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WTO
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devesh
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WTO - May 6th, 2006

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Re: WTO
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Gaurav Garg
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Re: WTO - August 19th, 2007

Doha Summit.
The November 2001 declaration of the ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar provides the mandate for negotiations on a range of subjects and work including issues concerning the implementation of the agreements.

The 21 subjects were listed in the Doha Declaration. Most of them involve negotiations and other works including actions under “implementation”, analysis and monitoring.

In Doha First, ministers agreed to adopt around 50 decisions clarifying the obligations of developing Country member Governments with respect to issues including agriculture, subsidies, textiles and clothing, technical barriers to trade, trade-related investment measures and rules of Origin. Agreement on these points required hard bargaining between negotiators over the course of nearly three years.

Many other implementation issues of concern to developing countries have not been settled. For these issues, Ministers agreed in Doha on a future work programme for addressing these matters.

The ministers established a two-track approach. Those issues for which there was an agreed negotiating mandate in the declaration would be dealt with under the terms of that mandate.

HIGHLIGHTS ON DOHA ROUND

Agriculture

Negotiations on agriculture began in early 2000, under Article 20 of the WTO Agriculture Agreement. By November 2001 and the Doha Ministerial Conference, 121 Governments had submitted a number of negotiating proposals.

The declaration reconfirms the long-term objectives already agreed in the present WTO Agreement i, e to establish a fair and market-oriented trading system through a programme of fundamental reform. The programme encompasses strengthened rules, and specific commitments on Government support and protection for agriculture. The purpose is to correct and prevent restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets.

Without prejudging the outcome, member governments commit themselves to comprehensive negotiations that aimed at as follows

1) Market access: substantial reductions

2) Exports subsidies: reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of these

3) Domestic support: substantial reductions for supports that distort trade

The declaration makes special and differential treatment for developing countries throughout the negotiations. It declares that the outcome should be effective in practice and should enable the developing countries for meeting their needs, in particular in food security and rural development.

The ministers also take note of the non-trade concerns (such as environmental protection, food security, rural development, etc) reflected in the negotiating proposals already submitted. They had confirmed that the negotiations would take these into account, as provided in the Agricultural Agreement.

SERVICES

The WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) commits member governments to undertake negotiations on specific issues and to enter into successive rounds of negotiations to progressively liberalize trade in services.

The services negotiations started officially in early 2000 under the Council for Trade in Services. In March 2001, the Services Council fulfilled a key element in the negotiating mandate by establishing the negotiating guidelines and procedures.

The Doha Declaration reaffirms the negotiating guidelines and procedures, and establishes some key elements of the timetable including, most importantly, the deadline for concluding the negotiations as part of a single undertaking.
Market Access for non-Agricultural Products

The ministers came to an agreement to launch tariff-cutting negotiations on all non-agricultural products. The aim is “to reduce, or as appropriate eliminate tariffs, including the reduction or elimination of tariff peaks, high tariffs, and tariff escalation, as well as non-tariff barriers, in particular on products of export interest to developing countries”. These negotiations shall take into account the special needs and interests of developing and least-developed countries, and recognize that these countries do not need to match or reciprocate in full tariff-reduction commitments by other participants.

Another example is “tariff escalation”, in which higher import duties were applied on semi-processed products than on raw materials and higher still on finished products. These practices protect domestic processing industries and discourage the development of processing activities in the countries where raw materials originate.

Trade related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

TRIPS and Public Health

In the declaration, ministers have stressed that it is important to implement and interpret the TRIPS Agreement in a way that supports public health — by promoting both access to existing medicines and the creation of new medicines. They refer to their separate declaration on this subject.

This special declaration on TRIPS and public health is designed to respond concerns about the possible implications of the TRIPS Agreement for access to medicines.

It emphasizes that the TRIPS Agreement does not and should not prevent member governments from acting to protect public health. It affirms governments’ right to use the agreement’s flexibilities in order to avoid any reticence the governments may feel.

The separate declaration clarifies some of the forms of flexibility available, in particular compulsory licensing and parallel importing. (For an explanation of these issues, go to the main TRIPS pages on the WTO website)

Transparency In Government Procurement

The Doha Declaration says that the “negotiations shall be limited to the transparency aspects and therefore that will not restrict the scope for countries to give preferences to domestic supplies and suppliers” — it is separate from the plurilateral Government Procurement Agreement.

The declaration had stressed development concerns, technical assistance and capacity building.

Since the 1 August 2004 decision, this subject has been dropped from the Doha agenda.

WTO Rules: Anti Dumping and Subsidies: -

The ministers agreed on negotiations concerning the Anti-Dumping (GATT Article 6) and Subsidies agreements. The aim is to clarify and improve disciplines while preserving the basic, concepts, principles of these agreements, and taking into account the needs of developing and least-developed participants.

In overlapping negotiating phases, participants first indicated which provisions of these two agreements they think should be the subject of clarification and improvement in the next phase of negotiations. The ministers mention specifically fisheries subsidies as one sector important to developing countries and where participants should aim to clarify and improve WTO disciplines.
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Uruguay Round
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Gaurav Garg
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Thumbs up Uruguay Round - August 19th, 2007

URUGUAY ROUND


1. Agreement on trade in services :
In the Uruguay Round , for the first time, trade in services like banking, insurance, travel, labour movement, transportation etc. was brought under negotiations. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is te first multilateral agreement on trade in services and it has as its objective, the liberalization of trade in all services. All member nations are bound to open their services sector to domestic private and foreign competition.

