Emerging countries need to define themselves for ‘Doha’ success: Lamy

Business Standard, February 01, 2013

Trade ministers from 157 countries to meet for full-fledged ministerial meeting in Bali

Emerging countries like India, China, Brazil and Indonesia need to define whether they have actually “emerged” and depending on that these countries need to open up their markets according and should be ready to undertake international commitments like the rich countries, according to Pascal Lamy, director general, World Trade Organization (WTO).

“Agreement is still lacking on the balance of contributions and benefits between the US, the EU, Japan and the like on the one side, and India, China, Brazil and the like on the other side,” Lamy said while addressing a forum organized jointly by CUTS International and Global Development Network (GDN). He said the ongoing Doha round of talks, which started in November 2001 in the Qatari capital, is mainly stuck due to this reason. He said on one hand the advanced countries like US, EU and Japan have challenged the emerging economies should accept greater commitments and a tough trade regime like the rich countries due to the enormous growth they are witnessing. While on the other hand, emerging countries argue that they continue to face severe challenges posed by the rich countries in international trade.

“Behind this conundrum lies a simple geopolitical question: are emerging countries “rich countries with many poor people” or “poor countries with many rich people”? Until and unless both sides agree on the answer, consensus in major multilateral negotiations will remain elusive,” he said.

Lamy, who will be retiring as WTO DG in August this year, also added that emerging countries have to align their level of international commitments for a rule-based multilateral trading system similar to this agreed by advanced economies. While advanced nations have to realize that in doing so emerging countries will take a long time in order to make this transition.

“To my view such an understanding will only lead to a logical conclusion of the Doha round,” he said.

Trade ministers from all the 157 member countries are expected to meet for a full-fledged ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia in December to hammer out a consensus to the talks that have missed several deadlines.

The last full-fledged meeting, which was the eight ministerial meeting on the Doha round, was held in Geneva in December 2011. But like all other previous meetings, this one also failed to come to any conclusion. The decision to hold the ninth ministerial in December was taken during the last General Council meeting at the WTO headquarters in Geneva.

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