Wednesday, August 29, 2007

South Centre assistance to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) retreat on the WTO Doha Round negotiations

As part of the capacity building efforts of the South Centre, the Trade for Development Programme has participated to a retreat of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) on 24 and 25 August in Jongny, Switzerland. During the retreat, the LDC Group discussed the recently proposed Agriculture and NAMA draft modalities texts with a view to updating the Group’s negotiating positions on the various negotiating areas under Agriculture and NAMA.

During the retreat, the Trade for Development Programme made presentations highlighting main points of interest to the LDCs in the Agriculture and NAMA draft modalities papers. Darlan F. Martí highlighted the fact that in the draft NAMA text, the Chair of NAMA did not propose any solution to the LDC request to make rules of origin that apply to preferential trade agreements simpler and more transparent.

Similarly on the decision to grant duty and quota free access for LDC products, the text of the Chairman did not propose anything new, and merely suggested a timeline for the continuation of these negotiations. It was also mentioned that the solution proposed for the problem of preference erosion would leave many LDCs unsatisfied (the Chair suggested two additional years for the implementation of tariff reductions on a short list of products of high importance for preference-receiving countries in the US and EU markets coupled with vague language on capacity building and assistance).