become known as the Framework Agreement(sometimes called the July Package), which provides broad guidelines for completing the Doha round negotiations. The agreement contains a 4-page declaration, with four annexes (A-D) covering agriculture, non-agricultural market access, services, and trade facilitation, respectively. In addition, the agreement acknowledges the activities of other negotiating groups (such as those on rules, dispute settlement, and intellectual property) and exhorts them to fulfill their Doha round negotiating objectives. The agreement also abandoned the 1 January 2005 deadline for the negotiations and set December 2005 as the date for the 6th ministerial to be held in Hong Kong.

Paris, 2005


Trade negotiators wanted to make tangible progress before the December 2005 WTO meeting in Hong Kong, and held a session of negotiations in Paris in May 2005.

Paris talks were hanging over a few issues: France protested moves to cut subsidies to farmers, while the U.S., Australia, the EU, Brazil and India failed to agree on issues relating to chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

, beef
Beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

 and rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

. Most of the sticking points were small technical issues, making trade negotiators fear that agreement on large politically risky issues will be substantially harder.

Hong Kong, 2005



The Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference
WTO Ministerial Conference of 2005
The Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, also known as the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference and abbreviated as MC6, was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai, Hong Kong from 13 to 18 December 2005...

 took place in Hong Kong, 13 to 18 December 2005. Although a flurry of negotiations took place in the fall of 2005, WTO director-general Pascal Lamy announced in November 2005 that a comprehensive agreement on modalities would not be forthcoming in Hong Kong, and that the talks would “take stock” of the negotiations and would try to reach agreements in negotiating sectors where convergence was reported.

Trade ministers representing most of the world's governments reached a deal that sets a deadline for eliminating subsidies of agricultural exports by 2013. The final declaration from the talks, which resolved several issues that have stood in the way of a global trade agreement, also requires industrialized countries to open their markets to goods from the world's poorest nations, a goal of the United Nations for many years. The declaration gave fresh impetus for negotiators to try to finish a comprehensive set of global free trade rules by the end of 2006. Director-general Pascal Lamy said, "I now believe it is possible, which I did not a month ago."

The conference pushed back the expected completion of the round until the end of 2006.

Geneva, 2006


The July 2006 talks in Geneva failed to reach an agreement about reducing farming subsidies and lowering import taxes, and negotiations took months to resume. A successful outcome of the Doha round became increasingly unlikely, because the broad trade authority granted under the Trade Act of 2002
Trade Act of 2002
The Trade Act of 2002 granted the President of the United States the authority to negotiate trade deals with other countries and gives Congress the approval to only vote up or down on the agreement, not to amend it. This authority is sometimes called fast track authority, since it is thought to...

 to U.S. president George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 was due to expire in 2007. Any trade pact
Trade pact
A trade pact is a wide ranging tax, tariff and trade pact that often includes investment guarantees. The most common trade pacts are of the preferential and free trade types are concluded in order to reduce tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions on items traded between the signatories.-By...

 would then have to be approved by the U.S. Congress with the possibility of amendments, which would hinder the U.S. negotiators and decrease the willingness of other countries to participate. Hong Kong offered to mediate the collapsed trade liberalisation talks. Director-general of Trade and Industry, Raymond Young, says the territory, which hosted the last round of Doha negotiations, has a "moral high-ground" on free trade that allows it to play the role of "honest broker".

Potsdam, 2007


In June 2007, negotiations within the Doha round broke down at a conference in Potsdam
Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....

, as a major impasse occurred between the USA, the EU, India and Brazil. The main disagreement was over opening up agricultural and industrial markets in various countries and how to cut rich nation farm subsidies.

Geneva, 2008


On 21 July 2008, negotiations started again at the WTO's HQ in Geneva on the Doha round but stalled after nine days of negotiations over the refusal to compromise over the special safeguard mechanism
Safeguard
In the technical language of the World Trade Organization system, a safeguard is used to restrain international trade in order to protect a certain home industry from foreign competition. A member may take a “safeguard” action In the technical language of the World Trade Organization (WTO)...

. "Developing country Members receive special and differential treatment with respect to other Members' safeguard measures, in the form of a de minimis import volume exemption. As users of safeguards, developing country Members receive special and differential treatment with respect to applying their own such measures, with regard to permitted duration of extensions, and with respect to re-application of measures.— Technical Information on Safeguard Measures WTO official site

Negotiations had continued since the last conference in June 2007. Director-general Pascal Lamy said before the start of the conference that the odds of success were over 50%. Around 40 ministers attended the negotiations, which were only expected to last five days but instead lasted nine days. Kamal Nath
Kamal Nath
Kamal Nath is an Indian politician and the current Union Cabinet Minister of Urban Development. He is a member of the 15th Lok Sabha of India. He represents the Chhindwara constituency of Madhya Pradesh and is a member of the Indian National Congress .-Early life:Born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He...

