WTO DOHA: Developing Country Statements
Statements to the DOHA Ministerial meeting from:
- South Africa
For more country statements see...WTO WEBSITE COUNTRY STATEMENTS
by H.E. Mr Abdul Razak Dawood
Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production
I am honoured to represent Pakistan at this Fourth Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization.
Let me congratulate you on your well deserved election as the President of this historic meeting.
The Pakistan delegation is very happy to be in Doha, this beautiful capital of fraternal Qatar. The convening of this meeting in your noble country transmits to the world an essential message: the fundamental convergence of interests and values in our rapidly integrating world. We thank the people and Government of Qatar for their generous and traditional hospitality, especially His Highness the Emir, who is also the current Chairman of the Islamic Summit.
The Doha Ministerial is destined to be historic. It will witness the long awaited accession of the People's Republic of China to the WTO. This momentous event will not only strengthen the multilateral trading system, it will greatly enhance the ability of the developing countries to promote greater equity in the system.
After the atrocities of 11 September, the world nations have joined, in a coalition of cooperation security, to oppose terrorism. This campaign must also bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and bring the relief and reconstruction which the long suffering people of Afghanistan have been denied so far by global indifference and within the new paradigm of cooperative security, underlying the causes of popular anger, conflicts and disputes, poverty and deprivation, inequality within and among nations must be effectively addressed.
The current global economic slowdown is not only the result of a cyclical downturn; it also manifests the systemic weaknesses of the world economy. The answer to our problems is not as much to launch a new round of trade negotiations, but to build a more effective structure for the governance of globalization, progressively and equitably integrating the developing countries into the world economy and focused on advancing development and eradicating hunger and poverty from all parts of the world. Such global governance must realize the following essential goals:
- A quick, effective and sustainable solution for the enormous (2.5 trillion) debt burden of the developing countries, especially low income developing countries;
- the generation of adequate concessional assistance for the poorest countries to address their urgent social, financial and infrastructure deficits;
- a strategy to channel adequate investment finance towards the developing countries which most need such finance to transform three million of impoverished peoples into the dynamic consumers and producers of tomorrow; and
- the creation of an open, equitable and humane global trading system.
Pakistan's ambitions at Doha are very high. These are not limited to merely launching a "new Round". "Development Round" will be an oxymoron, if not a deception, so long as it does not give priority to the development objectives of the developing countries. Pakistan wants to see this Conference conclude with a consensus which initiates the process of creating an open, equitable and humane global trading system.
Towards this end, Pakistan advocates that the Doha Ministerial take the following actions:
- First, we must rectify the inequity of the past. The promised benefits from the Uruguay Round – especially from the textiles and agriculture liberalization – have failed to transpire for most developing countries. The commitment to "progressive liberalization" of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing has remained a dead letter. The so-called implementation proposals to rectify the imbalance of the past have been strung out in WTO processes for over two years. The package of implementation measures proposed for adoption at Doha is almost a bare cupboard. Some major countries want to take away what little it contains – such as the provision for "growth on growth" in textiles. We would also press for urgent negotiations on the implementation issues which will remain outstanding. These must be addressed and resolved by the end of 2002.
- Second, the Doha Meeting must adopt the development agenda as proposed in Geneva – for priority action under the WTO's future work programme. This development agenda, apart from implementation issues, should include the following:
- The removal of tariff peaks and tariff escalations and adoption of the Development Box as central objectives of the Agriculture negotiations;
- first priority for meaningful liberalization of the movement of natural persons in the services negotiations;
- focus in the review of the TRIMs Agreement on the "development dimension" and due restraint in dispute settlement action during this review;
- adoption and implementation of the Declaration on TRIPS and public health and a development review of the Agreement's implications;
- a specific commitment and designated mechanism to operationalize and make legally binding the provisions in the WTO Agreement for special and differential treatment of developing countries; a specific commitment and designated mechanism to operationalize and make legally binding the provisions in the WTO Agreement for special and differential treatment of developing countries;
- the negotiation of a Framework Agreement on Special and Differential Treatment;
- establishment of Working Groups on Trade and Debt Finance, and on Trade and Transfer of Technology.
