2. News on the process (Part 2)

Clinton urged to soften US stand on TRIPS in WTO (S.Singh/SUNS)
More than a 100 non-governmental representatives from over 47 countries and several international organizations have urged President Clinton to ensure 'coherence' between the World Trade Organization (WTO), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In their joint letter, they say that the WTO must recognize that other international laws and undertakings must be respected and that this recognition should be explicit. (18 Nov 99)

Search for a millennium miracle (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Short of a miracle, Ministers of the WTO, when they meet at Seattle on 30 November, may be faced with the task of "negotiating" on almost every issue that may figure in their final document. This was the sombre assessment of several trade diplomats from the developing world who said that no compromise seemed feasible on the two critical issues of "implementation" and the Marrakech mandate for further negotiations on agriculture. (17 Nov 99)

WTO's 'invisible government' needs democratic overhaul (Abid Aslam)
With less than two weeks remaining before the Seattle talks, many NGOs - and a growing number of national delegations, mainly from developing countries - highlight the need for a democratic overhaul of the way the WTO does business. According to a new report from the non-governmental organization, International Forum on Globalisation, the WTO has become an 'invisible government'. (17 Nov 99)

Opposition to transparency in procurement accord at Seattle (Martin Khor/TWN)
An attempt by the US and the EC to get endorsement before the WTO Seattle Conference for their separate proposed agreements on transparency in government procurement met with strong resistance from many developing countries at the WTO. The US and EC each presented a proposed text of an agreement at an informal meeting of the Working Group on Transparency in Government Procurement, with the US wanting to have an Agreement signed at Seattle itself.  Both the proposals were met with a negative response. (15 Nov 99)

The 'green room' ghost comes alive (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
More criticism of the secretive and non-transparent, "Green Room" consultation processes of negotiations among a small group of countries, in the preparations of the Seattle meeting were again voiced at an informal heads of delegations (HOD) meeting. The informal HOD saw a wider swathe of developing countries voicing their discontent over the lack of any progress on the "implementation issues" and the negative position of the two majors, the US and the EC, on some key demands of developing countries.(15 Nov 99)

15 days to Seattle and differences on every question (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
With just 15 days to go for the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the WTO at Seattle, there is not one issue or action that Ministers have to decide (one way or another) on which members are agreed. There are substantial differences on almost every subject proposed for inclusion on the agenda of a new round or future work programme, and even whether there will be a round at all. The General Council chairman has set a new deadline as, "early in the week of 22 November" to transmit the results of the work at Geneva to the Seattle Ministers.(15 Nov 99)

A 'Development Round' to bury development? (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The proposals from a range of developing countries, under the rubric of "implementation issues" and seeking to redress the imbalances of the Uruguay Round and ensure some benefits to the developing countries appear to have been effectively turned down by the US and the European Community.With just 17 days before the WTO delegations assemble at Seattle for the Ministerial meeting, there has been little progress on producing a cleaned-up draft text.(12 Nov 99)

The gospel, according to Mike Moore (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Mr. Mike Moore, went to Rome on 11 November to address an Italian national meeting on the Millennium Round and gave "three core messages" to critics of the WTO and its system.(11 Nov 99)

Seattle, agriculture and 'single-undertaking' (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
There are signs that the US and the EU may be near a deal on the mandate for agricultural negotiations, according to trade diplomats. Meanwhile, the Like-Minded Group (LMG) of developing countries met with Moore, both to complain that the implementation issues raised by them were not getting any positive responses from the majors, and that Moore himself has held only one 'green room' consultation on this - where the US and the EC, in effect, turned down the LMG proposals.(10 Nov 99)

EC labour standards move trashed (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
An European Community move to get the trade-labour link issue on to the Seattle WTO agenda was shot down by developing countries at the informal heads of delegation meeting (HOD) preparing for Seattle. Meanwhile, 'green room' consultations on resolving the deadlock over the mandate for further agriculture talks have not made any progress and  talks are also continuing in parallel on the other issue of blockage, the questions relating to implementation. (8 Nov 99)

WTO biotech working party opposed by majority (Martin Khor/TWN)
A proposal to establish a new working party on biotechnology through the Seattle Ministerial Meeting has been rejected by the vast majority of countries during the informal heads-of-delegation (HOD) meeting at the WTO on 6 November. Many developing countries on the other hand supported other proposals to set up three working groups on trade and finance, transfer of technology and trade and debt. (7 Nov 99)

DG has hijacked the Seattle process, say diplomats (Martin Khor/TWN)
A groundswell of concern and unhappiness by many developing countries over the lack of their participation in the WTO preparatory process for the Seattle Ministerial and its increasingly non-transparent nature has built up and spilled over into the informal heads-of-delegation (HOD) meeting on 6 Nov. Diplomats of many delegations, especially of smaller countries, are now openly and vocally airing their grievances over their not being informed about or invited to the "Green Room" meetings that have proliferated at this late stage of the negotiations towards Seattle. (8 Nov 99)

