Date and Time: Thursday 5th December 2013 ~~~ 16:00 – 17:30
Location: Orchid Room
Theme: Trade and Economic Development

Symposium Report: 

“The way forward after Bali: Challenges and opportunities for the LDCs”: A refreshing report  of the IDEAS Centre’s session at the Bali Trade and Development Symposium (TDS)

Organiser

IDEAS logo

Session Objectives

• Preserving an inclusive multilateral system is vital for LDCs but may come at a cost: what strategies for the LDCs?
• Give an arena where LDCs can identify and prioritise the challenges they will face after Bali and define the possible ways to face these challenges.
• Open a space in which LDCs can raise their concerns regarding the future of the system beyond technical issues and small package.

Synopsis

What matters to LDCs the most is that an inclusive multilateral trading system continues to exist after Bali.

The trade and economic environment has tremendously changed since the launch of the Doha Round and these changes have to be integrated into the reflexion on the way forward after Bali.

1. The production system and the world distribution of tasks (GVCs) have substantially changed since 2001. Moreover, the WTO has no longer the monopoly to define the rules and the liberalization path. This situation requires a rethinking of the role of the WTO versus the proliferation of mega deals, plurilaterals and RTAs;
2. Doha issues remain relevant but some non-less relevant issues have emerged. The question is which new topics can and should be integrated into the Doha mandate without jeopardizing the issues under discussion;
3. The present negotiating approach has led to hardly any results in twelve years. Negotiators have to define a new approach more conducive to achieving results (inclusiveness versus plurilaterals? Single undertaking or not? Replication of the model of the Trade Facilitation Agreement?)
4. A new negotiating approach may also require both rethinking the configuration of groupings and coalitions and addressing the question of differentiation.

This session will aim at addressing these changes in the perspective of the LDCs and their role not only within the system but also in saving the system they need.

LDCs have to have a voice in defining and addressing systemic issues. LDCs may have to question themselves about their positions on second best solutions in negotiating modes to ensure that negotiations continue to be done within WTO rather than outside. In addition, they may have to balance exemptions (which temporarily protect but marginalize in the longer-term) versus commitments (which are more costly but have a positive effect on investment and in securing the economic and trade environment).