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10th WTO Ministerial Conference adopted Nairobi Package

Dec 21, 2015 18:54 IST

The five-day long 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference concluded on 19 December 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference concluded with the adoption of the Nairobi Package that is aimed at benefitting organization’s poorest members.

The conference was attended by trade ministers of 162 member countries of the WTO. India was represented by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce & Industry Nirmala Sitharaman. It is for the first such meeting hosted by an African nation.

The Nairobi Package contains a series of six Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries. These include

Agriculture

Developing country members will have the right to have recourse to a special safeguard mechanism (SSM) for agricultural products.

Members shall engage constructively to negotiate and make all concerted efforts to agree and adopt a permanent solution on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes.

In relation to agricultural products, developed members shall immediately eliminate their remaining scheduled export subsidy entitlements, while developing country members shall eliminate their export subsidy entitlements by the end of 2018.

Cotton

The decision related to cotton includes three agriculture elements viz., market access, domestic support and export competition.

On market access, the decision calls for cotton from LDCs to be given duty-free and quota-free access to the markets of developed countries — and to those of developing countries declaring that they are able to do so — from 1 January 2016.

The domestic support part of the cotton decision acknowledges members' reforms in their domestic cotton policies and stresses that more efforts remain to be made.

On export competition for cotton, the decision mandates that developed countries prohibit cotton export subsidies immediately and developing countries do so at a later date.

LDC Issues

The Ministerial Conference adopted a decision that will facilitate opportunities for least-developed countries' export of goods to both developed and developing countries under unilateral preferential trade arrangements in favour of LDCs.

On the services front, the conference decided on implementation of preferential treatment in favour of services and service suppliers of Least Developed Countries and increasing LDC Participation in services trade.

Expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA)

Along with the above decisions, the conference agreed on the timetable for implementing a landmark deal to eliminate tariffs on 201 information technology products valued at over 1.3 trillion US dollars per year.

Negotiations on the expanded ITA were conducted by 53 WTO members, including both developed and developing countries, which account for approximately 90 per cent of world trade in these products.

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