The World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference takes place in Buenos Aires from 10 to 13 December 2017. This will be the 11th Ministerial (MC11) since the start of the WTO and the 7th since the start of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations. The SET programme will host a side event on Trade, Trade Policy and Economic Transformation at the Trade & Sustainable Development Symposium alongside the WTO MC11 on 13th December.
The negotiations have so far failed to conclude with a comprehensive deal on agriculture, non-agricultural market access (NAMA), services and improvements in WTO rules that would make world trade freer, helping the global economy and developing countries in particular. There have, however, been small achievements in past rounds (MC9 in Bali and MC10 in Nairobi). The summary paper examines the possible impact of current negotiating proposals in the main areas being discussed in the run-up to MC11 (agriculture, e-commerce, fisheries).
There is much unfinished business in the Doha Round, as developing countries have highlighted. Further improvements on both market access in agriculture and NAMA remain to be negotiated. However, some key issues central to the interest of developing countries are expected to be at the centre of discussions in MC11. On agriculture, negotiations have been held on domestic support (including a permanent solution to public food stockholding) and the new special safeguard measure. At the same time, new issues, such as necessary new rules on e-commerce and the digital economy, have come up that could benefit from multilateral attention. Discussions are also being held on eliminating trade-distorting subsidies on fisheries. Three background papers by ODI cover each area in detail – agriculture, e-commerce and fisheries:
Balchin, N. and Mendez-Parra, M., ‘Agriculture: The implications of current WTO negotiations for economic transformation in developing countries’
Lemma, A. F., ‘E-commerce: The implications of current WTO negotiations for economic transformation in developing countries’.
Worrall, L. and Mendez-Parra, M., ‘Fisheries: The implications of current WTO negotiations for economic transformation in developing countries’
Photo credit: Containers in port by stalkERR via Flickr