Stronger WTO

  • 14/10/2003

 Stronger WTO What will happen to issues now?
All these issues will go back to Geneva for rehashing. Now, people know the varied positions. Based on those new positions and new understanding, they will come back to another ministerial perhaps to be determined later. This is not the end of the road. On the last day, we couldn't agree. Most importantly, there is no agreement to negotiate modalities on the new issues.

Is that success?
No. It is neither a success nor a failure. But it does reflect that we did have a wide gap of understanding between the proponents of the new issues, who wanted negotiations on the modalities to start here in Cancun, and the rest of us who have been for the last few years telling them we're not ready. Now people understand better. And I hope that after Geneva, with better understanding, those who are proposing the new issues will not take things lightly.

What about the way the US and the EU have played their cards?
Its always been the case that the EU represent themselves as the demandeurs , and I have pointed out to Pascal, in this negotiations process, there is no demand and give. You don't demand and we don't give. It is something that we sit together and we decide. So, as long as you have a demandeur position, this is what is going to happen.

Do you think you have achieved a coming-together?
Well. For me, it is a very good thing that developing countries began to realise that on issues of common interest, if they speak with one voice, they can actually make a difference. And, to me, that is a very good thing. Then the WTO becomes an organisation where nobody feels marginalised.

We have now got a stronger WTO or a weaker WTO?
Stronger WTO. Why? Because even the smallest member now can impress upon the WTO what they feel about issues.

Isn't the US likely to go unilateral?
Nobody can go unilateral because the existing WTO rules are there. And if anybody goes unilateral now, it reflects badly on them.

Is the Doha round dead that way?
The Doha round still has till 2005. So, in Geneva, if things can be rehashed and if there is time for another ministerial before 2005, they will continue. It is a process.

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