Update on the Trade Negotiating Agenda for the
Prepared by ITED, the dti,
· On 17 July 2007, the Chairs of the negotiating groups on Agriculture and Non Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) submitted “compromise texts” which they judge to be the basis for concluding the current phase of negotiating modalities for agriculture and NAMA.
This follows failure of the G4 negotiations between the EU,
In shifting focus to the multilateral process at the WTO in
The agriculture text, in large measure, accommodates all the
positions and sensitivities of the major players. The range proposed for limits
in domestic support runs between US$13-16.5 billion, accommodates the
By contrast, the NAMA text proposes a tight range of coefficients
for developing countries - between 19 and 23. This goes below the bottom line
of many NAMA 11 country members (including
· Our assessment of the draft modalities text was that the Chair’s NAMA text suffers from some basic flaws that will need to be addressed:
Ø First, the draft text prejudges the outcome of the NAMA negotiations before members have had an opportunity to negotiate these outcomes in the multilateral process. This is in sharp contrast with the agriculture draft text where members positions are substantially preserved allowing them significant scope to negotiate further;
Ø Second, the draft text changes what has become the principle of the Doha Round, that Agriculture should lead the ambition of the Doha Round, with the Developed countries making the greatest reforms in their trade distorting policies. Instead the draft text makes developing countries pay first in the NAMA negotiations and requires them to make severe cuts in their industrial tariffs;
Ø Third, the draft text seeks to re-interpret the mandates of the Doha round, that has called for less than full reciprocity in reduction commitments by developing countries, by asking developing countries to contribute disproportionately, compared to the contributions requested from developed countries;
Ø Fourth, whilst we agree with the chair’s assertion that all must contribute, the draft text has called for contributions by developing countries that is not consistent with their development needs and levels of development;
Ø Fifth, the draft text has
also undermined an agreement reached at the
Ø Sixth, the draft text makes loose claims about reflecting the majority view when this is clearly not the case;
The above flaws in the draft text must be corrected to
secure a fair, balanced and development-oriented outcome in the
· In short, the texts, taken together, have established an unbalanced negotiating process against developing countries in NAMA.
There have been indications that
· The NAMA text also compromises the negotiating positions of the Africa Group, ACP, and small, vulnerable economies (SVEs). For countries that have low binding levels, the text proposes binding level of 90 percent of tariff lines from their preferred 70 percent. For SVEs, the text has called for them to bind their tariffs at 14, 18 and 22 percent, increasing the burden of reduction that they envisaged.
Other WTO negotiating Areas
· While technical progress has been registered in other areas (Services, Rules, Environment, Trade Facilitation and TRIPs), there can be no agreement until the Agriculture and NAMA modalities are concluded. Ambition on NAMA and agriculture will determine ambition in the other areas.
Proposed Way Forward
The NAMA 11, including
· Given the widespread view that the NAMA text has prejudiced the interests of most, if not all, developing countries, a common G90 statement was issued that brought together the views of the NAMA 11, SVEs, LDCs, the Africa Group, the ACP and the G20, highlighting the imbalance in the NAMA text.
The negotiations are at a critical stage, and
Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations
· With regards aligning the mid-term review of the TDCA and the SADC-EU EPA Negotiations, the third round is scheduled to take place at the end of August/beginning of September. Before the round SACU, will submit its response to the EC's offer and list of offensive interests. At the same time, SACU will communicate its additional offensive interests.
The key issue of contention has related to the EC
insistence on including new generation issues in the negotiations. While some
SADC EPA Members appear to be more open to considering how to address services,
SACU-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement
The two sides have not met since August 2006.
The main outstanding issues are requests by Mercosur
for improved market access for
The aim of such an Agreement is to provide a legal
framework and mechanism for deepening cooperative trade and investment relations
between SACU and the
· It is planned to conclude the framework before the end of the year.
The intention on SACU’s
side this year is to consolidate the findings of the various studies that have
been undertaken and to begin to construct an approach to advancing the