Third, we should not negotiate additional agreements which can exacerbate the imbalance in the multilateral trading system. The WTO is not the place, certainly not yet, to negotiate international agreements on investment and competition policy. An explicit consensus is required for this. It does not exist at present. The process of studying these issues should continue, perhaps in a more explicit and focused manner, without a decision ab initio to commence negotiations. Likewise, the content of possible rules of behaviour or guidelines in Transparency in Government Procurement and Trade Facilitation need to be clarified prior to any negotiations.
Fourth, we must not legitimize new protectionism. the Pakistan delegation is deeply concerned at the insertion of a reference to labour standards in the draft Declaration despite the strong objections of the developing countries. Whatever the disclaimers, we see the underlining motive of such a move as protectionist. We were told that this contentious issue had been buried at the Singapore Ministerial. Raising the ghost of this issue and insisting on negotiations on the environment, threatens to disrupt any possibility of consensus on the Ministerial Declaration at Doha.
We are glad that the Chairman of the General Council acknowledged yesterday that the "distance between positions in some key areas remained significant" and that the draft texts of the Ministerial Declaration and the one on TRIPS and public health "did not purport to be agreed in whole or part at this stage". These texts unfortunately do not reflect the strong views and positions of the developing countries as expressed in the Geneva process.
We have not endorsed the concept of conducting negotiations within a "single undertaking", especially since the areas and scope of negotiations remains to be determined. Moreover, there will need to be a relationship between agreed negotiations, the mandated reviews, and other elements of the WTO work programme. Therefore, we believe that the issue of the Single Undertaking should be deferred for decision to the next WTO Ministerial Conference.
Pakistan sincerely desires the success of the Doha Conference. We wish to see it conclude with consensus on a important Ministerial Declaration. This will not happen so long as there is a presumption that procedure and power can in combination succeed in securing an outcome that ignores the priority concerns and development objectives of the developing countries. The consensus in Doha must be real; it must reflect the views and interests of all WTO Members. If not, we risk repeating the debacle of Seattle.
We repose full trust and complete confidence in your ability and wisdom. We trust that you will succeed through an open and democratic process, in evolving a genuine consensus at Doha – a consensus which is responsive to the requirements of a global economic revival but also one which lays the foundation for the creation of a new, equitable and humane multilateral trading system. Meeting at this moment of global crisis and political and economic transition, this historic Doha Ministerial meeting can do no less.
H.E. Mr Alexander Erwin, MP
Minister of Trade and Industry
Chairperson, Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, distinguished delegates.
On behalf of South Africa we thank the Government and people of Qatar for hosting the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference and we thank them for their warm hospitality in difficult times.
We meet at a critical juncture for the global economy and the world trade system. We are witnessing the beginning of a global economic downturn whose impact will be felt most severely by the weakest of our Members that could generate uncertainty, political and social instability, as well as growing protectionist pressures. This threatens to undermine all our efforts and progress made in pursuing development through meaningful integration into the global economy.
In this Plenary of the Ministerial Conference some 142 people, or more will speak. Each Member State will have a chance to state its views. However, the complexities of the issues that are now before a Ministerial Conference make five minutes too short a time to deal with real substance. Our economic interconnectedness is now so intense that it cannot be dealt with in a series of speeches.
We are underestimating the extent to which we are a global economy. We do this despite the fact that recent events have shown this with appalling violence and the loss of innocent young lives. We still want to live in a world where we could manage our global economic relations with a conference every few years. It will not work again.
Our interconnectivity is now so great that we need to ensure that there is an ongoing process of governing our trade and investment relations. We will have to find new ways of doing things.
The challenge facing this Conference is that we have to have the wisdom to introduce the new processes out of the shell of the old. The text that we are working with is a good start. It is not the old style where we haggled over brackets. It attempts to define the balance that would be in the best interests of the world economy as we move forward. The specific details, where the multiplicity of our varied interests and needs will be addressed, will have to come in the next few years as the architectural plan is translated into the commercial law and interaction that will govern our global economy.
