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September 8, 2003 Prepared by the Communications Division of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM), this electronic newsletter focuses on the RNM, trade negotiation issues within its mandate and related activities. ************************************************************************

Special Issue: Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference
- NEWS BRIEFS ************************************************************************ The Lead up to Cancún: Lacklustre Global Trade Talks The start of the Fifth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference is two days away. Scheduled for Cancún, Mexico - September 10 to 14 - it marks the half-way point for Doha Agenda negotiations, launched at the conclusion of the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, November 2001. The Cancún meeting’s mandate, according to the Doha Ministerial Declaration (Paragraph 45), is to “take stock of progress in the [Doha Development Agenda] negotiations, provide any necessary political guidance and take decisions as necessary.” In the two years since the Ministerial Conference in Doha, the WTO has had difficulty in reaching consensus among its members in several key areas of Doha Round negotiations. The record of achievement, to date, has been very limited. This has lowered expectations of what the Round could achieve for developing countries. Key intermediate negotiating deadlines have been missed, including, inter alia: Trade related aspects of intellectual property (TRIPS)/Public Health; Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT); Agriculture; Services; cuts to tariffs on industrial goods; and, reforming the WTO's dispute settlement system. TRIPS/Public Health, Agriculture and the so-called ‘Singapore Issues’ have been the source of much acrimony among WTO members. Essential Medicines for Poor Countries

In recent days there has been a breakthrough in enhancing access for poor countries to essential medicines in otherwise lacklustre negotiations. Wrangling amongst WTO members since the launch of the Doha Round regarding the WTO’s intellectual property rules and the compulsory licensing of essential medicines for the treatment of diseases such as HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, had cast a shadow over global trade talks. The wide chasm in positions between the US, backed by its pharmaceutical industry, and developing countries (most vocal being Brazil, India, Kenya and South Africa) threatened to sour the atmosphere at the Ministerial meeting in Cancún. A draft accord on measures to ease access to low-cost medicines for poor countries was, however, clinched August 27 at a meeting of the TRIPS Council. The General Council adopted the Decision
on the Implementation of Paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, August 30.

The agreement relaxes patent regulations on some drugs in the context of enabling low-cost producers to export generic medicines to poor countries. The landmark deal that constitutes legal changes making it easier for poor nations to import cheaper generic copies of drugs made under compulsory licensing has not healed rifts amongst WTO members. Despite the agreement on drug patents, differences remain amongst developed and developing countries regarding the extent to which the accord would ensure the production and export of generic medicines in the future. The proposed deal has been described as “containing serious flaws” that undermine its ‘workability’. The Problem with Farm Trade As the Cancún meeting approaches it is agricultural reform that remains the central issue,
pitting the EU and Japan against certain developed and developing country agricultural exporters. Realizing the Doha Agenda within its original

timetable remains under threat because of the continued impasse over agriculture. An agreement on agriculture is very important to sustaining the momentum in, and securing the success of, the wider round of trade liberalization negotiations. WTO members had agreed at the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference that a framework for setting goals and timelines for achieving them in agriculture negotiations, to be completed by March 31, 2003, would serve as the basis for country-specific offers, for the liberalization of agriculture trade, due by the Fifth WTO Ministerial meeting. The failure to meet the deadline for agriculture modalities constitutes a major setback for the Doha Agenda. In a joint letter from the Chair of the General Council and the WTO Director-General to the Chair of the Cancún Ministerial Conference, August 31, there was admission that “it has been possible to reach an understanding on a framework approach to modalities in agriculture and non-agricultural market access”. The letter goes on to say that “nonetheless on the substance of these issues….convergence has so far eluded the negotiators”.

