Maastricht Chronicles

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Notes on UNCTAD 2003 

UNCTAD 2003: "Trade Negotiation Issues in the Cotonou Agreement: Agriculture and Economic Partnership Agreements."

Main question: What should Africa's negotiating stance be in the Doha Round?

1-African countries often lack the "ability to recognize and argue effectively against proposals that are not in their interests and the capacity to articulate and defend alternative and more acceptable proposals." p. 4, (thus, need for tech. assistance to train negotiators.)

2-Development lacuna in Uruguay Round Agreements
e.g. single undertaking, watering down of SD&T

3-Implementation costs
-institutional crowding out
-$150 million compliance price tag as much as typical yearly dev. budget in Africa
-Past promises of technical assistance didn't pan out.

4-P. 6: "Two key elements of a development dimension that one might, therefore, look for in the WTO Agreements would be provisions for dev-oriented institutional capacity building and provisions for enhancing the supply capacity of the LDCs and DCs. This derives from the widely accepted observation that the major obstacle to increased trade and growth in the low-income countries is the inadequate response of domestic producers to market access opportunities abroad."

"The policy-autonomy component of the SDT provisions were under sustained attack during the UR"

Developed country promises on SDT often couched in "best endeavour" language, wishy-washy and unenforceable.

Pre-UR trading system was more dev. friendly than post-UR version.

Sec. B African proposals

Page 7: list of meetings where these ideas were developed.

3 Main Areas of proposals

1-Better market access
2-Development issues are to be tackled "decisively." i.e. Supply side measures.
3-Negotiation and dec. making process need transparency.

also - Taming TRIPs, investment and TRIMs (especially local content requirements)

p. 10: making SPS agreements contingent on contractually binding technical assistance.
On Subsidies and Counterveiling measures: make subsidies for development, diversification and industrial upgrading non actionable.

On decision-making system: Open up the "Green Room"

On Agriculture, 2 main points:
1-Get rich countries to implement commitments they've made already (Marrakesh)
2-Get extra concessions (such as ammending the green box to make it more development friendly)

SDT (p. 11) - Gutted during the Uruguay Round
Mostly it's down to longer implementation times and a Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)
BUT - GSP is unilateral, unstable, and a shaky grounds for development.

Then: Need for Capacity Building for the African delegations in Geneva. "Very intensive training needed"

Sec. C: Agriculture

Get rid of or reduce the PROTECTION, DOMESTIC SUPPORT and EXPORT SUBSIDIES offered now by rich countries.

-> Watch the Green Box like a hawk.

Bring down tariff peaks on key products...like food staples, fruit and vegetables and processed food.

BUT the Green Box has a bunch of NIS-friendly aspects that should be protected (e.g. general services to agriculture like research and extension, pest and disease control)...also crop insurance, income insurance, etc.

Idea: Development Box (p. 18) - a kind of SDT box with a number of Green-Box-like goodies, plus others, available only to LDCs and DCs.

Then GATS discussion

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