23 May 2007 – Below is a summary of the speech given by Ambassador Dr. Manzoor Ahmad, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the WTO in Discussion Meeting with Business Representatives.

Ambassador Ahmad gave a speech to the WTO presented to representatives of the business community about the developing country perspective of the WTO Doha Round.

Developing countries do not have one particular perspective as there are over 100 of them member of the WTO, but there are notable points of convergence. First, the influence of these countries has radically increased compared to previous Rounds. There is general agreement that the key is getting a fair deal in agriculture.

On Export Competition all developing countries support elimination of export subsidies by 2013 and front loading of the process.

On Domestic Support, for overall trade distorting support the Group of 20, called the G20, seeks cuts between 70 to 80% and asking the USA to reduce its current offer of $22 billion to $12 billion.

On market Access reduction most developing countries are seeking overall reduction of 54% by developed economies and the 2/3 of this by developing countries.

On Special Products, developing countries and notably the G33 would like to self-designate at least 20% of tariff lines based on food and lively security, and rural development.

In case of industrial goods, there is general acceptance of application of a simple Swiss formula with two coefficients, a high one for developing countries and a low one for developed economies. However, there is substantial difference between developed and developing countries on what these coefficients should be. Developed countries want the coefficients to be close together (10 and 15), while developing countries – NAMA XI Group notably – is seeking 5 and 30.

Other issues concerns flexibilities of paragraph 8 sought by developing countries which developed economies feel provides a way to hide tariff peaks. Another issue is how to meet the concerns of countries that receive non-reciprocal preferences. These countries fear that steep cuts would reduce their margin of preference and are seeking longer time frames for implementing of NAMA results for textiles and clothing on the pretext that this would give enough time for adjustments. Such an outcome is not acceptable to Pakistan as well as a large number of other developing countries as it would penalize countries which are facing tariff peaks and are looking for an ambitious result from this Round.

In Services developing countries are seeking a balanced progress in market access and rules. In market access their interest lie in professional services like health, legal, engineering, accountancy, tourism, construction, and agriculture services, etc.

In Rules, negotiations are going well, but some developing countries feel that some proposals exceed the mandate for the negotiations.

 

In TRIPS two key issues concerning the notification and registration for wines and spirits need still to be settled. These concern legal effect of geographical indication and the effect of a registration onto members that do not participate in the system.