Developing countries' no to expanded WTO coherence role (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Developing countries opposed on 5 November, proposals in a draft Ministerial declaration for Seattle that would expand, beyond what is envisaged in the Marrakech Ministerial Declaration of 1994, the relationships between the IMF, World Bank and the WTO under the rubric of "coherence". (5 Nov 99)

Moore "reports" on "green room", acknowledges deadlock (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The WTO Director-General, Mr.Mike Moore in a letter to the Chairman of the General Council on the state of play in his 'green room' consultations said no balanced package for Seattle was possible without solutions to the set of issues under "implementation" and on agriculture. Moore's letter to the Chairman has come after criticism at the General Council on 4 November about these consultations and lack of transparency and information.(5 Nov 99)

Repeating history on agriculture, "green room" process? (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The agriculture issue and what should be the mandate for further negotiations in a new round is holding up even consideration of other parts of a draft ministerial declaration for Seattle. Interestingly, the kind of problems faced on agriculture and other issues, including the "single-undertaking" concept, appear to be a replay of what took place before Punta del Este. (5 Nov 99)

Moore wants "social policies" (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The WTO Director-General Mike Moore suggested that the Seattle agenda should go beyond trade liberalization, and that liberalization needs to be accompanied by "appropriate social policies". He also advocated decisions at Seattle to move to agreements on transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation. He was however, promptly assailed by a developing country member.(3 Nov 99)

Agriculture, implementation prove tough (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
After some prolonged 'green room' consultations, trade negotiators still seemed far apart on two crucial issues for Seattle: the implementation issues and the framework for further negotiations on agriculture.(3 Nov 99)

HOD debates TRIPS issues (Martin Khor/TWN)
Discussions at the informal Heads of Delegation level on a draft Ministerial Declaration for Seattle, which addressed the issues relating to TRIPS, showed some clear difference of views on how to deal with future work in this area.(2 Nov 99)

Subsidies used by North to lapse end 1999? (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Some provisions of the Subsidies Agreement that have benefited the developed countries will lapse at the end of this year, unless a formal positive decision is taken after Seattle by the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing measures.And the possibility of such an extension after Seattle may in turn depend on one of the decisions on 'implementation' issues sought by developing countries. (1 Nov 99)

Implementation issues as important as agriculture (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
With the WTO Seattle meet looming, the major industrialized countries are now beginning to realise that an issue that they hoped to once again side-track is not going away:  issues of implementation and correcting the imbalances against the developing world of the Uruguay Round agreements. A number of developing countries have said that the implementation issues were as important to them as the built-in agenda issues, like agriculture, for Seattle.(30 Oct 99)

US proposes WTO working group on trade and labour (Martin Khor/TWN)
The US has proposed that the WTO establish a Working Group on Trade and Labour to deal with six issues and to produce a report in two years. It is a controversial move, certain to generate greater tension and division as WTO Members struggle to make progress on an already overloaded agenda for the Seattle Ministerial meeting. The issues to be discussed include, but go far beyond "core labour standards" that had been earlier proposed, and rejected, as an issue for the WTO in its 1996 Singapore Ministerial. (1 Nov 99)

"Singapore issues" face more opposition (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Consideration of the four "Singapore issues" (trade and investment, trade and competition, transparency in government procurement, and trade facilitation) at an informal Heads of Delegation (HOD) meeting on 29 Oct 99 brought out that a larger number of countries are opposed to these issues being slotted into subjects for negotiations in the 'next round', and the divisions are so sharp and basic, that 'consensus' cannot be reached. (29 Oct 99)

The return of the "Green Room"  (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The preparatory process of drafting a Ministerial Declaration for Seattle resumed at the WTO on 27 Oct 99, with an informal heads of delegation meeting on various parts of the 32-page revised draft text. Along with the HOD process, WTO Director-General Mike Moore (who announced soon after taking over that he was going to ensure transparency), has resumed the abandoned practice of "Green Room" consultations among a smaller group of countries, invited by him. (28 Oct 99)

Going round in circles about a new round? (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The above article is an overview and a report of the press conference at the end of the Ministerial meeting in Lausanne, to discuss the WTO negotiations and attended by about 25 countries. The meeting ended with key protagonists as far apart as before, and the WTO being no nearer a solution on a draft declaration for Seattle. (26 Oct 99)

Key developing countries insist on implementation (Martin Khor/TWN)
This article reports on the interventions by the Ministers of India, Egypt and Brazil at the Lausanne meeting. India and Egypt have insisted that the Seattle WTO meet deal adequately with correcting the present imbalances in the WTO agreements and in their implementation, and not to take up new issues that are not related to trade or the trading system. ( 26 Oct 99)

