GS Mains Model Question & Answer: Discuss the highlights of the declarations of 10th WTO Ministerial Level Conference

GS Mains Model Question & Answer: Discuss the highlights of the declarations of 10th WTO Ministerial Level Conference.

Q. Discuss the highlights of the declarations of 10th WTO Ministerial Level Conference . (12.5 Marks)

(General Studies Mains Paper II- International Relations : Important International institutions)

Model Answer :

The World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s tenth Ministerial Conference at Nairobi , as was expected sparked much debate between the developed and developing countries over the issues of abolishing agricultural export subsidies and progress on the Doha Development Agenda.

Contention of the Developing Countries

India, China and Indonesia on behalf developing countries, demanded comprehensive and balanced outcomes, particularly deliverables that would help resource-poor farmers in all the three core negotiating areas, viz., agriculture, non-agricultural market access and services.

In this regard, an LDC (Least Developed Countries) package, has been agreed upon by all the members during the Nairobi meet, which would include duty-free, quota-free market access for LDCs, the LDC services waiver (to ensure preferences to LDCs in services trade) and preferential rules of origin.

India has expressed disappointment over non-reaffirmation of the long-stalled Doha Round, agreement on removal of cotton subsidy altogether by 01 January 2017, and a few other provisions related to phasing out of export subsidies.

Contention of Developed Countries

The US and its supporters want a finite number of deliverables in which they themselves do not have to undertake any fresh commitments, including “export competition (in agriculture)”, some limited concessions for the poorest countries and transparency-related commitments.

The US and EU wants to launch new negotiations while pursuing unresolved issues in agriculture and other areas outside the Doha architecture. But a majority of WTO members want to continue with the Doha negotiations.

The biggest demand of the developed countries is to abolish agricultural export subsidies, so as to allow developing countries to better integrate themselves into the global market.

Highlights of the Declaration :

  • The five-page declaration at the Nairobi meeting reaffirmed the principles and objectives set out in the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO.

  • Developed Members shall immediately eliminate their remaining scheduled export subsidy entitlements as of the date of adoption of this Decision. Developing country Members shall eliminate their export subsidy entitlements by the end of 2018.

  • The members of the global trade body agreed on a commitment for giving the developing nations a right to take recourse to Special Safeguard Mechanism to protect their farmers, which was a long-standing demand of India.

  • Phase out export subsidies on cotton; for developed nations immediately, while it has been marked for developing countries not later January 1, 2017.

  • The Bali and the General Council's November 2014 decision on public stockholding which gives protection to farmers has been reaffirmed.

Post-Nairobi work :

  • Each developed preference-granting member, and each developing preference-granting member in a position to implement the Decision, will inform the Committee on Rules of Origin by the end of 2016 of the measures being taken to implement the Decision.

  • This should encourage preference-granting members to review their respective rules of origin, with a view to identifying elements which can be simplified and aligned with the Decision.

  • In line with the Nairobi Decision, the WTO’s Committee on Rules of Origin will annually review developments in preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from LDCs and report to the General Council.


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