Of course our agreed text at the end cannot be so vague as to give no direction – the structural features must be defined. On the other hand if we start building the detail now we will not finish and the Conference will fail. The costs of failure are much higher than many of us imagine.
Let me return to the reality of our interconnectedness in the global economy. What does this really mean for the work we will be so intensely involved in over the next three days?
What it means is that the realities of the political economy in all regions and economies in the world are a reality for all of us. The realities and the underlying changes in the global economy will impact on all economies and cannot be avoided because we managed to keep them out of a document at a Ministerial Conference.
I want to focus on three dimensions that inform South Africa's strategic approach to the WTO and this Conference.
The first is the disparity between those countries that are economically developed and those that are not. The majority of the world's population live in the latter category. If this continues for the next three to four decades the overall social, economic and health stability of our global economy will most surely be at risk. To prevent this we have to have a sense of crisis and urgency.
The first task at hand is to begin a process of rebalancing some rules inherited from past negotiations that clearly prejudice the interests of developing countries. There must be a genuine commitment to address outstanding implementation issues.
In a similar way, we must demonstrate, in this Conference, a commitment to review the TRIPS Agreement with a view to ensuring that it serves public policy objectives that go beyond narrow commercial and trade interests. This is not simply a developing country concern. For a relatively small price this Organization will gain increased legitimacy in the eyes of our people and many critics.
The excess protection and absorption of scarce resources in agriculture in the "North" has the consequence of the underdevelopment of this massive sector in the "South". Redress is fundamental to a development agenda. If we do this redress the results will lead to a development agenda. If we do this redress the results will lead to a rise in the standards of living in all economies. Surely it is better for the "North" to maintain reasonable growth through supplying rising disposable income arising from agriculture and agro-industry in the "South" rather than to try and pump prime stagnant and high cost industries.
The configuration of industrial tariffs has the effect of protecting industries in the "North" that are resource, energy and labour intensive. These are all areas where the industrialization of the "South" has moved the competitive advantage to them. This prevents growth in the global economy, as it is a misallocation of resources.
This problem must not be confused with the problem of high tariffs in the developing countries. The latter has more to do with recent political economy of the post-colonial period. The change in policy in the most successful trading economies in the developing world shows the direction that we are all going.
What this means therefore is that negotiations in industrial tariffs cannot be conducted on the old mercantilist principles but should be seen as part of facilitating a new global arrangement of production that will – like the structural change in agriculture – benefit the global growth process.
The second dimension that I want to deal with is how quickly we should place the new issues on the agenda? Our starting-point in South Africa is that these are not issues that can be avoided. We will have to address them. What is at issue is why, how and when they have to be addressed.
If the motive for addressing them is that it supports the economic advantage of the demanders then the right response for the rest is to resist the demand. This is the suspicion that exists at present.
If however, these are matters where it is unavoidable that they will have to fall under some form of governance regime then it makes little sense to delay, as the problem will only get worse with delay.
However, this is not a well-understood reality at the moment and the way in which the demands came onto the table only caused problems. The uneven development of our economies and their integration into the world economy further exacerbates the suspicion and the lack of awareness of the problems we face.
This points to how we introduce these issues and the text on the issues of investment, competition and environment has captured the most sensible way in which we can commence this task. If we all have the patience to carry out the envisage process our rate of progress at a later date will be far greater.
We can all agree that there are linkages between trade, development and environment.
However, the linkages are complex, the implications of negotiating rules in this area are not fully understood and, in many ways, the issues that arise go beyond the WTO's competence. Hence, we require time for deeper reflection and dialogue on these issues and their implication for the trading system.
We will have an opportunity for locating this dialogue in the border conceptual framework of "sustainable development" at the World Summit on Sustainable Development that South Africa will host next year. For South Africa, the Conference should be an occasion for going beyond the review of the implementation of Agenda 21 to address issues of global inequality and high levels of poverty.
These new matters have to be integrated into our work programme in a manner that allows all to participate in a meaningful way. An unwise insertion of these matters into the work programme will be counterproductive.
The third area is that which relates to the compact the trading and investment system has with the active organizations of civil society.