A joint proposal - framework for improving market access and reducing subsidies in farm trade talks – released August 13 by the United States and European Union (EU) was intended to reinvigorate stalled global trade talks. It was not well received. There were calls to modify the proposal to better reflect the views of developing countries. In late August, a grouping of twenty developing countries – led by Brazil, China, India and South Africa - emerged, united by their opposition to protectionist agricultural policies. The group - in response to the joint US/EU proposal – submitted to the WTO a proposal of their own for farm trade reform. It demanded significant cuts in European and North American domestic support programs. A joint plan/paper tabled by the US, EU and Canada to facilitate negotiations on market access – tariffs and non-tariff barriers – for industrial goods similarly was also not well received. Disagreement remains on how to reduce tariffs. ‘Singapore Issues’: A Step in the Wrong Direction Tension and wide gaps also remain amongst developed and developing countries on the so-called ‘Singapore Issues’. Many developing countries are exasperated by the continued insistence of EU, Japanese and Swiss negotiators that possible negotiations on investment and competition rules, trade facilitation and transparency in government procurement be taken on-board at Cancún. These WTO members have consistently maintained that they are burdened by commitments they have already made in the Uruguay Round. They are not prepared to undertake negotiations on the ‘Singapore Issues’ at Cancún citing concerns over the potential serious implications of these issues on their economies. The ‘Draft Cancún Ministerial Text’ The Chair of the WTO’s ruling General Council drafted a Cancún Ministerial Text, released July 18, to serve as the basis for talks at Cancún. WTO members were quick to signal they wanted modifications to the Text. The most recent ‘Draft Cancún Ministerial Text’ was released August 24. The joint letter to the Chair of the Cancún Ministerial Conference underscores that notwithstanding the ‘Draft Cancún Ministerial Text’ reflecting agreement on TRIPS and Public Health, there is “no basis on which to revise the text of 24 August” and that it “constitutes a workable framework for action by Ministers at Cancun”. The CARIFORUM Position On August 6 the ‘Caribbean Ministerial Declaration on the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference’ was unanimously adopted by the CARIFORUM region. On August 28 it was submitted, on behalf of the region by Jamaica, to the WTO (WT/MIN(03)/6, 29 August, 2003).

The region has a common position going into Cancún. Its concerns and issues are highlighted in the Caribbean Ministerial Declaration. The Caribbean Declaration considers the following: S&DT; Implementation Issues; trade preferences; poverty and vulnerability; small developing economies; Work Programme on Small Economies; fiscal fallout of tariff liberalization; regional trade agreements; agriculture; services; TRIPS and Public Health; geographical indications; ‘Singapore Issues’; trade, debt and finance/transfer of technology; trade and environment; dispute settlement; technical assistance; and, transparency in the WTO. An initial draft of the Declaration was formulated by the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) and Senior CARIFORUM officials and experts, with responsibility for trade, and specialists from regional and international bodies at a meeting entitled: ‘Caribbean Region Pre-Cancun Meeting’, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, June 16 to 19. The meeting was organized by the RNM, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Netherlands-based ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA). The document subsequently underwent extensive consultations with CARIFORUM member states and a draft was tabled at the Twenty-Fourth Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Montego Bay, Jamaica, July 2 to 5. Convening for the last time before the Cancún Ministerial Conference Caribbean Ministers and Senior Officials with responsibility for trade met in Georgetown, Guyana, during the week of September 1. The Caribbean region’s approach to the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference was considered at the Second Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on External Economic Negotiations, September 3 to 4. The Special COTED was chaired by Hon. Billie Miller, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Barbados. Director-General of the RNM, Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal – who headed a team of RNM officials to the meeting in Georgetown – underscored that “Ministers and Senior Officials at COTED reviewed the ‘Draft Cancún Ministerial Text’, considered and refined the Region’s approach to the specific issues addressed therein, including proposals for amendments to the Text”. The Ambassador concluded, “I am satisfied with the level of preparedness of the region’s Ministers and officials going into Cancún”. A complement of core RNM staff, headed by Ambassador Bernal, will be in Cancún. The RNM team, which includes the RNM’s Senior Director, Mr. Henry Gill and Dr. Peter Gonzales - RNM Representative in Geneva and Director of WTO Matters, will be on hand in Cancún to provide all the necessary technical support to Caribbean Delegations during what the RNM chief describes as “intense but crucial days ahead”. CARICOM Heads of Delegation at Cancún Antigua & Barbuda

Sir Ronald M. Sanders, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom with Ministerial Rank and Permanent Representative to the WTO Barbados Hon. Billie Miller, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Belize Hon. Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade Dominica Hon. Osbourne Riviere, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Industry and Marketing Grenada Dr. Patrick Antoine, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO Guyana Hon. Clement Rohee, Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation (CARICOM Ministerial Spokesperson for WTO issues) Haiti Hon. Jean Claude Roche, Minister of Trade and Industry Jamaica Hon. K.D. Knight, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade St. Kitts & Nevis Hon. Sam Condor, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Trade St. Lucia Hon. Calixte George, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Cooperatives St. Vincent & the Grenadines Hon. Louis Straker, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade

Suriname Hon. Jong Tjien Fa, Minister of Trade and Industry Trinidad & Tobago Hon. Kenneth Valley, Minister of Trade and Industry

