The term ‘Implementation issues and concerns’ is used to refer to issues pertaining to the implementation of the commitments made in the Uruguay round and recorded in existing WTO agreements. The developing countries argue that the Uruguay Round agreements have not delivered the economic benefits that had been expected. Developing country members believe that agreements on subsidies, agriculture, intellectual property protection, anti-dumping, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and trade-related investment measures do not adequately reflect the interests and concerns of developing countries.
The Doha Ministerial 2001
The November 2001 declaration of the Fourth Ministerial Conference held in Doha, Qatar, provides the mandate for negotiations on issues concerning the implementation of the present agreements. At Doha some were decided as contained in implementation-related issues and concerns decision of 14 November 2001. (WT/MIN(01)/17). According to Para 13 of this decision outstanding implementation issues are to be addressed in accordance with paragraph 12 of the Ministerial Declaration ( WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1 ) . In paragraph 12 of the Ministerial Declaration, ministers underscored that they had taken a decision on the issues in a separate ministerial document (the 14 November 2001 decision on “Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns”) and pointed out that “negotiations on outstanding implementation issues shall be an integral part of the Work Programme” in the coming years.
Remaining outstanding implementation issues
The remaining issues are following a two-track approach & dealt with as per mandate if one exists otherwise, relevant WTO bodies report on their progress to TNC.
The remaining issues relate to:
Art.18.a and 18.c of GATT. Ensure that Article on Governmental Assistance to Economic Development allows developing countries to implement economic development programmes designed to raise general standard of living. On 18 August 2003, CTD-SS agreed to instruct the Council on Trade in Goods to develop and adopt procedures for recourse to Article 18.c. No further progress.
Para. 2(d) of Art.13, GATT 1994 , meaning of substantial interest in Art 13 in GATT; Consider meaning of the phrase “substantial interest” in determining how a quota should be allocated among countries. No decision taken.
SPS (settled2004/transparent notification) , When the introduction of SPS measures may have a significant effect on trade for products of interest to developing countries Members shall notify WTO and inform concerned Member 27-28 October 2004 SPS Committee adopted procedure for transparent notification of SPS measures and bilateral consulting if requested
TRIMs (Trade-Related Investment Measures) Agreement comes in the way of the pursuit of developmental objectives by the developing countries, as it prohibits them from prescribing any specific percentages of indigenization for the foreign investments. Provisions shall be included in the Agreement to provide developing countries the necessary flexibility to implement development policies. No decision taken.
Though the Convention on Bio-Diversity (CBD), specifically recognizes the rights of the sovereign countries on their bio- resources, TRIPS does not recognize this and does not provide any international recognition to the various sui generis systems for the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) including by way of prior informed consent and the sharing of benefits if the traditional knowledge has been used by the Patent applicants or others. No decision taken.
No progress has been made on any of the issues apart from SPS as stated above. Three issues are attracting attention. GIs, CBD and TRIMS. One of the major stumbling blocks in GIs pertains to the consultations on the extension of the higher protection for wines and spirits to products other than wines and spirits. Proponents which include EU, Switzerland, Turkey, Kenya and some countries known as Friends of GIs demand that the higher level of protection that wines and spirits currently enjoy under Article 23 of the TRIPS Agreement be also extended to other GI products, which are currently protected at the “regular” level under Article 22 of TRIPS. Australia, the US and Latin American countries oppose extension of higher level of protection for other products. In case of TRIMs agreement, India and Brazil argue that provisions be included in the agreement to allow developing countries flexibility to implement development policies.
Pakistan stands for early settlement of all remaining implementation issues in favour of developing countries. Pakistan shares the views of developing countries that higher level of protection should be available for products other than wines and spirits. Pakistan also supports Brazil and India that the TRIMs Agreement should be revised in order to provide developing countries needed flexibility to implement development policies.