Negotiations on Agriculture restarted

The DDA negotiations on agriculture restarted, after summer break, on 3rd September 2007 with an informal open ended meeting where the chair of COA SS urged members to speak up if they have any flexibility in exiting positions however none of the members came up with anything on substance since everyone was waiting for a smaller group consultative session titled as Room E consultations that was held on 5th September.  

Pakistan was one of the 36 members invited for Room E consultations which started from Market Access for developed countries to be followed by market access for developing countries, domestic support and export competition. After three weeks of consultation, chair may have another round of consultations, if necessary, leading towards a revision of the current modalities text.  

In the Room E meeting of 5th September EC showed a bit of flexibility in accepting lower half of the ranges mentioned by chair in the tiered formula cut however the offer was conditional upon outcome in sensitive products and other elements as per EC’s position. There was an extensive discussion on sensitive products where the cairns group advocated the case for transparency and certainty in sensitive products outcome while the G-10 and EC did not show any flexibility in their original position including partial designation. Pakistan said that we must ensure that whatever is agreed at modalities stage is not taken aback at the scheduling or later stages under the mechanism envisaged in Para 62 of the draft modalities text. Moreover Pakistan said that any TRQ expansion under sensitive products should be on MFN basis.  

Chair will continue the consultations on other issues, including the SPs and SSM, starting from Monday the 10th September. 

Apart from these consultations various groups like Cairns group, G-20 and G-33 are holding regular meetings to strategize the Room E consultations.