It is paradox that World Trade Organisation (WTO) promises to address all aspects of agriculture reform as matter of priority, however, its draft declaration for next month’s ministerial meeting in Nairobi have no mention of finding a permanent solution to India’s concerns on food security.
The first draft for the meeting in mid-December, however, did take note of the failure of the WTO membership to reach an agreement on most issues that were part of the Doha work programme and raised concerns about the rush of regional trade agreements (RTAs).
"We welcome the advances made in the Doha Development Agenda. We regret that it has not been possible to reach agreement on all areas of the negotiations, including agriculture, non-agriculture market access (NAMA), services, rules, including fisheries subsidies, and TRIPS. In particular, we note the importance of agriculture to many WTO members, including least developed countries. We will therefore address all aspects of agriculture reform as a matter of priority," the five-page WTO document said.
WTO chief Roberto Azevedo said there was a need to reconcile views in view of the stalemate and the draft has sought to touch upon the less contentious issues.
"Of course, we also need to tackle the most contentious issues — such as the reaffirmation of the Doha Development Agenda and instructions on the way forward, and openness to talking about new issues. I will set up a different process to deal with those tough, contentious issues, and we will be starting this process after the General Council is finished next week," he said in a statement.