A 'Small Window' for NAMA Modalities

Original Publication Date: 
7 March, 2006
Geneva - Doha Development Agenda nonagricultural market access negotiations chairman Don Stephenson yesterday said members have only a "small window" for reaching agreement by the end of April on what he called core elements of an agreement a formula, treatment of unbound tariffs and "paragraph eight" flexibilities for developing countries (see related report this issue).

Mr. Stephenson said there is an urgent need for members to "multiply" their consultations in various groups on the most difficult issues, adding that the NAMA special session starting on March 20 will focus on those core issues. In remarks to the press, he attached considerable importance to this weekend's London meeting among the trade ministers of six countries the United States, the European Union, Brazil, India, Australia and Japan saying they have a "critical" role to play in accelerating negotiations to reach full negotiating modalities.

World Trade Organization Director General Pascal Lamy will attend the London meeting. But NAMA chairman Stephenson will stay away.

Results of several simulation exercises on NAMA formulas indicate that cuts from bound levels will pare back tariffs in developing countries more than in industrial nations. Cuts from applied rates show the opposite duties would come down in industrial nations more than they would in developing countries, according to sources who have seen the results.

Mr. Stephenson said he wants members to resolve the complex issues of what constitute less-than-full-reciprocity and "paragraph eight" flexibilities on their own.