Mediterranean products and the fate of the doha round
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Mediterranean Products and the Fate of the Doha Round. Tim Josling Stanford University. Since Montpellier. Doha Round put on hold on July 24 Technical discussions started in fall Informal contacts on possible solutions But no new offers tabled (as of 11/30) Prospects look slim but not zero.

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Mediterranean Products and the Fate of the Doha Round

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Mediterranean products and the fate of the doha round

Mediterranean Products and the Fate of the Doha Round

Tim Josling

Stanford University


Since montpellier

Since Montpellier

  • Doha Round put on hold on July 24

  • Technical discussions started in fall

  • Informal contacts on possible solutions

  • But no new offers tabled (as of 11/30)

  • Prospects look slim but not zero

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Since montpellier1

Since Montpellier

  • Regional Agreements have been sprouting like weeds

  • Main growth is in Asia

  • US hurrying to get FTAs approved

  • Canada winding up half-finished agreements

  • EU trying to catch up in Asia

  • EU also under pressure to complete EPAs

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Outline

Outline

  • What would happen if no agreement is reached in DDA by April?

  • Will the WTO multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade?

  • How might one reconcile the multilateral system with the proliferation of regional and bilateral agreements?

  • Does it matter to producers and consumers of Mediterranean products?

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


What might happen if no agreement is reached in dda by april

What might happen if no agreement is reached in DDA by April?

  • Round could be formally closed?

  • Round could be suspended for a period of a couple of years?

  • Possibility of a freeze to lock in current low (agricultural) subsidies and applied tariffs?

  • Partial round with scaled down package?

  • Extension of TPA to allow time for completion: agreement in June?

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


What might happen if no agreement is reached in dda by april1

What might happen if no agreement is reached in DDA by April?

  • New round could be started in (say) five years time

  • May require rethink of agenda

    • Include topics excluded from this round (Singapore Issues?)

    • Mode 4 Services

    • SPS/TBT

    • Green Box

    • TRIPS (including GIs)

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Will the wto multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade

Will the WTO multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade?

  • WTO still includes basic trade rules and a dispute settlement system

  • Rules are valuable to most countries

  • Small countries in particular rely on rule-based multilateral system

  • No sign (yet) that larger countries are contemplating abandoning WTO system

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Will the wto multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade1

Will the WTO multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade?

  • WTO litigation could take place of negotiation?

  • DSU has become a driver of change in policies

    • EU sugar

    • US cotton

  • US could face challenges under serious prejudice for rice and corn (if prices decline)

    • Impact of production on world market

    • Price effect hurts competing producers

  • EU could face challenges on processing subsidies, single farm payment

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Will the wto multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade2

Will the WTO multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade?

  • However, resistance could increase from domestic lawmakers (e.g. Peterson?)

  • Not all cases might be won

  • Only large countries vulnerable to challenge

  • Remedies still difficult to determine

  • Sanctions by small countries may be ineffective

  • May lead back to negotiation to settle cases

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Will the wto multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade3

Will the WTO multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade?

  • Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements proliferating

  • Loss of support for non-discrimination, even in Asia

  • US hampered by Congressional reluctance (still suffering from NAFTA debate)

  • Trend towards “bigger” agreements makes them more interesting

  • WTO compatibility could become a major issue

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Will the wto multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade4

Will the WTO multilateral rule system continue as the basis for world trade?

  • Proliferation is not necessarily a bad thing

  • More likely to include “low cost” supplier in the RTA

  • Agglomeration into small number of blocs unlikely

  • Developing countries will try to have access into all developed country markets

  • Developed countries will search for larger prizes

  • What’s wrong with spaghetti?

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


How might one reconcile the wto with the regional and bilateral agreements

How might one reconcile the WTO with the regional and bilateral agreements?

  • WTO rules still apply to trade within RTAs (except EU)

  • WTO dispute settlement process still the most effective, even for settling regional disputes

  • WTO can deal with subsidy issues better than RTAs

  • WTO negotiations needed to reduce the margins of preference in RTAs

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


How might one reconcile the wto with the regional and bilateral agreements1

How might one reconcile the WTO with the regional and bilateral agreements?

  • We already have a “mixed” trade system

    • Common trade rules

    • “WTO Plus” RTAs

  • Task is to bring coherence

    • Clarify WTO compatibility (“substantially all trade”)

    • Simplify rules of origin (encourage cumulation)

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


How might one reconcile the wto with the regional and bilateral agreements2

How might one reconcile the WTO with the regional and bilateral agreements?

  • WTO could “internalize” RTAs and referee conflicts among the “alternative” trade systems

  • Incorporate RTAs into debates and decisions

  • Take advantage of dynamics of RTAs

  • Expand monitoring RTA compliance

  • RTAs will continue to be the “easier” way to trade market access commitments

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Does it matter to producers and consumers of mediterranean products

Does it matter to producers and consumers of Mediterranean products?

  • If the DDA fails, opportunity lost for some significant trade reform

  • Agricultural market agreement would have created significant trade opportunities for producers of fruits and vegetables

  • Domestic Support would have been cut in the EU to the advantage of efficient producers

  • No more disruptive export subsidies (including subsidies to offset raw material costs)

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Does it matter to producers and consumers of mediterranean products1

Does it matter to producers and consumers of Mediterranean products?

  • NAMA would have created some trade opportunities for Med products (including fish?)

  • Further liberalization of the service market (wholesale trade) would be postponed

  • Trade Facilitation (removing administrative and other customs barriers) would also have helped exporters of fruits and vegetables

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Does it matter to producers and consumers of mediterranean products2

Does it matter to producers and consumers of Mediterranean products?

  • On the other hand, DDA agenda tended to be focused on grains, oilseeds, livestock, dairy and sugar

  • Trade in Med products is often restricted by non-tariff measures

  • SPS issues always identified as major barrier

  • GIs cause conflicts for wines, spirits, and other products

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Does it matter to producers and consumers of mediterranean products3

Does it matter to producers and consumers of Mediterranean products?

  • Are these possible Agenda items on the next WTO round?

  • Can these issues be resolved satisfactorily at at a regional level?

  • Are private sector standards more important than government regulations in controlling this trade?

  • Can developing countries participate on an equal footing in Med product trade?

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • DDA is not “dead” but is more dependent than ever on the US Congress

  • Litigation is likely to be pursued but is not a good substitute for negotiation

  • Regional trade agreements are the best chance for progress in improving market access

  • The next WTO round is some way off but may be even more relevant for Med products

Josling Cal/Med Workshop, Washington DC


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