Trade Commentary - November 2007
Proposed deadlines for a completion to the Doha round continue to come and go. The CFA’s last trade commentary had mentioned that a revised modality text on agriculture could be completed by as early as November leading the possibility of ministerial meetings by December 2007. The deadline for a revised modalities text on agriculture (and non agriculture market access) has now been pushed into 2008. Although progress is crawling along, Crawford Falconer has been pleased with recent negotiations and noted that it was important to maintain this momentum into the New Year.
Much of the negotiations in November focused on sensitive products, special products, special safeguard mechanisms, and Tariff Quota Expansion. Also, during the first 2 weeks of November Falconer released a group of working documents reflecting the latest progress on issues pertaining to export subsidies, export credit, state trading enterprises and food aid. The purpose of these documents was to demonstrate areas where negotiations have reached some level of convergence but also to bring the remaining issues surrounding these topics back to the negotiating table to spur further discussion. Apparently Falconer was quite satisfied with the reaction of the working papers and may use this methodology on other topics such as sensitive products and special products to encourage and expedite discussions.
Negotiations in Geneva will continue until Dec 7 and reconvene after Christmas on January 7th for a two week period. At the end of January ministers from around the world will assemble at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A new modalities text is expected after the meetings sometime in February.