Biotech proposals for Seattle undermine biosafety (Martin Khor/TWN)
Recent proposals in the WTO by some developed countries to establish special disciplines or a working group for biotechnology products could seriously undermine developing countries' efforts to ensure safety in the trade in genetically-modified organisms and products. ( 26 Oct 99 )

US, Canada, Japan attempt to use WTO to dilute/block biosafety measures (TWN) See also CIEL Discussion Paper
As part of the WTO's process for preparing for Seattle, Canada and Japan have put forward proposals that the Ministers at Seattle decide to set up a new working group in the WTO to deal with GMOs and biotechnology. Canada proposes a "working party on biotechnology", and Japan calls it "examination group for new issues including GMOs". Meanwhile, the US,  in the context of future agriculture negotiations, has proposed to address WTO disciplines "to ensure trade in agricultural biotechnology products is based on transparent, predictable and timely processes." The CIEL paper points out that the aim of these proposals is to further constrain the ability of importing countries to regulate GMO products. (21 Oct 99)

New initiatives on investment at WTO (B.L.Das)
The WTO, in its current preparatory process for the Seattle Ministerial meeting appears to be considering the manner in which the investment issue should be handled in Seattle. The EC, being the main proponent of the investment issue, placed a proposal on this subject in the beginning of July (circulated as a WTO paper on 9 July 1999). An analysis of the positive elements (where it has tried to accommodate some concerns of the developing countries ) and the dangers to developing countries, of its proposal is provided here.(22 Oct 99)

Revised draft WTO Ministerial text (19 Oct 99)
The following is the revised draft of the WTO's "Ministerial Text" (which will form the Ministerial Declaration at Seattle). It is dated 19 October. It has the official document number JOB(99)/5868/Rev.1.

Discussions on Ministerial Draft for Seattle (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The General Council of the WTO, at informal Heads of Delegation (HOD) level, began on 21 Oct 99, a new round of discussions on a draft Ministerial Declaration for Seattle, starting with agriculture, and based on the new 32-page revised draft from the Chairman, Amb. Ali Mchumo of Tanzania. After two  previous meetings, followed by consultations among a smaller group of delegations, the membership seemed to remain in at least a 3-way split on what Ministers could specify as a negotiating agenda for the agriculture negotiations to be kicked off at Seattle. (22 Oct 99)

Chairman's new revised draft text for Seattle (C.Raghavan/SUNS) (20 Oct 99)

WTO members awaiting new draft text for Seattle (C.Raghavan/SUNS) (17 Oct 99)

Wider gaps show up in HOD discussions on draft text (C.R/SUNS)(15 Oct 99)

ITCB implementation proposals for Seattle (C.Raghavan/SUNS)(12 Oct 99)

Investment, competition not ripe for negotiations, says US (C.R/SUNS)(14 Oct 99)

Pouring oil on choppy seas? (C.Raghavan/SUNS)(12 Oct 99)

Click here for the Addendum

Heading into wild weather for Seattle? (C.Raghavan/SUNS)(11 Oct 99)

Old GATT precedents run against WTO treaty (C.Raghavan/SUNS)(11 Oct 99)

Dead-on arrival draft declaration text? (C.Raghavan/SUNS)(8 Oct 99)

Proposals for implementation action by 1 January 2001 (C.R/SUNS)
A group of developing countries have put forward as implementation issues to be addressed by 1 January 2001 proposals on the agreements on anti-dumping, subsidies, SPS measures, the TBT, TRIMs, TRIPS and Customs valuation agreements. Other proposals on these and other agreements, seeking decisions at Seattle have also been put forward by the same group of countries.(5 Oct 99)

Changes sought in TRIPS, some now, others by end 2000 (C.R/SUNS)
The like-minded group (LMG) of developing countries at the WTO have put forward proposals for changes in the TRIPS agreement to operationalise its technology transfer provisions and make Art 27.3 compatible with the Convention on Biodiversity. The group put forward two sets of proposals: one on implementation issues of existing agreements to be addressed and resolved before or at Seattle, and a second on the implementation issues to be addressed and resolved by 1 Jan 2001.(5 Oct 99)

LMG proposals for implementation decisions at Seattle (C.R/SUNS)
A group of like-minded developing countries (LMG) consisting of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Indonesia,Malaysia, Pakistan and Uganda have outlined proposals on implementation issues to be addressed before or at Seattle.(4 Oct 99)

Time-bound priority action on implementation issues (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Developing-country members, for whom implementation issues have long been a main concern, are expounding their views and suggestions on the implementation aspects of a host of existing WTO agreements. Among others, a like-minded group of developing countries has tabled two sets of proposals on implementation issues - one to be addressed before or at the Seattle Ministerial, and the other to be tackled in the first year of negotiations. (4 Oct 99)