At present the WTO is seen by a wide variety of social groups as the embodiment of the evils of globalization. This has led, in turn, to a diffuse response to the inherent challenges facing the WTO by the political leaders of the world. The result is to merely strengthen scepticism and frustration.
The first is to bridge the gulf between those social critics that are amenable to reasoned argument and the undoubted potential of the WTO to progressively provide rules and regulations for sustainable trade and development.
Globalization is impacting on all economies. It is causing structural change in all economies – developed and developing. The massive wealth inequalities, both between and within the world's economies, result in the impact of these structural pressures being experienced very differently.
The civil societies in the developed and the developing world are reacting to different pressures but coming to similar, largely inaccurate, conclusions about the WTO.
The high standards of living, the heightened levels of social awareness and the availability of information in the developed economies have meant that the civil society has been alerted to real threats to the environment that could result from rapid and integrated global economic growth. Since the WTO regulates trade and investment it is seen as the means that greedy governments and manipulative commercial interests use to insulate this reckless growth from legitimate social sanction and monitoring.
When it is then argued, inaccurately, that the production and trade in the developing economies is predicated on exploitative labour systems then it is possible for a wide collation of social forces to come together.
There is no doubt that child labour occurs in many developed and developing economies and this has to be addressed. However, it is not the structural reason for the increasing competitiveness of the developing economies. In some cases, significant cases, this competitiveness is developing very fast. It is a prelude to a profound change in the location of the global economies production capacity.
A dialogue is needed on this interplay between labour and social standards and the world trade system. A similar dialogue is need between the trade system and the financial system. We should not fear dialogue. However, if these matters are seen as pretext for protection then the real merits of issues will be lost as we revert to the beggar my neighbour mercantilist age. Wisdom and farsightedness are needed.
The misperception has been generated that there is an inherent incompatibility between the WTO agreements and just social causes like sustainable development, the environment, rural life and labour standards.
We need to start the work of building a new compact with our citizens. The WTO needs to exist for many decades to come and it needs to do so with the support of all.
Let us reflect on these matters and make sure that we succeed. A failure will be a statement about the ability of the global economy to govern itself for the benefit of all our citizens.
H.E. Prof. Dr. Tunca Toskay
Minister of State
At the outset, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Government of Qatar for their very kind hospitality and the perfect organization of this Conference. I would also like to express our appreciation to the WTO Secretariat.
Since our last meeting in Seattle, where we left with some questions with regard to implementation and institutional issues, Member countries have spent noteworthy efforts to stress the importance of global collaboration and the role of multilateral trade for economic development.
Some concrete steps have been taken to find a common understanding to remove the obstacles to trade, and to clarify some of the existing trade rules at the WTO.
In our view, the multilateral system should respond to new global challenges and integrate all countries at different levels of development into a trading system where rights and obligations of every country are respected.
Now, we have another chance to go further in strengthening the trade rules and ensuring better market access for everyone and especially for developing countries.
A comprehensive new round of negotiations with a balanced agenda will be the platform to exchange cross-sectoral trade-offs responding to the different interests and aspirations of the WTO Members.
We believe special and differential treatment for the developing countries without creating any sub-category must be a key component of the future negotiations.
Turkey, calling for a comprehensive agenda, considers that investment and competition issues which have been examined by the relevant working groups are at a level of maturity to be negotiated in a framework mandated by this Conference.
It is essential that countries can participate effectively in negotiations and rule-making process in the WTO and thus utilize the outcomes of the trade liberalization. Capacity-building and technical assistance as an integral part of the negotiations will play an important role in this respect.
We are satisfied with the pace attained in the agricultural negotiations. The experience of developing countries gained in the implementation period of the Agreement on Agriculture unfortunately has fallen short of their needs and interests.
Turkey if of the view that elimination of or substantial reductions in all trade distortive domestic supports and export subsidies by developed countries, could give a real impetus for further market-access commitments.
With regard to services, Turkey welcomes a Ministerial Declaration which underlines the economic growth and development aspects of the mandated negotiations, commenced in January 2000, on trade in services and reiterates the objectives of the GATS stated in its Preamble, Article IV and Article XIX.
