The World Trade Organisation
(WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC) ended without
a Ministerial Declaration or any substantive outcome, the unanimous view was
that it was extremely well-conducted with complete openness and transparency
and the process afforded everyone ample opportunity to express their views.
In the run-up to
MC11, decisions were expected on a permanent solution on food security and
other agriculture issues. Unfortunately, the strong position of one member
(United States) against agricultural reform based on current WTO mandates and
rules, led to a deadlock without any outcome on agriculture or even a work
program for the next two years.
Suresh Prabhu said that his team had done what was in the best interest of the
country. “We are on a very sound wicket. We have the peace clause. To have a
bad agreement for the sake of reaching an agreement is worse than having no
agreement. Our interests have been safeguarded” he said
existing mandates and decisions ensure that work will go forward and members
will continue to work on issues such as the permanent solution on public
stockholding for food security purposes, agricultural Special Safeguard
Mechanism and agricultural domestic support.
Some of the other
decisions that were taken included a Work Programme on disciplines on Fisheries
Subsidies with a view to arriving at a decision by MC12. It was also decided to
continue with the non-negotiating mandate of the existing Work Programme on
Decisions on new issues like Investment Facilitation, MSMEs, gender and trade,
which lacked a mandate or consensus, were not taken forward.
divergences among members, and a few members not supporting acknowledgment and reiteration
of key underlying principles guiding the WTO and various agreed mandates,
Ministers could not arrive at an agreed Ministerial Declaration.
of WTO in her remarks mentioned the widely expressed support for the
multilateral trading system and the commitment to move forward on various areas
of work in the WTO.
During MC11 India
stood firm on its stand on the fundamental principles of the WTO, including
multilateralism, rule-based consensual decision-making, an independent and
credible dispute resolution and appellate process, the centrality of
development, which underlies the DDA, and special and differential treatment
for all developing countries.