TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Oct17/13)
19 October 2017
Third World Network

No outcomes possible at MC11, unilateralist USA insists
Published in SUNS #8553 dated 16 October 2017

Geneva, 13 Oct (D. Ravi Kanth) - The United States, which sent a low-level delegation to the Marrakesh meeting, continued to maintain its unilateral position that no outcomes are possible at the World Trade Organization's eleventh ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires beginning on 10 December, participants told SUNS.

The US told the trade ministers from developing countries, particularly India, China, and South Africa among others, that the Doha negotiations were terminated at Nairobi.

Members must come to terms with the fracture of the Doha negotiations, the US maintained.

However, trade ministers from India, South Africa, China, and other members said the Doha work program remains as the basis for further work at Buenos Aires and afterwards, participants said.

The US made a brief statement on the first day of the Marrakesh meeting on 9 October saying that members remain divided on fisheries subsidies, agriculture, and electronic commerce.

The US said no negotiated outcomes are possible at the Buenos Aires meeting. The US remained silent on the permanent solution for public stockholding programs for food security.

However, it insisted that members must agree on a fundamental reform program for "reinvigorating" the WTO.

The US made the following five points for "reinvigorating" the WTO:

A. Members must address issues concerning improvements in notifications and transparency provisions in various agreements at the WTO.

B. Members must commence work on the interaction between trade and development.

Without mentioning "differentiation"/"graduation" for availing special and differential flexibilities, the US indicated that a reform of S&DT provisions must start after the Buenos Aires meeting.

C. Members must begin work to improve the structure of WTO bodies for addressing issues such as overcapacity and market access in various sectors.

On this, the US is undoubtedly targeting China for the so-called overcapacity issues.

D. The US called for reforming the functioning of the Dispute Settlement Body, particularly on issues concerning what it called the overreach of the Appellate Body.

E. Members must address issues concerning the state-trading enterprises, including medium enterprises.

Despite its continued disengagement in most of the bodies - except where it had rejected further work such as in the Doha rules negotiations and in the negotiating body on trade and development for improving the special and differential flexibilities - the US claimed at Marrakesh that it remained engaged in all areas of negotiations.