http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.14Change: 0.09
R/$ = 10.51Change: 0.07
Au 1304.80 $/ozChange: -2.55
Pt 1483.50 $/ozChange: 0.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 07, 2008

Trade deal hinges on 'all blocs' feeling that they had gained some new market access

Back
 
Agriculture|Doha|Engineering|Geneva|Johannesburg|Africa|Industrial|International Herald Tribune|Reuters|Africa|Botswana|Brazil|India|Japan|Namibia|South Africa|United Kingdom|United States|Environmental Protection Agency|European Commission|European Union|South African Department|South African Institute Of International Affairs|World Trade Organisation|Gareth Thomas|Pascal Lamy|Xavier Carim|International Herald Tribune|Sub-Saharan Africa
Agriculture|Engineering||Africa|Industrial||Africa|||||
agriculture|doha-city|engineering|geneva|johannesburg|africa-company|industrial|international-herald-tribune|reuters|africa|botswana|brazil|india|japan|namibia|south-africa|united-kingdom|united-states|environmental-protection-agency|european-commission|european-union|south-african-department|south-african-institute-of-international-affairs|world-trade-organisation|gareth-thomas|pascal-lamy|xavier-carim|international-herald-tribune-published-medium|subsaharan-africa
© Reuse this



Despite being framed as a ‘development round’, in reality, progress would only be achieved at the current World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks if all “blocs felt that they had secured some new market access”, the UK’s Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Trade, Gareth Thomas, said in Johannesburg on Monday.

Speaking at a briefing organised by the South African Institute of International Affairs, Thomas said that the key to unblocking the impasse lay in compromises from both developed and developing countries.

He said developed countries, particularly the US, needed to show flexibility on improving both agricultural market access as well as dealing with trade distorting subsidies.

But he added that the so-called Nama 11, which included powerful developing countries, such as South Africa, Brazil and India, would also need to show movement on liberalisation regarding non-agricultural market access (Nama).

The Nama 11 group had hitherto opposed what they saw as ambitious cuts in industrial tariffs for what they described as modest and uncertain agriculture reforms in the highly protected agriculture market of the US, European Union and Japan.

Thomas concurred with the conventional wisdom that argued that failure to end the logjam at the July 21 ministerial meeting, scheduled for Geneva, would be a serious setback. In fact, he warned that the talks would only be able to resume again in "18 months to two years, if at all”, given upcoming elections in the US and India, as well as the fact that there would be changes in the composition of the European Commission.

“We risk losing the important progress that has been made on market access and trade distorting agriculture subsidies,” Thomas said, arguing that “we are at a pivotal moment”.

Last week, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy described July as "the moment of truth" for a long-sought global trade pact, with Reuters quoting him as warning that a failure would erode economic growth, sour diplomatic ties and hurt poor countries.

"The coming weeks represent the moment of truth for the Doha round," Lamy, a former EU trade commissioner, said in a memorandum to Ministers, published in the International Herald Tribune.

"A deal in agriculture and industrial goods would generate an unstoppable momentum and bring quick resolution to the round ... Agreement is within our reach but all of us will have to stretch a bit to get there," he added.

Earlier, South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) deputy director-general for international trade and economic development Xavier Carim told Engineering News that "we have a window of opportunity now and it needs to be taken – if we don’t take it, we won’t see any significant progress for the rest of the year".

“If we get the frameworks in place, and get the big numbers agreed by June or July, then a lot of the other work will just fall into place," Carim asserted.

It was now common cause, therefore, that the two key issues in Geneva would be progress on agriculture reform, as well as access to industrial markets – developing countries had fought hard to keep the latter from overwhelming the agenda.

But Thomas conceded that any flexibility shown by the Nama 11 should be balanced by the developmental agenda. "But, there will need to be some flexibility from the Nama 11. As to how much flexibility would be up for discussion," he said.

For its part, South Africa had consistently warned that great vigilance was required to safeguard the country's policy flexibility, particularly in the area of industrial products, particularly given the growing pressure on developing countries to make ‘onerous’ concessions.

Sticking to the UK government’s consistent position that trade liberalisation was linked to both growth and development, Thomas said that the poorest in sub-Saharan Africa would be hardest hit by a failure of the Doha development agenda.

Earlier in the day, Thomas had met trade officials from South Africa to discuss both Doha as well as the “provocative” issue of the economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the South African Development Community.

These EPA talks had split the region and the Southern African Customs Union, with some countries signing up and others, such as South Africa and Namibia, refusing to do so.

Thomas indicated that the UK government had sympathy for the positions taken by South Africa and Namibia, and had urged the European Commission to be more “flexible” in the second-phase of EPA discussions that were now resuming.

He stressed though that it supported the need for WTO compatibility and for a deal that encouraged greater regional integration. But unlike the European Commission, which had pushed for the so-called ‘new trade’ issues on services and government procurement, Thomas indicated that African countries should be allowed to “set the pace of travel”. That said, the UK still felt a deal was achievable and should be concluded as soon as possible.

On leaving South Africa after the bilateral forum on Tuesday, Thomas would be visiting his trade counterparts in Botswana and Namibia to canvass their views on the future of the EPA.


Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Latest News
Updated 3 hours ago President Jacob Zuma announced the composition on Wednesday of the ‘Energy Security Cabinet Sub-Committee’, which he said would oversee the development of South Africa’s future energy mix. Delivering his Budget Vote in the National Assembly, Zuma said the...
Cesa CEO Lefadi Makibinyane
Updated 3 hours ago Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) on Wednesday stated that it welcomed government’s move to lead municipalities back to basics and to put in place institutional mechanisms to enable them to deliver core municipal services, as announced by Cooperative...
Updated 3 hours ago JSE-listed construction firm Group Five on Wednesday announced that it expected its fully diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year ended June 30 to be between 20% and 30% higher, at 382c to 414c, than the fully-diluted HEPS of 318c achieved during the...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Local aerospace company Denel Aerostructures (DAe), part of the State-owned Denel Group, has won a fourth contract to manufacture parts for the Airbus A400M military air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft. The new contract, which was won in an international...
Bob Skinstad
Although CEO Mark McChlery and chief marketing officer Bob Skinstad likened themselves to children in a playground when taking on the task of “reengineering and repositioning” the Seartec brand, the “young, dynamic and enthusiastic guys” were like proud...
An increasing number of buyers, in both the new and used car markets, are opting for finance structures that lower their monthly repayments, says asset financing company WesBank. These include the use of large balloon payments (also known as residuals), as well as...
Tertiary education institutions can use search engine giant Google’s Chromebook to provide secure mobile end-point devices for students on which they can share documents, work collaboratively on documents and access education materials and applications being used...
Local ceiling and partition company Abbeycon has beaten global competition at the Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy competition, which was held last month in Berlin, Germany.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks