The Nairobi package of the latest WTO summit has been a huge disappointment for developing countries especially India, where the agrarian crisis is reflected in the plethora of farmer suicides and agriculture related problems highlighted every day in newspapers.
It was to be a continuation of the issues discussed since 2001 in the Doha Development Round talks. The main objective of the DDR was to make an agreement on better trade facilitation for developing countries. The pending issues were related to food security waiver and ending agriculture subsidies to developed countries.
India has been pressing on the need to cut agricultural subsidies in developed economies as it poses a problem to the trade of agricultural products from developing countries. However, the Nairobi Ministerial Declaration on the occasion of the WTO’s twentieth anniversary, with its six ministerial decisions on agriculture, cotton and Least Developed countries issues has not done justice due to its favouring of the interests of developed nations.
The decision related to food security in developing economies like public stock holding of food, export competition still needs to be taken but the but the USA and the EU continued to press on the discussion of issues other than those in the DDA Agenda.
Another major disappointment was the lack of unanimous reaffirmation of the Doha Development Agenda which was a major reason why the final declaration was announced neglecting the cries of the developing nations.
Thus, the DDR has now become a thing of the past and the very existence of the WTO is in question. Instead of prioritising work in areas like protection of poor farmers and food security where results have not been achieved, some are busy identifying other issues for negotiation. The future of WTO depends on the 162 member nations.