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Verklaring South Centre over mislukking WTO-top (30 juli)

Verklaring van het South Centre (gezamenlijk analyse instituut van ontwikkelingslanden) over de mislukking van de WTO-top (30 juli)

4 min leestijd
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"Doha Collapse because of Failure to
Deliver Development"

South Centre Commentary on Collapse of
Doha Talks 30 July 2008

"Het South Centre is een
intergouvernmentele organisatie van ontwikkelingslanden die analyses
verstrekt mbt. Ontwikkelingsproblemen, alsook beleidssteun tbv.
collectieve en individuele actie in de internationale arena.“
Meer analyses en nieuws van het South
Centre over de Mini-Ministerialvan de WTO:

The collapse of the Doha talks
illustrated a clear lack of political will on the part of the
developed countries to deliver on development.
From the start, the developed countries were hearing but not actually listening to the development
concerns the majority in the WTO have been voicing. This continued through the past week until
it became untenable to bridge the differences.

Developed countries have wanted the
Doha Round in order to increase their market access opportunities. For developing
countries, putting a limit on developed countries’ agricultural subsidies which are essentially
indirect export subsidies, and a package which provides sufficient cushion for their small farmers against
the distortions in world agricultural trade, were critical. The developed countries failed to deliver
on both those issues, whilst asking developing countries to make major market openings in the area
of industrial products, possibly jeopardizing their future prospects for industrialization.

The result this week, however,
represents a victory for developing countries. Even if the developed countries were not hearing well,
developing countries did not let their development issues slip off the table. This has only been possible
due to the strong developing country coalitions that have been built up. It is also a sea change
from the time of the Uruguay Round. Hence, when the proposal on the agricultural safeguard
emerged, which would have made it ineffective, over a hundred developing countries came
together and put forward alternative numbers that would have addressed their concerns more

The multilateral trading system by way
of the WTO is alive and functioning. However, if the institution is to serve developing
countries well, it will have to rethink its exclusive obsession with trade liberalization and the opening up
of markets. Instead, it needs to allow for and manage diversity so that the majority of its
members are encouraged rather than restrained from pursing a dynamic development path.

Exclusive processes of negotiations are
also outmoded. The talks at this mini-Ministerial were nearly stalled at an even earlier stage
because excluded Ministers were deeply disaffected. Vague rules of procedure, secretive green
room and mini-green room configurations, where the majority are simply decision-takers, not
decision-makers, cannot breed confidence. A more transparent process, perhaps according to the UN
style of negotiating texts is more in line with openness, transparency and democracy.

According to Yash Tandon, Executive
Director of the South Centre, “These negotiations have been flawed in terms of both process
and substance. The green room process is exclusive and undemocratic. In substance, the talks
provided reverse preferences to the countries that are already developed and industrialised. As long
as the development component of the Doha Round does not become its central concern and focus,
it will continue to fail. Trade is not an end; it is a means to development. If the WTO continues to
remain a neoliberal institution promoting trade liberalisation for its own sake, it
stands to lose credibility and legitimacy. The WTO must reform itself to become a development agency
and put trade to the service of development.”