WTO's Nairobi talks likely to be extended

India to protest talks being focused on rich country interests, but not of the developing world

December 18, 2015 11:09 pm | Updated November 28, 2021 11:04 am IST - Nairobi

The ongoing Nairobi meet of the WTO is likely to be extended. India is expected to lodge a protest on talks being focused only on issues of developed countries such as elimination of farm subsidies, but not on matters that the developing world wants to be prioritised - including on measures to protect poor farmers and food sovereignty.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in her blog that: "It's quite improbable that we will finish this conference today, as planned. Many of us have rebooked our flights for the weekend instead."

She also wanted the final Ministerial Declaration to include 'new' issues of interest to the developed world. "Even though some Doha-related issues still need to be solved, the WTO needs to be able to raise new topics, such as e-commerce, investments, and regulatory issues affecting goods and services behind borders. If we do not manage to agree here and now, things will indeed look gloomy for the multilateral trading system."

Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said there is no agreement yet on agricultural issues including on 'export competition' (elimination of farm export subsidies), permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes and the Special Safeguard Mechanism. There is also no agreement on the Ministerial Declaration reaffirming the Doha Development Agenda and the continuation of the Doha Round till all outstanding issues are resolved. The day saw intensive discussions only on developed country interests so far, she said, adding that she will protest this development. She added that the developing and the poor world are still staying united to protect their interests.

Referring to the plurilateral deal on the revised Information Technology Agreement (ITA) that the EU and another 23 WTO members - struck this week, Cecilia Malmström said: "In the future, there will most probably be more of the ’plurilateral’ type of trade deals where those countries who wish can participate. However, it would be important that such agreements be struck under the umbrella of the WTO system - that all WTO members who want to can join, with access to the dispute resolution function of the organisation."

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