The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was launched in 1995, and since then, five Ministerial conferences have

been held. The Doha Ministerial in 2001 was declared the Development Round, and was marked by a core concern: that the multilateral trading system should benefit the developing countries that constitute over three quarters of WTO members. The Doha declaration pledged to enable developing countries to ‘secure a share in the growth of world trade through two key routes:
• •

Improving market access to Northern markets for developing countries by reducing import tariffs. Phasing out domestic and export subsidies, that enable the overproduction of goods at very low prices, often leading to the dumping of these goods at prices that are cheaper than those of locally produced goods

The most strategic area identified for reform at Doha was agriculture, followed by non-agricultural market access (NAMA), and trade in services (GATS). Yet, in the intervening period, Northern countries have proved unwilling to open up their agricultural markets, without a commitment from developing countries to lower their own barriers in services and nonagricultural goods. Rich countries also want to limit the scope of Special and Differential Treatment Measures (SDT) . Special and Differential Treatment allows
for developed countries to treat developing countries more favourably than other WTO members, and also for flexibility in the rate at which developing countries are expected to liberalise. Thus, the promise of Doha as a catalyst for development has

largely not been met.

GATS
What is meant by 'trade in services'?
Services include such varied things as health, water, education, transport, internet usage, fast food outlets , tourism and telecommunications. The General Agreement in Trade in Services (GATS) deals with this diversity of sectors by setting out rules that are specific to 'modes' that group certain types of services. These are:

Cross-border supply: Services supplied from one country to another (e.g. international telephone calls)

water. foreign banks setting up operations in a country) Presence of natural persons: Individuals travelling from their own country to supply services in another (e.g. Tariffs are also an efficient and effective way of raising government revenue in the form of taxes. and the emerging economies of Asia used tariffs to protect new industries. Efforts are being made to encourage developing countries to incorporate privatisation . others argue that nearly all developed countries. The Doha Round and agriculture Northern agricultural protectionism .• • • Consumption abroad: Consumers or firms making use of a service in another country (e. have the opportunity to take over these services. However. NAMA What is NAMA? Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations were launched at the Doha Ministerial Meeting in 2001 as part of the Doha Round. consumer electronics. the fear is that they will be monopolised and services priced out of the reach of poorer people.consultants or nurses) Self –understand its easy The GATS aims to liberalise services. with their well-established and well-financed business models. footwear. The NAMA is often referred to as negotiations about industrial goods.g. such as health. Those arguing for reductions in these tariffs say that only free trade can lead to the creation of efficient new industries and forestry and fishing sectors. textiles.Privatisation of services is said by some to offer improved services to poor countries and by others to be an opportunity for transnational corporations to make large profits. The aim of NAMA is to reduce tariffs on industrial goods as auto. but it also includes forestry and fishing products. When transnational corporations. etc. These policies are controversial because the GATS is said to force governments to privatise services that most consider to be public goods that should be accessible to all. On these still there is no consensus and the talks were suspended in 2006. education etc.g. usually in place to protect domestic industries. Developing countries tend to have the highest tariffs. tourism) Commercial pressure: A foreign company setting up subsidies or branches to provide services in another country (e.

since they are seen as distorting . the . and that they are entitled to ‘special and differential treatment’. there is also a group of so-called ‘advanced’ developing countries. However. One of the aims of Doha has been to erode these PTAs. The United States has vowed that it wants to remove all trade barriers. This group is thus pushing for more liberalisation in order to exploit their competitive advantages. and these are often fiercely protected internationally. the sector is heavily subsidised and protected in both of these industrialised trade giants. the poorest group of developing countries in the Doha Development Round. which allow least developed countries to benefit from lowered tariffs on certain products. this figure is even lower. but is subject to political pressure from such groups as cotton farmers. However. at around 1%.Many countries have large and economically significant agricultural sectors. and for flexibility in the rate at which developing countries are expected to liberalise. Preferential trade agreements The most significant expression of SDT is non-reciprocal Preferential Trade Agreements. Special and differential treatment Special and Differential Treatment allows for developed countries to treat developing countries more favourably than other WTO members. As a result. Despite the marginal economic value of agriculture.7% n In the US. agriculture contributes only 1. the majority of developing countries depend on agriculture as a provider of livelihoods. in the EU. to boost their access to international markets without the requirement of lowering their own tariffs in return. Developing countries and agriculture In contrast to the Northern developed countries. that have large and efficient agricultural systems. the G90. such as Brazil. is pushing hard to make sure their interests are recognised.

The erosion of the PTAs has prompted much discussion. One key area of debate is the EU's plan to replace its non-reciprocal PTAs with ACP countries with Economic Partnership Agreements that would require the elimination of ACP tariffs. The rationale is that the introduction of duty and quota free access for products from LDCs will erase the necessity for PTAs. .paths to multilateral trade liberalisation.