The World Trade Organization (WTO) is holding its 8th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland starting today until Saturday, December 17, aimed at resolving global trade disparities such as duty quotas, tariffs and subsidies.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Consumer Unity Trust Society (CUTS) International Geneva director Ramamurti Badrinath stated that a common vision for a prosperous tomorrow must take precedence over scoring negotiating points.
“At the very least, ministers should take concrete steps towards the strengthening the WTO as the mainstay of the international trading system including through greater transparency and inclusiveness, particularly for its weaker members,” Badrinath stated. “And adopting concrete measures in favour of weaker countries including Duty-Free-Quota-Free (DFQF) market access for LDCs, substantial reduction in cotton subsidies, and substantial and additional Aid for Trade resources and outlining a clear roadmap for the successful and development-friendly conclusion of the DDA.”
He stated that the DDA stalemate has continued and the credibility of the multi-lateral trading system was eroded.
“The worst victims are the weaker members including least developing countries (LDCs). For these countries, the promises of enhanced market access and favourable international trade rules remain elusive. These countries now face even greater challenges including food security, climate change, and the impact of ongoing economic crisis. Ministers must not let them down again,” stated Badrinath. “Admittedly, it is not easy to reach consensus among 150 plus members, particularly in a polarised environment and faced with a serious global economic situation. But these are the times to go beyond narrow commercial interests of individual countries and to send strong and positive signals.”