A G-20 Test For Resuming DDA

Original Publication Date: 
29 August, 2006

Geneva - Trade ministers of the developing-country Group-of-20 coalition will meet in Rio de Janeiro September 9 and 10 to finalize a position on how to revive the suspended Doha Development Agenda trade negotiations - a first indication of whether a turnaround in the negotiations is possible, WTD has learned (WTD, 8/29/06).

World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy, US Trade Representative Susan Schwab and European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson are expected to attend.

It is not clear whether a meeting of the four principles - the United States, the EU, Brazil and India - will take place, but several bilateral sessions are expected, sources here told WTD.

USTR Schwab will be fresh from an Asian trip - which included a visit to China - where the chief topic was reviving the DDA.

Brazil

Brazil - G-20 leader - called for the Rio meeting to address two major challenges that arose during the final negotiating sessions here in late July - the magnitude of cuts in domestic subsidies in the agriculture negotiations and treatment of sensitive and special products. The G-20 proposal on market access thresholds and cuts in tariffs have been called by some an acceptable middle ground in the talks. But the United States still objects to some of its market access exceptions for developing countries. So far, the coalition has avoided taking a stand on special products and the criteria for the price-based and volume-based triggers in the special safeguard mechanism propounded by the Group-of-30 developing countries.

The G-20 is expected to adopt a declaration calling on industrialized countries to deliver on the reduction of domestic agricultural subsidies and development elements of the round.

USTR Schwab also is expected to attend the next annual meeting of the Cairns Group of agriculture exporters in Cairns, Australia, later in the month. Reviving the DDA also is expected to be the chief topic of discussion. That meeting - commemorating the 10th anniversary of the organization - will take place September 20 to 22.