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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Development more important than quick conclusion of Doha

Governments expressed the will at the seventh ministerial meeting of the WTO to finish the Doha Round of trade negotiations as soon as possible. But the Africa Group still deems development to be a more important priority than a speedy conclusion. Despite the decision of the seventh ministerial meeting to aim for a close to the Doha Round by the end of 2010, Hicham Badr, the ambassador of Egypt and coordinator of the Africa group, stressed that the Africa Group will continue to push for a Doha Round based on a developmental mandate. "If we had to choose between a quickly concluded round and a successful round, we would prefer a successful round where the developmental aspect remains at the core of the package". Most of the outstanding points of contention, such as cotton, still depend on the cooperation of Northern countries. African cotton producers are ready to use the WTO dispute settlement mechanism if the talks don’t deliver. The ministerial meeting, which took place last week, marks the growing power of developing countries. "We should not underestimate the power of developing countries", said Badr. "Today’s WTO is different from five or 10 years ago. Countries in the WTO may not make up 85% of the world’s GDP, but they represent 85% of the world’s population", symbol of the failure of the Doha Round. The C4 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) are still waiting for clear proposals from their interlocutors to start the negotiations.

Source: Terraviva