Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Jun18/05)
4 June 2018
Third World Network
South stresses development as central priority for resilience in
Published in SUNS #8693 dated 4 June 2018
Paris, 1 Jun (D. Ravi Kanth) - Major developing countries - China,
India, and South Africa - said on Thursday that the development dimension
in the global trading system, particularly at the WTO, remains their
central priority for building resilience, trade ministers told SUNS.
Speaking at an informal trade ministerial summit on the margins of
the annual OECD ministerial meeting, China said the special and differential
flexibilities (S&DT) is essential for its development, and it
will oppose attempts to dilute S&DT flexibilities.
The United States along with several other industrialized countries
spoke about derogations by two-thirds of members from the WTO commitments
due to S&DT flexibilities.
Trade, according to India's trade minister Suresh Prabhu, "must
contribute to development."
Given the chequered background to India's economic development - impressive
achievement in some sectors but compelling changes in many others,
India has not been able to integrate into the global trading system
like many other countries, India's trade minister said.
"Any endeavour at the WTO for reciprocal trade rules, which ignores
the reality, will further deepen the divide and aggravate the disenchantment
with globalization," the Indian commerce minister warned.
"Special and differential treatment provisions for all developing
countries without exception, are an integral part of the WTO Agreement
and this principle must be protected in all future agreements as well,"
the Indian commerce minister emphasized.
Without naming the US and other developed countries that are calling
for "differentiation" to deny S&DT treatment to major
developing countries, India said "approaches based on selection,
such as the "case-by-case" approach to granting special
and differential treatment to developing countries must be avoided."
On behalf of South Africa's trade minister Rob Davies, South Africa's
trade envoy Ambassador Xavier Carim cautioned that the fourth cornerstone
of the WTO - the special and differential treatment - is also under
"Recent proposals to narrow its scope, irrespective of objective
difference s in levels of economic development between developed and
developing countries will only compound our negotiating difficulties,"
South Africa said.
South Africa, which is coordinating the African Group, said "the
core posit ions of the African Group are built on the developmental
objectives embedded in the Doha mandate."
The African Group, according to South Africa, seeks "meaningful
outcomes in agriculture, on domestic support, cotton, public stockholding,
SSM [special safeguard mechanism] as well as fisheries subsidies."
But major industrialized countries - the US, the EU, Japan, and several
others - said that differentiation among developing countries remains
a top priority for providing special and differential flexibilities.