International and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI),
in association with the Department of Commerce, Government of India,
Commonwealth Secretariat and India office of the World Bank are jointly
organising a Conference on ‘Global Partnership for Development’ in New Delhi,
India on August 12-13, 2008. The idea for this Conference was conceived in the
backdrop of slow progress in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Round of
multilateral trade negotiations. Although in no sense substitutes for the
multilateral process of the Doha Round, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
negotiations involving the African, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) countries
and the European Union (EU) may not yield desired developmental outcomes.
Doha Round was dubbed as the ‘Development Round’ even though a completely
successful Doha Round cannot possibly solve the serious developmental problems
in most least developed countries (LDCs), many of which are domestic in nature.
Yet, after seven years of tortuous negotiations poor countries are now concerned
that the possible outcomes are unlikely to offer anything meaningful to them,
since prospects of significant reductions in market access barriers faced by
many of them are dim.
significant domestic supply constraints limit their ability to take advantage of
increased global trade and investment flows. Similarly, an overwhelming majority
of ACP countries are increasingly realising that their Preferential Trading
Arrangements (PTAs) with the EU, which are to be transformed to reciprocal
preferential schemes (WTO consistent), can hardly help them to increase their
share in world trade and deliver development.
international trade is recognised as an important vehicle for fostering economic
growth, lack of supply-side capacity along with market access barriers have
reduced development opportunities for a large number of poor and most vulnerable
countries, threatening the objective of achieving a number of their own
There is a
widespread recognition of the need for developed countries to help developing
countries achieve their development goals, which necessarily will go beyond the
development goals envisaged in the Doha Round and EPA negotiations.
is that the eight goals of the so called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in
particular, MDG-8, which stresses the importance of a global partnership for
development, emphasising the need for cooperation and commitment from developed
nations towards achieving the other seven MDGs, remains largely rhetorical.
There is no firm and concrete commitment by the rich countries to reform their
trade regimes to provide effective opportunities and to take concomitant
measures to assist the poor countries in their fight against poverty.
direction and priorities of trade, aid and debt policies, the principal ways
through which the North interacts with the South are largely decided in the
North. Yet, they have profound impact on the society, economy and stability of
countries in the South. Both the rich and the poor countries are accountable in
advancing a broad development agenda.
observers are of the view that as the expectations of poor countries from the
Doha and EPAs are presently quite low, an emphasis on a broad development agenda
with a clear delineation of commitments and obligations of the North and South
would provide an opportune avenue through which more serious North-South
engagement in development cooperation may be triggered. With this in view, this
global dialogue, involving important stakeholders, is being organised.