, India's Commerce Minister, was absent from the first few days of the conference due to a vote of confidence being conducted in
India's Parliament
Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

. On the second day of the conference, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab
Susan Schwab
Susan C. Schwab is an American politician, who served as United States Trade Representative from June, 2006 to January, 2009....

 announced that the U.S. would cap its farm subsidies at $15 billion a year, from $18.2 billion in 2006. The proposal was on the condition that countries such as Brazil and India drop their objections to various aspects of the round. The U.S. and the EU also offered an increase in the number of temporary work visas for professional workers. After one week of negotiations, many considered agreement to be 'within reach'. However, there were disagreements on issues including special protection for Chinese and Indian farmers and African and Caribbean banana imports to the EU. India and China's hard stance regarding tariffs and subsidies was severely criticized by the United States. In response, India's Commerce Minister said "I'm not risking the livelihood of millions of farmers."

Collapse of negotiations


The negotiations collapsed on 29 July over issues of agricultural trade between the United States, India, and China. In particular, there was insoluble disagreement between India and the United States over the special safeguard mechanism (SSM), a measure designed to protect poor farmers by allowing countries to impose a special tariff on certain agricultural goods in the event of an import surge or price fall.

Pascal Lamy said, "Members have simply not been able to bridge their differences." He also said that out of a to-do list of 20 topics, 18 had seen positions converge but the gaps could not narrow on the 19th — the special safeguard mechanism for developing countries. However, the United States, China and India could not agree on the threshold that would allow the mechanism to be used, with the United States arguing that the threshold had been set too low.
The European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson
Peter Benjamin Mandelson, Baron Mandelson, PC is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Hartlepool from 1992 to 2004, served in a number of Cabinet positions under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and was a European Commissioner...

 characterized the collapse as a "collective failure". On a more optimistic note, India's Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath, said "I would only urge the director-general to treat this [failure of talks] as a pause, not a breakdown, to keep on the table what is there."

Several countries blamed each other for the breakdown of the negotiations. The United States and some European Union members blamed India for the failure of the talks. India claimed that its position (i.e. that the U.S. was sacrificing the world's poor for U.S./European commercial interests) was supported by over 100 countries. Brazil, one of the founding members of the G-20, broke away from the position held by India. Then-European Commissioner for Trade
European Commissioner for Trade
The European Commissioner for Trade is the member of the European Commission responsible for the European Union's common commercial policy...

 Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson
Peter Benjamin Mandelson, Baron Mandelson, PC is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Hartlepool from 1992 to 2004, served in a number of Cabinet positions under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and was a European Commissioner...

 said that India and China should not be blamed for the failure of the Doha round. In his view, the agriculture talks had been harmed by the five-year program of agricultural subsidies recently passed by the U.S. Congress, which he said was "one of the most reactionary farm bills in the history of the U.S.".

Current progress


Several countries have called for negotiations to start again. Brazil and Pascal Lamy have led this process. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva , known popularly as Lula, served as the 35th President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010.A founding member of the Workers' Party , he ran for President three times unsuccessfully, first in the 1989 election. Lula achieved victory in the 2002 election, and was inaugurated as...

, former president of Brazil, called several countries leaders to urge them to renew negotiations. Lamy visited India to discuss possible solutions to the impasse. A mini-ministerial meeting held in India on September 3 and 4 pledged to complete the round by the end of 2010. The declaration at the end of the G20 summit of world leaders in London in 2009 included a pledge to complete the Doha round. Although a WTO ministerial conference scheduled in November 2009 would not be a negotiating session, there would be several opportunities over the year 2009 to discuss the progress. The WTO is involved in several events every year that provide opportunities to discuss and advance, at a conceptual level, trade negotiations.

In early 2010, Brazil and Lamy have focused on the role of the United States in overcoming the deadlock. Lula has urged Barack Obama to end the trade dispute between Brazil and the US over cotton subsidies following Brazil's increase in tariffs on over 100 US goods. Lamy has highlighted the difficulty of obtaining agreement from the US without the Presidential fast track authority and biennial elections. One of the consequences of the economic crisis of 2008 - 2009 is the desire of political leaders to shelter their constituents from the increasingly competitive market experienced during market contractions. Lamy hopes that the drop in trade of 12% in 2009, quoted as the largest annual drop since the Second World War, could be countered by successful conclusion of the Doha round.

