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Doha Agenda hailed as best of Initiatives

The Doha Development Agenda (DDA) launched in 2001 is the most comprehensive and ambitious round of trade negotiations ever attempted, Valentine Rugwabiza, Deputy Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO), told reporters here yesterday.

"Firstly, it invigorates and extends the negotiations for liberalising access to markets in agriculture and in industrial goods and services. In each of these areas there remains serious impediments to trade, competition and economic efficiency," she said at the end of the two-day OECD Policy Dialogue on aid.

"Equally important, we are looking to improve and strengthen the rules of the system — the architecture of international commerce to rebalance them and make them more development friendly."
The Doha mandate, she said, also led into new practical areas such as facilitating the flow of trade, by reducing and simplifying formalities and procedures for the business community.

Rugwabiza noted that for the first time ever, development objectives were placed at the heart of the round, pointing out that the overriding objective of the negotiations was to ensure that trade functions as a tool for development.
She said that what was on the table today in areas such as agriculture, industrial goods and services, represented already two to three times what was agreed during the Uruguay Round.
Members agreed to eliminate agriculture export subsidies by 2013 with a bigger part of it by 2010, she said, adding that the methodology that was agreed on to reduce industrial tariffs would tear down tariff escalation and tariff peaks, eliminating all tariffs and quotas for at least 97 per cent of all least developed countries' exports.

"What is all the more important is that the proposals on the table present a unique opportunity for poor countries to trade their way out of poverty. These promises which were on the table in July are now put on hold."
She said that the WTO General Council decided to suspend negotiations to allow a period of time out for ministers to consider how they could contribute to breaking the remaining obstacles in the negotiations in agricultural subsidies and agricultural market access.

In the current deadlock, she said, the main actors were the US on domestic subsidies, the EU on agricultural tariffs and emerging economies like India on market access also.

However, she noted that there have been numerous calls for a resumption of the negotiations and that there is clearly a high level of political support for the round. "We need more than ever the revival of the Doha spirit — common approach spirit between all members — to return and put the negotiations back on track," she added.
The Peninsula - 08/11/2006


Blogger bizzwhizz said...

very encouraging to read that merit and hardwork is being welcomed and fair playin grounds would be set

11:24 PM  

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