Scheduled CARICOM Meetings at Cancún * Indian Minister of Trade * Ministers of Small Economies * Commonwealth Trade Ministers * Meeting with Chair WTO Conf and ACP Group * Ministers of ACP Group Belize, September 9 Representatives: All Representatives: Barbados, Dominica, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia * Meeting with Organization of Islamic Conference * Minister of Republic of China September 9 Representative: Guyana September 8 September 9 September 9 Representatives: Guyana, Jamaica Representatives: All Representatives: All

September 9

September 11 Representatives: Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis

* Minister Dept. of International Development (UK) September 12 Representatives: N/A


WTO Panel for Antigua & Barbuda The WTO Director-General appointed a Panel, August 25, in response to a request by Antigua and Barbuda for such a Panel to adjudicate a complaint it brought against the United States. Antigua and Barbuda contends that a US ban on the cross-border supply of gaming and betting services from Antigua and Barbuda to the US violates US commitments under the General Agreement of Trade in Services which seeks to create equal conditions of competition for domestic and foreign service suppliers. The WTO Dispute Settlement Body authorized the establishment of a Panel to hear Antigua and Barbuda’s complaint on July 21 after the country presented its case. EU Moves to Protect ‘Foodstuffs’ At the Cancún Ministerial Conference the EU is set to submit the names of over forty foodstuffs it is seeking protection for against use by others except the ‘original’ European producing country or region. The list includes a host of products from Champagne to certain types of cheeses. US FTAs Signed US President, George Bush, signed the US-Chile and US-Singapore free trade agreements (FTAs), September 3. On July 31 the accords were passed in the US Senate. The legislation implementing the Chile and Singapore FTAs with the United States was passed by the United States House of Representatives, July 24. At the signing ceremony, Bush reiterated that ‘soon’ the United States would begin negotiations with the Dominican Republic. Small Economies Statement The Second Special Meeting of COTED on External Economic Negotiations, September 3 to 4, considered a ‘Draft Small Economies Statement’ for the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference. The statement, to be delivered on the occasion of the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference, is supported by Caribbean countries, including Indian Ocean and Pacific islands. The Statement expresses the deep concerns of supporting countries over the marginalization of small developing economies and advocates the urgent need to confront this issue. It underscores the particular structural disadvantages and vulnerabilities of small developing economies, maintaining that the peculiarities of these economies must be accommodated in the formulation and application of multilateral trade rules as well as

in the liberalization undertakings required of them. The Statement calls on WTO members to take a number of decisions at the Cancún Ministerial Conference. A small economies conference, organized in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, is set to be convened on the margins of the Cancún Ministerial. Top Non-Governmental Organization at COTED Martin Khor of the Third World Network (TWN), an independent international network of organizations conducting research and engaged in advocacy on economic, social and environmental issues pertaining to developing countries, addressed the recent COTED meeting, September 3 to 4. Mr. Khor reviewed the results of analysis the TWN had conducted on the ‘Draft Cancún Ministerial Text’. The study which was presented at the meeting blasted the draft Text; concluding “the draft is very imbalanced, with many aspects of it damaging to the developing countries’ interests. On the ‘developmental aspects’ of the Doha agenda, there is no or little gain for developing countries”. US Lawmakers Blast ‘Singapore Issues’ In a letter to United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Zoellick, September 4, two prominent US lawmakers – Representative Charles B. Rangel and Sander M. Levin called on the US to “oppose efforts to require that the four ‘Singapore Issues’ - investment, competition rules, transparency in government procurement, and trade facilitation – be explicitly linked”. The letter concludes “the […Doha…] Ministerial Declaration launching the current round of WTO negotiations did not call for any link between negotiations on the so-called ‘Singapore Issues’.” Another WTO Ministerial Slated A notification was circulated to WTO members, August 25, in which Hong Kong’s Secretary of Commerce announced his government’s offer to host the Sixth WTO Ministerial conference. The ministerial is slated for late 2004. This would be dependent on progress made in the Doha Round at Cancún and beyond. An interim ministerial meeting has also been discussed. The timeframe has not yet been confirmed, it has – however - been discussed in the context of early next year; its likely mandate being to address any outstanding matters arising from the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference.

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For More Information Contact: Nand C. Bardouille Tel: (246) 430-1678 email: Previous issues of RNM UPDATE are archived on and can be downloaded from the RNM website:
The ‘RNM DRAFT CALENDAR 2003’, that provides an account of hemispheric and multilateral trade meetings, is available on the RNM website.