At the 2011 annual conference of the World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, best known for its annual meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland....

 in Davos
Davos
Davos is a municipality in the district of Prättigau/Davos in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. It has a permanent population of 11,248 . Davos is located on the Landwasser River, in the Swiss Alps, between the Plessur and Albula Range...

 British Prime Minister David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

 called for the Doha talks to conclude by the end of the year, saying that "We've been at this Doha round for far too long. It's frankly ridiculous that it has taken 10 years to do this deal." Similar comments were made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
Angela Dorothea Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany . Merkel, elected to the Bundestag from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000, and chairwoman of the CDU-CSU parliamentary coalition from 2002 to 2005.From 2005 to 2009 she led a...

 and former WTO director-general Peter Sutherland
Peter Sutherland
Peter Denis Sutherland, KCMG is an Irish international businessman and former Attorney General of Ireland, associated with the Fine Gael party . He is a barrister by profession, and is also Senior Counsel at the Irish Bar...

.

Issues


Agriculture has become the lynchpin of the agenda for both developing and developed countries.
Three other issues have been important. The first, now resolved, pertained to compulsory licensing of medicines and patent protection. A second deals with a review of provisions giving special and differential treatment to developing countries; a third addresses problems that developing countries are having in implementing current trade obligations.

Agriculture


Agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 has become the most important and controversial issue. Agriculture is particularly important for developing countries, because around 75% of the population in developing countries live in rural areas, and the vast majority are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. The first proposal in Qatar, in 2001, called for the end agreement to commit to substantial improvements in market access; reductions (and ultimate elimination) of all forms of export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade-distorting support.”

The United States is being asked by the European Union (EU) and the developing countries, led by Brazil and India, to make a more generous offer for reducing trade-distorting domestic support for agriculture. The United States is insisting that the EU and the developing countries agree to make more substantial reductions in tariffs and to limit the number of import-sensitive and special products that would be exempt from cuts. Import-sensitive products are of most concern to developed countries like the European Union, while developing countries are concerned with special products — those exempt from both tariff cuts and subsidy reductions because of development, food security, or livelihood considerations. Brazil has emphasized reductions in trade-distorting domestic subsidies, especially by the United States (some of which it successfully challenged in the WTO U.S.-Brazil cotton dispute), while India has insisted on a large number of special products that would not be exposed to wider market opening.

Access to patented medicines


A major topic at the Doha ministerial regarded the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The issue involves the balance of interests between the pharmaceutical companies in developed countries that held patents on medicines and the public health needs in developing countries. Before the Doha meeting, the United States claimed that the current language in TRIPS was flexible enough to address health emergencies, but other countries insisted on new language.

On 30 August 2003, WTO members reached agreement on the TRIPS and medicines issue. Voting in the General Council, member governments approved a decision that offered an interim waiver under the TRIPS Agreement allowing a member country to export pharmaceutical products made under compulsory licenses to least-developed and certain other members.

Special and differential treatment


In the Doha Ministerial Declaration, the trade ministers reaffirmed special and differential (S&D) treatment for developing countries and agreed that all S&D treatment provisions “...be reviewed with a view to strengthening them and making them more precise, effective and operational.”

The negotiations have been split along a developing-country/developed-country divide. Developing countries wanted to negotiate on changes to S&D provisions, keep proposals together in the Committee on Trade and Development, and set shorter deadlines. Developed countries wanted to study S&D provisions, send some proposals to negotiating groups, and leave deadlines open. Developing countries claimed that the developed countries were not negotiating in good faith, while developed countries argued that the developing countries were unreasonable in their proposals. At the December 2005 Hong Kong ministerial, members agreed to five S&D provisions for LDCs, including the duty-free and quota-free access.

Research by the ODI
Overseas Development Institute
The Overseas Development Institute is one of the leading independent think tanks on international development and humanitarian issues. Based in London, its mission is "to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement...

 sheds light on the priorities of the LDCs during the Doha round
Doha round
The Doha Development Round or Doha Development Agenda is the current trade-negotiation round of the World Trade Organization which commenced in November 2001. Its objective is to lower trade barriers around the world, which will help facilitate the increase of global trade...

. It is argued that subsidies to agriculture, especially to cotton, unite developing countries in opposition more than SDT provisions and therefore have a greater consenus.

Duty-free and quota-free access (DFQFA) currently discussed covers 97% of tariff lines and if the USA alone were to implement the initiative, it would potentially increase Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) exports by 10% (or $1bn). Many major trading powers already provide preferential access to LDCs through initiatives such as the Everything but Arms (EBA) initiative and the African Growth and Opportunities Act. However, due to LDCs narrow export-base, 100% of tariff lines must be covered for real impact.