2. Agreement to Manufactured goods:
The developed countries agreed t reduce tariffs on manufactured goods other than textiles , by 40% . The tariffs would now be brought down to an average of 3.8% form the earlier 6.3%.

3. Agreement on agriculture:
The objective of this agreement is to increase market orientation in agriculture in the member nations. The members are required to transform their non-tariff barriers like quotas into equivalent tariff measures. The tariffs resulting from such transformation and other tariffs on agricultural products are to be reduced on an average by 36% over a period of 6 years in case of developed countries , and 24 % over a period of 10 years in case of developing countries. No such commitments were necessary in case of least developed countries.

4. Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (Multi-Fibre Arrangement):
The Multi- Fibre Arrangement (MBA) is in force since n the 1973 Uruguay Round it was agreed that the import quotas on textiles and clothing in force under the MFA, would be phased out over a span of 10 years, by the end of transition period on January 1,2005.

5. Agreement on TRIPs (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) :
Intellectual Property Right (IPRs) seek to protect the interest of inventors and developers of products and processes from being copied by others. IPRs were the first given importance in the Paris Contention of Industrial Property (1883). References of IPRs were present in GATT. However , the Uruguay Round strengthened IPRs through the TRIPs agreement.





The main features of the TRIPs agreement are:

• Minimum standard of protection to be provided by each member.

• Domestic procedures must be put in place for enforcement of IPRs by each member nation.

• Dispute settlement between WTO members.

TRIPs agreements cover the following areas : copyright and related rights, trade marks including services marks , industrial designs, geographical indications, patents, layout designs of integrated circuits and protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets. A transition period of five years is available to all developing nations to give effect to the provisions of the TRIPs agreements.

6. Agreement on TRIMs (Trade Related Investment Measures) ;
This includes introduction of measures to be adopted by member countries to treat foreign investments on par with domestic investments and also removal of quantitative restrictions on imports. Some investment measures that discriminate against foreign investment were identified as being inconsistent with GATT. These are :

• Obligation on foreign investors to use local inputs.

• To produce for exports as a condition to obtain imported inputs
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Re: WTO
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Gaurav Garg
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Thumbs up Re: WTO - August 19th, 2007

IMPACT ON THE INDIAN ECONOMY

The signing of the WTO agreements will have far reaching effects not only on India’s foreign trade but also on its internal economy. Some of the effects may be favorable, while many of them will be adverse. The exact nature of the impact of the WTO agreements on the Indian economy may not be very clear as yet, but some analysis can be done on the broad and general impact.


FAVOURABLE IMPACT

1. Increase in export earnings:
According to the estimates prepared by the World Bank, OECD and GATT Secretariat, the overall trade impact, as a consequence of the Uruguay Round Package will be an addition to traded merchandise goods by $745 billion in the year 2005. the largest increases would be in case of clothing (60 per cent), processed food and beverages (19 per cent), agriculture, forestry and fishery products (20 per cent). In all these sectors, India has potential export competitiveness. Assuming that India’s share in world exports improves for the present 0.5 per cent and India is able to take advantage of the opportunities that are created, the additional export earnings will be about $2.7 billion per year. A more generous estimate ranges between $3.5 billion and $7 billion worth of additional exports per year.


2. Agricultural exports:
Reduction of trade barriers and domestic subsidies in agriculture is likely to raise international prices of agricultural products. India hopes to benefit from this in the form of higher export earnings from agriculture. This seems to be possible because all major agriculture development programmes in India will be exempted from the provisions of the WTO agreement. As a developing nation, India need not withdraw agricultural subsidies as long as they remain within the specified limits prescribed by the Agreement. Thus, India hopes to take advantage from the reduction of subsidies in the developed countries.


3. Export of textiles and clothing:
With the phasing out of MFA, export of textiles and clothing will increase and this will be beneficial for India. However, there are certain important issues that are to be considered as far as phasing out of MFA is concerned. While the developed countries demanded a 15-year period for phasing out of MFA, the developing countries, including India, insisted that it be done in 10 years. The Uruguay Round accepted the demand of the latter. But the phasing out schedule favors the developed countries because a major portion of the quota regime is going to be removed only in the 10th year, i.e. 2005. Therefore, the developed countries do not have immediate market access in case of textile exports. By the time the phasing out programme is complete, the developed countries will already have geared themselves up to face competition by improving quality and productive efficiency. Thus, even though it may seem that India will gain from the phasing out of MFA, there are several factors that will determine this. The removal of quotas will benefit not only India but also every other country. Thus, India will have to compete with china, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Indonesia in the international textile market. India can only gain substantially if its own supply constraints are removed.


4. Multilateral rules and disciplines:
It is expected that the rules and disciplines related to practices like anti-dumping, subsidies and countervailing measure, safeguards and dispute settlements will create conditions of fair trade and provide level playing ground for all trading countries. Such conditions will benefit India in its efforts to globalize its economy.
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Re: WTO - July 30th, 2008

How is intellectual property acts in Indian IT sector? how do they value the sofwares
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Re: WTO
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Rohit Nayyar
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Re: WTO - July 7th, 2009

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Hi friends
posting Complete guide to WTO
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