Turkey is pleased with the progress that has been made in the negotiations so far and hopes satisfactory as well as balanced results for all Member countries.
Since a new round is expected to address the concerns of developing countries, Turkey is also looking for the restrictions on services which are of export interest to developing countries to be removed, as well as impediments on the implementation of the commitments by developed countries in Mode 4 to be lifted.
Trade facilitation has also become another issue of interest for us and Turkey supports to set a framework in this field.
Being one of the most debated issues of a possible new round, environment is still subject to concerns of most of the Members, especially the developing countries. Those concerns have been mainly focused on restrictive trade policy tools which could be implemented via environmental protection arguments.
We believe, proceeding the discussions on the clarification of the relationship between trade and the environment in the WTO Committee, appears to be a necessity for establishing a sound basis for the further steps to be taken in this field.
Turkey became one of the most liberal economies of the world after the customs union with the European Community in 1996 when it went far beyond its Uruguay commitments in terms of market access. By that, Turkey opened its market to the third countries unilaterally in non-agricultural products. At this stage, I would like to state that, we are not very enthusiastic for further tariff reductions in those goods.
Let me also touch upon TRIPS recognizing that protection of intellectual property is one of the most important factors in providing favourable and competitive trading conditions among countries. Turkey is of the view that, the discriminatory treatment between geographical indications for wines and spirits and those for other products creates an unfair trading environment and extending the protection of geographical indications for other products will be to the benefit of all Members.
Before concluding, I would like to welcome China, Chinese Taipei and the others recently acceded to the WTO family. With their presence, the multilateral trading system becomes stronger than before in promoting economic development and welfare.
by the Honourable Mauel Roxas II
Secretary of Trade and Industry
We are gathered at a moment of historic opportunity. We are convened to consider whether we shall launch a so-called 'Development Round' of negotiations and if so, what principles and parameters will guide us as we negotiate the specifics of this new round.
Proponents again remind us of the benefits that will accrue developing countries if we agree to the issues which make up this new round. Proponents cite the benefits from increased trade; for them, this certainly has been their experience. Ours is different.
While the Philippines subscribes to the theory that liberalized trade has the potential of benefiting those engaged in it, our experience since our implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements shows that there is a wide gap between the promise and reality.
We envisioned then that opening up our markets would spur our own industries to become more efficient and competitive. What ensued however, was much dislocation and businesses closed down.
We envisioned then that market access grated by developed countries would lead to our increased share of world export trade. What ensued however was stagnant growth marked by access to products of marginal export interest to us.
We envisioned then that freer trade would bring in cheaper imported products, thereby resulting in increased consumer welfare. What ensued however, was a populace dependent on imported goods. Indeed, dependence on essential imported goods – such as medicines – that are not only unaffordable for the ordinary consumer, but oftentimes unobtainable too.
We envisioned then that developing countries are better off operating under a comprehensive, and multilateral set of rules rather than under a system where only the powerful decide what the rules are to be. What ensued however was the realization that rights of relevance to developing countries could not be operationalized.
Add to all these, we are hard-pressed by current world economic conditions, the details of which we all already know. Midstream in our restructuring process in the aftermath of the financial crisis, we were caught by these intervening events, leaving us with scarce funds to ease the friction. Thus, presently, we find ourselves in a decidedly hostile environment.
Notwithstanding these trying conditions, the Philippines recognizes the need for a bold and pro-active response. This bold response may indeed lie in the launch of a round – a 'Development Round,' not just a round per se.
However, we should not rush into a round for the sake of merely launching one, that is, solely for the purpose of confidence-building. We should be mindful that we can only succeed if we are all on board. Though we must sustain confidence in the multilateral trading system through a new trade round that opens up opportunities for developed and developing countries alike, the agenda should be broad enough to contain elements beneficial to all WTO Members, but not so broad as to entail commitments which will be too burdensome for developing countries to implement, even while they are continuing to struggle in implementing commitments agreed to during the Uruguay Round.
To ensure that the WTO does not lose credibility at this crucial point in time, our top priority is to ensure that the Doha Round is truly a 'Development Round.' This is our challenge even as we are all pulled in all different directions.
While the preamble in the draft Declaration provides ingredients for a 'Development Round' this must be actualized in the substance of the work programme itself. The nice words and aspirational notions must permeate the provisions contained therein, and not be stand-alone, isolated portions disconnected from the specifics.
By a 'Development Round' we mean, negotiations which provide sufficient safety nets for developing countries. Mechanisms that will help in strengthening production capability, efficiency and product competitiveness must be provided and operationalized. Developed trading partners, together with the WTO and other international institutions, must work together, so as to ensure that this round allows businesses in developing countries to compete rather than be obsolete. Greater coherence and convergence of policies among international development institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO is necessary in order that trade is mainstreamed in the development agenda and therefore, capacity building can be focused and targeted.
In agriculture, this means firm recognition of the objective of taking the reform process to its logical conclusion, that is, the full integration of agriculture into the WTO framework. All forms of export subsidies must be expeditiously eliminated. Not only trade-distorting, but production-distorting domestic support must be substantially reduced, with a view to phasing these out in the shortest possible time. Furthermore, it should be clearly borne in mind by all Members that special and differential treatment is a principle to be applied for the benefit of developing countries, rather than appropriated for their own benefit by some developed countries in the guise of colour-coded boxes.
By a 'Development Round' we mean, negotiations that open up markets in developed countries for products of relevance to us. Moreover, in negotiations on market access for non-agricultural products, this means addressing tariff peaks and escalations and non-tariff barriers which impede effective access of importance to developing countries.
By a 'Development Round' we mean, a clear recognition of the importance of public health concerns and the need to clarify certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in a manner that would ensure that Members have the utmost flexibility in adopting measures to protect public health. Opportunities to leave truly meaningful legacies for the marginalized, such as the proposed declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, are too few and far between. We, in this conference, should not lose our chance.
By a 'Development Round' we mean, full exercise of the right to compete against developed, importing markets' own as well as other Members' products on fair, if not equal terms. Where the implementation of multilateral trade rules and modalities are proved or are perceived to affect developing countries in a manner inconsistent with their overall trade and economic development needs, special and differential treatment must be operationalized or otherwise made available to developing countries.
For the Philippines these, among others, are the components necessary for the launch of a 'Development Round.'
by H.E. Mr Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista
Secretary of Economy
International trade is one of the main catalysts for the global economy. It will play a key role in the rapid return to economic growth so it is important to pursue the process of trade liberalization within the World Trade Organization, ensuring that its benefits are enjoyed by all countries, all regions and all peoples. Enhancing integration among the world’s nations, as promoted by the WTO, will also result in a more secure world for all.
The opening up of trade and Mexico’s participation in the multilateral trading system have made an important contribution to growth in our exports. From 1986, the year in which Mexico acceded to the GATT, to 2000, Mexico’s exports have increased sevenfold, rising from US$22 billion to US$170 billion. The trend in Mexico’s exports is also the result of the 11 free trade agreements that give us privileged access to 32 countries. These agreements complement the multilateral liberalization agreements and are consistent with the rules of the WTO.
The growth in Mexico’s economy in recent years would not have been possible without the increasingly important role played by exports in Mexico’s gross domestic product, which now account for around 30 per cent of GDP. This has led to more and better jobs for Mexicans.
The commercial policy of President Fox’s new Government gives priority to incorporating new production units in the export effort, small and medium enterprises and small field production units. The aim is to extend the benefits of trade to new actors and thus assist Mexico’s economic development.
Likewise, the future of the WTO depends on incorporating developing countries in the multilateral trading system. In order to achieve this, the WTO’s future agenda should pay sufficient attention to the interests of developing countries, facing up to protectionist pressure and refusing to go back on the opening that has been achieved so far.
Mexico reaffirms its commitment to greater liberalization of trade through the launching of a new round of multilateral negotiations. The new round’s agenda should be sufficiently broad to cover the interests of all those participating. This is the only way in which equitable results that are beneficial to all the Members of the WTO can be achieved. The WTO’s future agenda should promote greater market access and the strengthening of trade rules.
For Mexico, the most important issue is to regulate and reduce export subsidies and support that distort trade in agricultural products within the framework of the WTO. Such subsidies cause significant distortions in global markets and have a negative impact on developing countries. Mexico has therefore proposed in the WTO that the granting of market access concessions should depend on significant commitments on subsidies for agricultural products.
It is also important for Mexico that the outcome of the WTO’s Fourth Ministerial Conference should be a strengthened multilateral trading system, not only as a negotiating mechanism to achieve greater market access but also as a forum that continues to defend the rules of international trade and to settle any disputes that arise. In particular, for Mexico it is essential that the new round should lead to a more rational Anti-Dumping Agreement that is less susceptible to abuse, for example, by incorporating economic competition criteria in the application of anti-dumping measures.
Other matters relating to trade rules concern the possible negotiation of investment and competition agreements, which would lead to enhanced flows of investment and fairer competition in international markets. In turn, this would allow countries to obtain more substantial resources to finance their development and counter the anti-competitive practices of third countries. Although the negotiation of disciplines in these sectors is desirable, the concerns of developing countries must be taken into account, including their capacity to negotiate and implement such agreements.
The multilateral trading system has played a vital role in the liberalization of global trade, economic growth and social well-being. Today, in a difficult global economic situation, we have a historic opportunity to give the process a new impetus. President Fox’s Government is committed to this. We support the launching of a new round of negotiations as beneficial for all countries, regions and peoples.
the Honourable Murasoli Maran
Minister of Commerce and Industry
1. I thank you, Mr Chairman, and your Government for hosting this 4th Ministerial Conference and for the excellent arrangements and hospitality.
2. I also welcome the delegations of the Peoples Republic of China and Chinese Taipei in our midst. India has consistently supported the accession of China to WTO and we are happy to see it realized, bringing greater universality to our organization.
3. I am constrained to point out that the draft Ministerial Declaration is neither fair nor just to the view points of many developing countries including my own on certain key issues. It is negation of all that was said by a significant number of developing countries and least-developing countries. We cannot escape the conclusion that it accommodates some view points while ignoring "others". The forwarding letter most surprisingly and shockingly also does not dwell on the substantive differences and focuses more on what are individual assessments. Even after these were reiterated in the strongest possible terms in the General Council on 31 October and 1 November, we recognize that there is a refusal to reflect these points in a substantive manner even in the forwarding letter. The only conclusion that could be drawn is that the developing countries have little say in the agenda setting of the WTO. It appears that the whole process was a mere formality and we are being coerced against our will. Is it not then meaningless for the draft declaration to claim that the needs and interests of the developing countries have been placed at the heart of the Work Programme?
4. After the setback at Seattle, all of us want Doha to be a success. Success, however, does not necessarily require over-reaching objectives or launch of a "comprehensive" round. Also the global unity achieved in the wake of the most unfortunate and tragic event of September 11 should not be undermined by proposing an agenda, which would split the WTO membership. Rather than charting a divisive course in unknown waters, let this Conference provide a strong impetus to the on-going negotiations on agriculture and services, and the various mandated reviews that by themselves form a substantial work programme and have explicit consensus.
5. We cannot be held hostage to unreasonable demands that concessions be made for carrying forward what are already mandated negotiations. Nor can one accept the argument that there is mandate only for commencing certain negotiations and not for completing them. Progressive reform in agriculture now requires elimination of the large-scale domestic support and other trade distorting subsidies and the removal of all unfair barriers facing farm exports of developing countries. At the same time, considering the critical dependence on agriculture by large rural populations in developing countries, we need to adequately provide for their food and livelihood security and for promoting rural development. Similarly, in services, facilitating the movement of professionals, must receive priority attention.
6. WTO has to recognize the existing development deficit in various WTO agreements and take necessary remedial action. WTO has also to recognize that development strategy has to be related to country specific situations. The "one size fits all approach" has clearly failed to deliver.
