THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING GROUP ON THE DOHA AGENDA (IWOGDA) PROGRAMME  

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  THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING GROUP ON THE DOHA AGENDA (IWOGDA)  PROGRAMME  

The Doha Ministerial Declaration, also dubbed the Doha Development Agenda, recognises the need for launching negotiations on both investment and competition to increase international trade and development.

The general understanding on investment as well as competition issues is not very high among civil society. The problem is particularly rampant in developing countries where even the policy-makers and the trade negotiators are not very aware of the issues.

Despite the current lack of enthusiasm amongst developing countries, it is vital to lay the foundation for any future ‘assenting spree’. Thus, there is an urgent need to promote understanding on these issues in a balanced manner through research and dialogue. More on the background of IWOGDA

In light of the need to inform on the competition and investment issues, CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS-CITEE) is undertaking a programme involving leading international experts, practitioners and other stakeholders in the areas of competition and investment policy at the WTO.

A number of short Issues Papers on various aspects and elements of the potential competition and investment agreements are being prepared for debate and discussion by a larger group of individuals.

The main aims of the project are to:

To achieve the above objectives it is necessary to take a broad view without prejudging the outcomes. Hence, the objective is not to reach a consensus on the issues, but rather to promote understanding that will help negotiators and other stakeholders address and voice their concerns with sound argumentation instead of rhetoric.

This programme identifies possible subjects for Issue Papers to clarify the issues most of which have been identified in the Doha Declaration. Others could be equally relevant. The issues are:

Issues Topics

I. Investment Issues

1. Scope and definition

2. Core principles; transparency, non-discrimination and procedural fairness  

3. Nature of commitments - exceptions and exemptions, use of a GATS-style positive list approach  

4. Development provisions: special development needs of LDCs and SICs, technical assistance and capacity building, balance of payments safeguards, trade and financial needs of developing countries; Special and Differential Treatment,

5. National policy space: ways of taking into account the development policies and objectives of host governments including right to regulate in the public interest, ways of balancing the interests of host countries with home countries  

6. Consultation and dispute settlement between Members and/or between Members and non-state actors  

7. Relation with other WTO provisions, existing bilateral and regional arrangements on investment  

II. Competition Issues

1. Scope and Definition  

2. Core principles: transparency, non-discrimination and procedural fairness  

3. Cross-border issues: export cartels, M&As (mergers & acquisitions) and provisions on hard-core cartels  

4. Cooperation between agencies, voluntary, positive comity  

5. Special and Differential Treatment: needs of developing and least developed countries, need for appropriate flexibility, exceptions and exemptions

6. Public Interest, window for exceptions and exemptions  

7. Technical assistance and capacity-building commitments, support for progressive reinforcement of competition institutions in developing countries  

The Issues may overlap in some instances, and in other cases, they may be mutually intertwined. To this end, the discussions in the web-based group will be helpful in further elaborating and deepening understanding as well as aiding the rapporteurs in their synthesis. Active participation in the discussions from all participants is strongly encouraged.

The proposed work programme is as follows;

Ř      The core experts develop draft papers, keeping regular contact

Ř      Comments of the larger group of experts are to be incorporated into the drafts.

Ř      The resulting draft papers will be discussed at an interactive brainstorming meeting in Geneva where the trade 
         community can actively engage.

Ř      The final papers will be published in a single volume to be widely distributed to a targeted audience.  

IWOGDA Brainstorming Meeting, 8th - 9th November 2002, Jaipur, India

CUTS-CITEE is carrying out a project entitled ‘International Working Group on Doha Agenda’ (IWOGDA) that deals with competition and investment issues at the WTO. The project aims at building capacity of negotiators of the South on the issues relating to investment and competition that might become a part of the WTO negotiating process. We have received the Issue papers from the writers, which have been commented upon by the commentators.

The Brainstorming Meeting on IWOGDA was held on 8-9 November 2002 at Hotel Trident in Jaipur, India. The meeting was attended by the Issue writers and a close group of peer reviewers. The brainstorming would help the writers to refine their papers which will be presented in the final meeting scheduled in February 2003.

The discussions of the brainstorming meeting was captured in a synthesis report to be circulated amongst the stakeholders.  Click here for Agenda  Press Release  Proceedings

Final Meeting of IWOGDA, 17th - 18th Feb. 03, Geneva

Click here for Press Release

CUTS Centre For International Trade, Economics & Environment (CITEE)

D–218,  Bhaskar Marg,  Bani  Park, 

Jaipur  302 016,  India,

Ph: +91(0)141-228 2821

Fax: 91.141.2282485  

Email: c-cier@cuts.org

Copyright 2005 Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), All rights reserved.
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: 91.141.2282821, Fax: 91.141.2282485
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