Comprehensive review of GATT Article XVII sought (C.Raghavan/SUNS) 4Oct99

Sharp divisions on new issues (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The informal discussions in the informal heads of delegations meeting of the General Council on investment, competition policy and transparency in government procurement, as new issues to be included in negotiations to be launched at Seattle show a fairly sharp division of opinion between proponents and opponents on each of these, and with a broad hybrid group of countries who have an 'yes, but...' view.(30 Sep 99)

Industrial tariff issue runs into opposition (C.Raghavan/SUNS)(29 Sep 99)

Wide gap on agriculture for Seattle draft (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Considerable divisions, as a trade official put it, in approach, framework and content was evident in the informal General Council discussions on mandated negotiations in agriculture, and the way this is to be included in a Ministerial draft Declaration for Seattle.(29 Sep 99)

To tackle or not to tackle implementation at Seattle (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The attempts of major industrial nations to launch new negotiations for new commitments by developing countries at Seattle, without first addressing substantively the implementation problems raised by developing world, was criticised at an informal General Council meeting.(28 Sep 99)

Developing countries for implementation at the center (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Discussions at the General Council in the week of 27 September 1999 saw WTO members putting forth their respective views on various elements of a draft Seattle Ministerial Declaration. Differences were evident in many areas as members considered in turn such issues as implementation, agriculture, industrial tariffs, investment and competition policy. (27 Sep 99)

How (and who) to draft a draft Declaration? (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Differing views on content, approach and procedure have emerged as trade negotiators apply themselves to the task of drafting the declaration to be adopted at the Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference. (24 Sep 99)

South must re-examine trade, investment liberalization (M. Khor/TWN)(16 Sep 99)

The Empire Strikes Back (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Further work on the basis of the General Council Chairman's draft outline, which some claim is structurally defective, could ensnare developing countries in "foggy" multilateral trade negotiations in which implementation problems are once again sidelined.(17 Sep 99)

Seattle provides opportunities for developing nations (Gumisai Mutume)(25 Aug 99)

New round must examine human rights implications(S. Singh/SUNS)(30 Aug 99)

More steam-rolling of South at Seattle?(C.Raghavan/SUNS)
The proposals submitted in the preparatory process for the Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference reveal a broad gap between developed- and developing-country positions, with the former pushing for more market openings by the South and the latter focusing on implementation issues. (30 Jul 99)

WTO hijacked by corporations, South countries the victims(M.Khor/TWN)
The question of who dictates the multilateral trade negotiating agenda generated much discussion at a New York seminar on the new WTO round. As narrow commercial interests assume a greater part in influencing the direction of trade talks, developing countries will have to contend with asymmetrical liberalization, the onus for which has fallen largely on the South.(29 Jul 99)

EC for "fresh start" on investment rules in WTO(C. Raghavan/SUNS)
The EC has proposed a multilateral framework of rules on investment at the WTO even as moves are afoot within the IMF to seek capital account convertibility. The claimed benefits of foreign direct investment on which this push for investment liberalization rests have, however, been called into question by several recent studies and reports which suggest FDI may not be as growth-inducing and stable as mainstream consensus would have it.(27 Jul 99)

Seattle sucess depends on new round, comprehensive agenda(C. Raghavan/SUNS)(28 Jul 99)

Experts caution against wrong issues in new round(Martin Khor/TWN)
A new round of multilateral trade negotiations is not the appropriate platform to discuss new, non-trade issues. In putting forward this view, the chief organizer of a seminar on the new WTO round warned that such a move could take the trade organization down the wrong road and might be adverse to developing-country interests.(24 Jul 99)

General Council sets informals on Seattle proposals (C.Raghavan/SUNS)(8 Jul 99)

North should open its own markets in New Round (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
Differences of view were in evidence as the top brass of international economic organizations gathered at the UN Economic and Social Council. While the IMF head spoke of prospects for global stability, the UNCTAD Secretary-General painted a grim picture of mass unemployment and growing inequality confronting the world economy.(5 Jul 99)

Challenges for developing countries in new WTO Round (Someshwar Singh/SUNS)(24 Jun 99)

Seattle to face implementation proposals (C.Raghavan/SUNS)(23 Jun 99)

Millennium round a minefield for developing nations (Johanna Son)(29 Mar 99)

Call for a "Development Round" (C. Raghavan/SUNS)(2 Mar 99)

The "second stage" towards Seattle  (C. Raghavan/SUNS)(25 Feb 99)

US, EC set out issues for next round on table (C. Raghavan/SUNS)(25 Feb 99)

New round with new issues will increase marginalization (C. R/SUNS)(9 Dec 98)

Beginning the long haul to a new round? (C. Raghavan/SUNS)(Dec 98)

North-South divide at WTO General Council meeting (C. R/SUNS)(24 Sep 98)

EC pushes comprehensive agenda, millenium round (C. R/SUNS)(24 Sep 98)