Briefings TJM Briefing on WTO Ministerial Conference 2015

Briefings
READING TIME 15 mins

TJM Briefing on WTO Ministerial Conference 2015

Bullying tactics

The negotiating process at this year’s ministerial conference was no better than we have come to expect from the WTO. Ahead of the ministerial, the US were very vocal regarding the need to drop the Doha mandate, completely ignoring the position of the majority of members. The EU pushed for countries to abandon their UN groupings so that they could “negotiate in the interests of their own economies”. The process was dominated by 5 of the big players – the US, EU, India, Brazil, China - who met exclusively to finalise the deal. 

Broken promises – Doha in limbo

For the first time since 2001, the final declaration fails to reconfirm a commitment to completing the Doha round. Instead it simply states that members do not agree on whether to continue the negotiations. Whilst technically this does not amount to the end of the Doha round, it is unlikely that the promises of 2001 will be fulfilled. The EU and US are amongst the strongest proponents of ending Doha and also of introducing new issues into multilateral negotiations. For the moment, no new issues are on the table but it is likely that we will see developed countries pushing for plurilateral negotiations on these issues and insisting on their introduction into the multilateral forum before further negotiations on Doha issues can happen. 

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Published February 2017 TJM

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