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Doha Development Round- the dead lock

Doha Development Round

DDR is the current trade negotiation round of WTO. It was launched at the 4th Ministerial Conference of WTO, at Doha, Qatar, in 2001.

Its main objective were

  • Lower trade barriers around the world
  • Facilitate increased global trade
  • Inclusive globalization.

DDR Timeline

  • Launched at the 4th Ministerial Conference in 2001
  • Broke down in 2008 over disagreement concerning agriculture, industrial tariffs & non tarrif barriers, services and trade remedies.
  • Re-beginning was made in 2011 by the efforts of then Director-General Pascal Lamy
  • Bali Package in 2013 came as first successful event under DDR.
  • Nairobi round of WTO is underway, under threat of cold war between Developed and Developing countries

Areas of disagreement:

India, China, Indonesia and a large group of developing countries want the Nairobi meeting to find a permanent solution to the following:

  1. Countries such as Brazil, China and India and many of the WTO’s African members insist that the Doha round needs to continue, because the Doha Development Agenda, as it is formally known, includes issues of vital importance to poorer countries, such as efforts to rein in agricultural subsidies in rich economies like the US and EU
  2. India wants discussion on priority basis on the issue of huge trade distorting farm subsidies of the rich countries and its consequent adverse impact on millions of resource poor and subsistence farmers in developing countries.
  3. India demands
  • Flexibility for developing countries in limiting market opening of the agriculture sector.
  • Public stockholding programmes for food security,
  • The Special Safeguard Mechanism for grappling with unforeseen surges in imports of agricultural products,
  • Binding outcomes to improve the trading status of the poorest countries, and other developmental issues.

On the other hand, the US, the EU, Japan and other industrialized countries want an

  1. Outcome only in the export competition pillar dealing with the elimination of export subsidies for farm products.
  2. The US is not willing to accept binding outcomes to discipline its trade-distorting export credits and food aid based on the Doha mandates.
  3. The US also remains opposed to a special safeguard mechanism and the permanent solution to food stocks based on a proposal tabled by India along with Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Kenya and 42 other developing countries.

Australia and the EU continue to insist on a

  1. Financial cap on the market price support programmes underpinning the public stockholding programmes for food security. Australia said that it cannot give a blank cheque for unlimited subsidy payments involved in such public stockholding programmes.

US hardening position is due to

  • USA thinks that TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and T-TIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) will compensate it, if it walks away from Doha Round.
  • Free trade under WTO is not that much conducive for developed economy like US, rather any further “free agenda” will benefit developing countries and not developed countries.
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