Verklaring van het South Centre (gezamenlijk analyse instituut van ontwikkelingslanden) over de mislukking van de WTO-top (30 juli)

 


"Doha Collapse because of Failure to Deliver Development"

South Centre Commentary on Collapse of Doha Talks 30 July 2008
http://www.southcentre.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=916&Itemid=

"Het South Centre is een intergouvernmentele organisatie van ontwikkelingslanden die analyses verstrekt mbt. Ontwikkelingsproblemen, alsook beleidssteun tbv. collectieve en individuele actie in de internationale arena.“
Meer analyses en nieuws van het South Centre over de Mini-Ministerialvan de WTO:
http://www.southcentre.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=664&Itemid=1)


The collapse of the Doha talks illustrated a clear lack of political will on the part of the developed countries to deliver on development. From the start, the developed countries were hearing but not actually listening to the development concerns the majority in the WTO have been voicing. This continued through the past week until it became untenable to bridge the differences.

 

Developed countries have wanted the Doha Round in order to increase their market access opportunities. For developing countries, putting a limit on developed countries’ agricultural subsidies which are essentially indirect export subsidies, and a package which provides sufficient cushion for their small farmers against the distortions in world agricultural trade, were critical. The developed countries failed to deliver on both those issues, whilst asking developing countries to make major market openings in the area of industrial products, possibly jeopardizing their future prospects for industrialization.

 

The result this week, however, represents a victory for developing countries. Even if the developed countries were not hearing well, developing countries did not let their development issues slip off the table. This has only been possible due to the strong developing country coalitions that have been built up. It is also a sea change from the time of the Uruguay Round. Hence, when the proposal on the agricultural safeguard emerged, which would have made it ineffective, over a hundred developing countries came together and put forward alternative numbers that would have addressed their concerns more effectively.

 

The multilateral trading system by way of the WTO is alive and functioning. However, if the institution is to serve developing countries well, it will have to rethink its exclusive obsession with trade liberalization and the opening up of markets. Instead, it needs to allow for and manage diversity so that the majority of its members are encouraged rather than restrained from pursing a dynamic development path.

 

Exclusive processes of negotiations are also outmoded. The talks at this mini-Ministerial were nearly stalled at an even earlier stage because excluded Ministers were deeply disaffected. Vague rules of procedure, secretive green room and mini-green room configurations, where the majority are simply decision-takers, not decision-makers, cannot breed confidence. A more transparent process, perhaps according to the UN style of negotiating texts is more in line with openness, transparency and democracy.

According to Yash Tandon, Executive Director of the South Centre, “These negotiations have been flawed in terms of both process and substance. The green room process is exclusive and undemocratic. In substance, the talks provided reverse preferences to the countries that are already developed and industrialised. As long as the development component of the Doha Round does not become its central concern and focus, it will continue to fail. Trade is not an end; it is a means to development. If the WTO continues to remain a neoliberal institution promoting trade liberalisation for its own sake, it stands to lose credibility and legitimacy. The WTO must reform itself to become a development agency and put trade to the service of development.”