7. The asymmetries and imbalances in the Uruguay Round agreements, non-realization of anticipated benefits and non-operational and non-binding nature of special and differential provisions have been the basis for implementational issues and concerns raised by a large number of developing countries right from 1998. Expectations rose when the May 2000 decision was adopted by the General Council to find meaningful solutions at the latest by the Fourth Ministerial. The draft decision on implementation related issues and concerns before us have addressed some issues but left many more unresolved. Even among those addressed, the manner of resolution has left many gaps. We must make sincere efforts at this Conference to resolve the outstanding issues or give clear directions on how to deal with them. Notwithstanding our disappointment, we have already indicated in Geneva that we are prepared to join a consensus in favour of adopting the decision proposed as a package. It would be appropriate to take this item first in the Business Session and adopt the decision.
8. In relation to market access, even after all the Uruguay Round concessions have been implemented by industrialized countries, significant trade barriers in the form of tariff peaks and tariff escalation continue to affect many developing country exports. These will clearly need to be squarely addressed. Meanwhile, sensitive industries in developing countries including small scale industries sustaining a large labour force cannot be allowed to be destroyed.
9. New issues or new agreements will obviously extract new prices and developing countries are hardly prepared for the same. This becomes particularly relevant now since negotiations for agreements on several new areas are being proposed even while the study process is on. In the areas of Investment, Competition, Trade Facilitation or Transparency in Government Procurement, basic questions remain even on the need for a multilateral agreement. Most importantly, do the developing countries have the capacity to deal with them? Will we be able to say that they do not impinge strongly on domestic policies that are well removed from trade? Are the basic trade principles like non-discrimination or market access appropriate for dealing with issues like Investment and Competition? Would the Marrakesh remit for WTO which talks only of multilateral trade relations permit these other issues to be covered? We are very doubtful if we can give affirmative replies to all these questions. It is our considered view that we need to carefully study them further before rushing to decisions. In any case, the Singapore Declaration requires an explicit consensus for any decision to move to negotiations. Let us therefore wait till an explicit consensus emerges on these issues.
10. We firmly oppose any linkage between trade and labour standards. The Singapore Declaration had once and for all dealt with this issue and there is no need to refer to it again. Similarly, on environment we are strongly opposed to the use of environmental measures for protectionist purposes and to imposition of unilateral trade restrictive measures. We are convinced that the existing WTO rules are adequate to deal with all legitimate environmental concerns. We should firmly resist negotiations in this area which are not desirable, now or later. We consider them as Trojan horses of protectionism.
11. The Uruguay Round Agreement on TRIPS has invited strong reactions from developing country stakeholders. It is important that negotiations are held for extending geographical indications to products other than wines and spirits which are important to many countries. There should also be no misappropriation of the biological and genetic resources and traditional knowledge of the developing countries.
12. Availability and affordability of essential medicines is a universal human right. WTO should not deny that right. This Conference must send out a clear message to the world that nothing in the TRIPS Agreement shall prevent governments from taking measures to protect public health. Accordingly, the TRIPS Agreement must be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO Members' right to protect public health and ensure access to medicines for all.
13. In conclusion, we are of the view that the issues which are not yet ripe must remain with the working groups for further study. India, including many other developing countries, are not ready to accept a new set of onerous commitments. The road map already charted by the Uruguay Round Agreements should be the future work programme and this crucial Ministerial Conference should provide negotiating mandate for resolving outstanding implementation issues and clear guidance on mandated negotiations and reviews. WTO is for multilateral trading system only. It should not encompass the responsibility for rule making of non-trade-related subjects. Globalization and liberalization have to be addressed at various fora and not in WTO alone. WTO is not a global government and should not attempt to appropriate to itself what legitimately falls in the domain of national governments and Parliaments. WTO's core competence is in international trade and we would strongly urge that it stays that way. Then only we can save and strengthen the multilateral trading system.
14. Mr Chairman, I am confident that you in your capacity as the Chairman of this Ministerial Conference is fully aware of the expectation, aspirations and concerns of developing countries on all the issues. I am absolutely sure that your experience, wisdom and commitment will enable all of us to find collective solutions to difficult issues in such a way that the final declaration really keeps the needs and interests of developing countries as the central theme of all future WTO activities.