DOHA-A NATION WHICH FOCUSES ON TRADE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION (WTO)
( P.S.: I have referred to WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION REPORT OF DOHA, GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY REPORT OF DOHA OF 2011 as well as interviewed MR. JUDE D’MELLO, who has a work experience of 35 years in Doha)
At the Millennium Summit, 193 United Nations Member States and at least 23 International Organisations had agreed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. AS MENTIONED BEFORE, this was established by the United Nations in the year 2000 and given below are the goals:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Doha is one such country which accepted these above goals too but took up the responsibility of making innovative changes in the trade sector of its country in collaboration with the World Trade Organisational Body (WTO). The division of WTO which continues to commit itself to the Doha Development Agenda (Doha Round) or DDA is well known as WTO Doha Ministerial Confernce which was launched in 2001. This actually has a paved a way for Doha towards Global Partnership for Developments its major focus is on the market and trade access besides the other 7 Millennium Development Goals. As the basic aim of Doha Round WTO members was to promote economic growth and development, the Doha negotiation moved forward towards addressing some of the imbalances in trade rules that have impacted the ability of developing countries to export. It also introduced lower trade barriers and revised trade rules in order to improve the trading prospects of developing countries. This in fact proves that Doha Round had decided to move forward only after re-strategizing the trade rules.
According to the World Trade Organisation Record of Doha Development Agenda, it stated the following:
“The majority of WTO Members are developing countries. We seek to place their needs and interests at the heart of the Work Programme adopted in this Declaration”
This above quote of decision was declared by the Doha Ministerial Declaration, November 2001. This proves that the Doha being one of the WTO members, its development of international trade market is taken forward only after taking into consideration the interests and needs of the people of Doha and even towards the development of other MDG’s.
The very first step that was taken up to increase market access in meeting the needs of developing and least-developed countries included the three major strategies:
Increased duty-free access for developing countries
As the Doha Round had realised that it is the agricultural sector that has traditionally been a highly protected sector in many countries and also makes a significant contribution to the economies of a large number of developing countries, they committed themselves to the long-term objective of establishing a fair and market-oriented trading system for agricultural products. It also allowed continuous negotiations between members to achieve this objective. In 2001,it was decided that tariff barriers and trade-distorting domestic support in agriculture would be substantially cut. Agricultural export subsidies were later eliminated completely.
This actually can work as a good example for other countries as these nations can expect market access opportunities in the non-agricultural area as well. It also measured that Trade in industrial products accounts for more than 90 per cent of world trade in goods and encompasses some key products of export interest to many developing countries. Due to this, in today’s day and age, tariffs in developed countries on industrial products on an average, are relatively low. This can actually point out the fact that a reduction in tariffs and non-tariff barriers to industrial trade would provide important export possibilities for developing countries, as the mandate for the industrial negotiations specifically calls for the reduction or elimination of trade barriers on products of export interest to developing countries.
2) Tariff reduction (especially on agricultural products, textiles and clothing)
Duty-free and quota-free market access for LDCs
As a second step, the WTO members at the launch of the Doha Round committed themselves to the objective of providing Duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) market access to LDC products. Building on this commitment, in December 2005, at the WTO’s Sixth Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, China, they agreed that developed country members of the WTO would provide DFQF market access for at least 97 per cent of products originating from LDCs.
A very important point to be noted over here is that while most developed country members have already met the 97 per cent threshold of providing DFQF market access to products originating from LDCs, a significant benefit to LDCs from the conclusion of the Doha Round will be that all developed country members will be required to take on this commitment. This in fact can lead to the contribution towards the achievement of MDG 8 by increasing the below given goals noted by the WTO: “Proportion of total developed country imports from developing countries and least developed countries, admitted free of duty”.
As it was noted down by the ‘GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY ‘ Report of Doha- This actually created a rationale behind the launch of the Aid-for-Trade initiative by the WTO in 2005, which provided financial and technical assistance to developing countries to enable them to “produce more and to trade better”. Through the Aid-for-Trade initiative, the WTO, in partnership with other international organizations, plays an important role in helping developing countries increase their share of world trade and thereby come closer to fulfilling their development aspirations.
This type of Global development of Doha can continue to be possible only if similar steps are taken that were mentioned in the WTO report of 2001, Members stressed the need to ensure that the Trade rules were applicable to imports from LDCs are transparent and simple and contribute to facilitating market access.
3) Reduction of trade-distorting subsidies from developed countries.
There was even a marginal reduction in trade costs which was a leading factor in the boost of the trade expansion effects of the Doha Round . According to Adler et al. (2009), the income gains for developing countries from greater market access and trade facilitation is the result of the Doha Round amount to 0.3 and 1.5 per cent of GDP respectively. Through analysis one can arrive at a conclusion that there was actually double the percentage increase for developed countries.
The Doha Round also continues to strengthen the multilateral trading system by addressing fisheries subsidies, which contribute to over-fishing.
The bases set up for achieving its aims are as follows:
1. So that the multilateral trading system may be more open, particularly for developing countries’ exports —
2. To have a strengthened rule-making structure that will be more balanced, especially towards developing country interests and concerns.
3. To enable further clear connection between the DDA negotiations and MDG’s.
In order to gain an additional information about Women Empowerment in the market sector, I interacted with MR. JUDE D’MELLO, who has a working experience in Doha from past 35 years, he said, “Doha Multi- national Companies are instead Paying the women more wages compared to the men.” This infact can bring out a distinctive feature that this country pays much more respect for the work done by women compared to any other country.
In short, through above facts and analysis, one can conclude that the Doha Round will firstly only accomplish the three goals set up by the WTO members and once those are fulfilled , this nation would move forward towards the remaining seven MDG’s.
BY NICOLE FERNANDES, TYBMM, 3744