India, 46 others issue joint ministerial statement for continuation of Doha round

Amiti Sen Nairobi | Updated on January 22, 2018

The World Trade Organization (WTO) logo is pictured at the entrance of the WTO headquarters in Geneva in this April 9, 2013 file photo. India has dealt a potentially fatal blow to the World Trade Organization's hopes of modernising the rules of global commerce and remaining the central forum for multilateral trade deals. Last week India vetoed the adoption of a treaty to simplify, standardise and streamline the rules for shipping goods across borders, having previously agreed to its terms at a ministerial conference in Bali last December. It blocked the text because it wanted more attention paid to its concerns over food security. After drawing widespread condemnation, the world's second most populous nation now says it wants to keep the treaty alive, with stronger assurances about protecting its food security needs, until a permanent solution is found. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/Files (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS LOGO)

Indonesia, Malaysia not part of declaration

A group of 47 developing countries and LDCs that includes India, China and Kenya have got together and sent out a strong message for the continuation of the Doha development round that several developed countries wanted to bury.

In a late evening joint ministerial statement issued on the first day of the WTO trade ministers meet in Nairobi, the group called for re-doubling of efforts for successful conclusion of the Doha development agenda ( DDA).

"We recognise that a comprehensive conclusion of the DDA with economically meaningful and balanced outcomes will provide impetus to global trade liberalisation and facilitation, correct the development deficit in the rules resulting from the previous rounds of multilateral trade negotiations and improve the trading prospects of developing members, and enhance the primary role of the WTO in global trade governance," the statement said.

Interestingly, Indonesia and Malaysia, both important players in the G-33 group that has been calling for a continuation of the DDA, are not part of the joint ministerial declaration.

"We have Kenya in the group, which is encouraging, as it holds the chair in the Nairobi Ministerial," a person involved in the negotiating process told BusinessLine.

Attempts were also on to include Indonesia, but there were some glitches, he added.

The countries that have endorsed the ministerial statement also include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador,Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The decisions and declarations we propose to adopt at our present session would signify that we have taken yet another step forward in the negotiations and attest to our strong resolve to complete the DDA as has been reaffirmed in the Sustainable Development Goal, the statement added.

The Nairobi Ministerial, that will carry on till Friday, is likely to decide on the future of the Doha Round that has been going on for the last 14 years.

Published on December 15, 2015

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