Implementation issues


Developing countries claim that they have had problems with the implementation of the agreements reached in the earlier Uruguay Round
Uruguay Round
The Uruguay Round was the 8th round of Multilateral trade negotiations conducted within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , spanning from 1986-1994 and embracing 123 countries as “contracting parties”. The Round transformed the GATT into the World Trade Organization...

 because of limited capacity or lack of technical assistance. They also claim that they have not realized certain benefits that they expected from the Round, such as increased access for their textiles and apparel in developed-country markets. They seek a clarification of language relating to their interests in existing agreements.

Before the Doha ministerial, WTO Members resolved a small number of these implementation issues. At the Doha meeting, the Ministerial Declaration directed a two-path approach for the large number of remaining issues: (a) where a specific negotiating mandate is provided, the relevant implementation issues will be addressed under that mandate; and (b) the other outstanding implementation issues will be addressed as a matter of priority by the relevant WTO bodies. Outstanding implementation issues are found in the area of market access, investment measures, safeguards, rules of origin, and subsidies and countervailing measures, among others.

Benefits


All countries participating in the negotiations believe that there is some economic benefit in adopting the agreement; however, there is considerable disagreement of how much benefit the agreement would actually produce. A study by the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

 found that if all trade barriers in agriculture, services, and manufactures were reduced by 33% as a result of the Doha Development Agenda, there would be an increase in global welfare of $574.0 billion. A 2008 study by World Bank Lead Economist Kym Anderson found that global income could increase by more than $3000 billion per year, $2500 billion of which would go to the developing world. Others had been predicting more modest outcomes, e.g. world net welfare gains ranging from $84 billion to $287 billion by the year 2015. Pascal Lamy has conservatively estimated that the deal will bring an increase of $130 billion.

Several think tanks and public organizations assess that the conclusion of the trade round will result in a net gain . However, the restructuring and adjustment costs required to prevent the collapse of local industries, particularly in developing countries, is a global concern. For example, a late 2009 study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Development Programme and the Kenyan Institute for Research and Policy Analysis found that Kenya would see gains in its exports of flowers, tea, coffee and oil seeds. It would concurrently lose in the tobacco and grains markets, as well as manufacturing of textiles and footwear, machinery and equipment.

The Copenhagen Consensus
Copenhagen Consensus
Copenhagen Consensus is a project that seeks to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics. It was conceived and organized by Bjørn Lomborg, the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and the then director of the Danish...

, which evaluates solutions for global problems regarding the cost-benefit ratio
Benefit-cost ratio
A benefit-cost ratio is an indicator, used in the formal discipline of cost-benefit analysis, that attempts to summarize the overall value for money of a project or proposal. A BCR is the ratio of the benefits of a project or proposal, expressed in monetary terms, relative to its costs, also...

, in 2008 ranked the DDA as the second-best investment for global welfare, after the provision of vitamin supplements to the world's 140 million malnourished children.

See also


  • Safeguard
    Safeguard
    In the technical language of the World Trade Organization system, a safeguard is used to restrain international trade in order to protect a certain home industry from foreign competition. A member may take a “safeguard” action In the technical language of the World Trade Organization (WTO)...

  • Subsidy
    Subsidy
    A subsidy is an assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry or an increase in the prices of its products or simply to encourage it to hire more labor A subsidy (also...

  • Trade bloc
    Trade bloc
    A trade bloc is a type of intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization, where regional barriers to trade, are reduced or eliminated among the participating states.-Description:...

  • Copenhagen Consensus
    Copenhagen Consensus
    Copenhagen Consensus is a project that seeks to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics. It was conceived and organized by Bjørn Lomborg, the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and the then director of the Danish...


  • WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999
    WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999
    The WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 was a meeting of the World Trade Organization, convened at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington, USA, over the course of three days, beginning November 30, 1999. A week before the meeting, delegates admitted failure to agree...

  • Anti-Globalization
    Anti-globalization
    Criticism of globalization is skepticism of the claimed benefits of the globalization of capitalism. Many of these views are held by the anti-globalization movement however other groups also are critical of the policies of globalization....

  • Global administrative law
    Global administrative law
    Global Administrative Law is an emerging field that is based upon a dual insight: that much of what is usually termed “global governance” can be accurately characterized as administrative action; and that increasingly such action is itself being regulated by administrative law-type principles,...

  • Globality
    Globality
    Globality is the end-state of globalization – a hypothetical condition in which the process of globalization is complete or nearly so, barriers have fallen, and "a new global reality" is emerging....



Further reading


External links