In a public forum held by Focus on the Global South, senior government negotiators from India, Brazil and Indonesia, together with civil society representatives showed common concern about the status of agriculture in the WTO and the failure of pro-peasantry policies in developing countries.
More than 100 people from different organisations and movements participated in this public forum, which was moderated by Dr. Walden Bello.
But we should not hide the fact there are differences. The developing counties maintain their presence in the WTO is essential to discipline the distortion in agricultural trade but civil society maintains that the WTO should be out of agriculture since the WTO has failed to discipline distortion in agriculture and failed to get developed countries to reduce their domestic support.
Echoing this feeling, Mr. Gopal Pillai, senior trade official from India, said that there is a deficit of trust between the developed countries and developing countries since the former, especially the US, has not yet reduced their subsidies. In fact their subsidies would rather increase at the end of the Doha Round in 2016 despite the announced cuts.
“So unless developed countries reduce their actual subsidies, there is no question of developing countries open their market for them”, said Mr. Pillai.
He also said that there is no question of bringing back the Peace Clause, which expired last year. The possibility remains for developing countries to sue developed countries in the Dispute Settle Body (DSB) for providing trade distorting subsidies which would affect developing countries. He also said that if there are no substantial cuts in subsidies by developed countries, there will be no gain in this round. He argued that developing countries would not allow the developed countries to shift their trade distorting subsidies from the Amber Box to the Green box. And if this happens, they would take them to the DSB. Agreeing with Walden Bello, Pillai also said that “no deal better than a bad deal”.
Ms. Dalima Azari said that G33 is demanding Special Product and Special Safeguard Mechanisms (SSM) for developing countries as well as no cut in de minimis for developing countries and more disciplining of the Green Box.
In response to the official delegates, Mr. Yudhvir Singh from Bharatiye Kissan Union, said that we have had enough of the WTO in last 10 years. The developed countries have not fulfilled their commitment of cutting their subsidies. He called on the developed countries to fulfill their previous commitment first.
Mr. Ganzelo, of the Hemispheric Social Alliance, said that we do not want market access for our agribusiness by sacrificing in the other areas of services and NAMA.“We cannot accept any agreement on NAMA and Services because accepting NAMA will be a serious threat to our workers in Brazil.”