Tuesday, July 25, 2006

WTO Membership Suspended Indefinitely

A decision has been made at the WTO to indefinitely suspend the WTO's DOHA negotiations across the board after the breakdown of the meeting of G6 Ministers that took place on Sunday and Monday.

The suspension of the DOHA talks was announced on Monday by several of the
Ministers of the G6 (the United States, European Union, Brazil, India, Japan, Australia).

It was confirmed by WTO director general Pascal Lamy at a press briefing starting 6.00 pm on Monday. Lamy said the WTO members had agreed to this at an informal heads of delegation meeting on Monday afternoon.

At the heads of delegation meeting, the G6 Ministers explained the situation and other delegations gave their preliminary responses.

Any formal decision to suspend the negotiations, and on when they are to resume, and what the WTO would do in the meanwhile, will have to be taken by the WTO General Council at its meeting later this week.

The sudden stopping of the DOHA negotiations came as a shock to the WTO members, as there was an expectation that the G6 Ministers would revive the flagging talks after the G8 Summit last week at which the political leaders of G8 countries and five developing countries had pledged to direct their Ministers to show additional flexibilities in their respective positions.

The G6 meeting of 23-24 July was to have been the first of a series of several meetings, out of which an agreement among the G6 members on the modalities on agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA) was supposed to emerge.

The WTO delegations were already preparing to put aside their vacation in the first half of August, or even for the entire month, due to expectations that any progress in the G6 process would then oblige the other WTO members to consider the new proposals that would be emerging.

Few, if any, expected the first G6 talks to collapse so completely. The next meeting, originally scheduled for 28-29 July, has been cancelled. There are no plans for any more G6 talks for the time being, and the talks will thus hibernate, at least for several months. Some of the G6 Ministers when asked did not discount the possibility that the suspension" could last for years.

The immediate cause of the dramatic breakdown was the refusal or inability of the US to provide even a hypothetical improvement on its present offer on reduction of the allowed or bound maximum level of trade-distorting domestic support in agriculture.

According to several of the G6 Ministers, each delegation except the US had put forward possible new positions, or "flexibilities", that it may make if it was matched by new and adequate offers by the others.


Here’s another real-time illustration of why the Big Brother is BAD for both you and I. US, being a key member of the G6 refuse to even remotely hypothesis on an improvement for a better ‘globalized world’, a better world which was projected upon the founding on the DOHA round.

It was rumored that in the corridors, diplomats from developing countries were wondering how 6 WTO members can in fact, determine the fate of the membership as well as the suspension of the DOHA talks.

Once again, a victory against the WTO has been reprised since the December Ministeral Conference in 2005. Another salient knock will, without a doubt put this giant financial bully out of business forever.

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