Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed says lack of conclusions on some key trading issues in Nairobi means that the negotiating factor of WTO is not working and would be better break it and look for a solution.
Speaking at KICC Tuesday, Mohamed, who will be the chair of the Nairobi ministerial meeting is however optimistic that it will be successful especially for Africa on the conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA).
“If we don’t agree you will see a change because obviously what the membership will be saying, collectively, is that the negotiating function of the WTO is broken; and we will need to either fix it, agree on a new way of negotiating, or maybe agree to remove it,” CS Mohamed told the media.
Some of the issues on the table during this crucial meeting include major reforms in agriculture, particularly reduction in subsidies and tariff provided by developed countries, Least Developed Countries (LDC) special treatments, Trade Facilitation Agreements as well Information Technology Agreement (ITA).
“The decision we have to make as ministers is, ‘what do we do with this organisation’? that was very successful in Bali (the 9th Ministerial Conference Indonesia) but took a long time to get to Bali. And it has taken us two years to get almost nothing in place even what we agreed in Bali,” she lamented.
In the Bali meeting, which took place in December 2013, the ministers adopted the ‘Bali Package’ a series of decisions aimed at streamlining trade, allowing developing countries more options for providing food security and boosting least developed countries’ trade.
CS Mohamed argues that the meetings require a lot of resources to organise and it is high time the members considered getting value for money and seek ways of reaping from the meetings.
On his part, WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo who echoed her sentiments urged members to be more flexible and be ready to dialogue in Nairobi.
He says that the organisations is crucial for all countries and there was need to do away with consistent delays.
“I think what the Secretary is talking about is the need to regain the habit of negotiating and delivering, and that has been missing,” Azevêdo said, “So I think if we go out of Nairobi, with renewed confidence and a common vision for the future that would be a fundamental achievement.”
The official opening of the conference which we be graced by president Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday at 3pm will mark the start of the negotiations.
“We have a very interesting and a very meaningful agenda here in Nairobi. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. It is no secret that multilateral negotiations of the WTO have tended to progress quite slowly. But members need to consider what they want from the system; how to maintain a negotiating forum,” Azevêdo noted.