Joint Statement By African and Indian Civil Society On The Nairobi Ministerial of The WTO

Released On The Occasion Of The Third India-Africa Forum Summit

27 October 2015

We, on behalf of civil society in Africa and India, write to you, the Heads of Governments in Africa’s 54 countries and India as you meet for the Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III) through 26-29th October in New Delhi, India. As you all deliberate on a ‘reinvigorated partnership-shared vision’, we would urge you to consider the common economic, social and environmental challenges that all our countries face, while reminding you of the issues at stake at the forthcoming Tenth Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, between December 15-18th this year.

One of the main objectives of the WTO was to create more opportunities for the developing world, and even more so for least developed countries (LDCs), so they could advance their development progress. As a result, the world was to see a more balanced economic and, hopefully, socially just order. However, after twenty years of the WTO, we do not see any materialisation of those promises from global trade rules. In spite of some strengthening of developing country voices, the developed countries and the transnational corporations within them have grown more powerful, strident and aggressive. They have made it clear that they are interested in the WTO only to “take” from and not to “give” to developing countries. The current Director General, Roberto Azevedo, (himself from a developing country) and the WTO Secretariat and it’s functionaries, are taking pro-developed country positions in the desperation to retain WTO’s relevance as a multilateral forum.

In fact, even the WTO’s Doha Development Round, launched in 2001 and mandated to address core development issues faced by the South, continues to see stiff opposition by the developed countries to any concessions for developing countries and to removal of barriers, which could actually enable them to provide better economic and social opportunities to their people. Special and differential (S&D) treatment in agriculture and NAMA, for example through easier terms for tariff cuts, Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) in agriculture, preferential Rules of Origin for LDCs, and most importantly talks on agricultural subsidies, including the crucial issue of cotton subsidies, given by the West have failed to get anywhere. In this context we strongly support the statement made by the Kenyan Foreign Minister, Hon’ble Ms Amina Mohamed on July 1 that the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations cannot be concluded without "credible" developmental outcomes.

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Last modified onSaturday, 07 November 2015 17:27
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