Argentina attacks WTO and US on trade issues at OECD ministerial round
In an offensive to counter recent attacks on Argentina’s restrictive trade policies, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman expressed at the World Trade Organization, WTO, his government’s concern with the current course of global negotiations which face the serious risk of abandoning the development goals agreed when the launching of the current Doha Round of negotiations back in 2001.
“The lack of advance could lead to the freezing of the current misbalance situation in international trade which clearly benefits the developed world”, said Timerman during a meeting with WTO Director Lamy on the sides of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) ministerial meeting in Paris.
He added that Argentina considers “unacceptable” the lack of advance in the commitment to eliminate subsidies to agriculture exports which is expected to be accomplished in 2013, as was agreed at the 2005 ministerial meeting. “We insist that the WTO must push forward for the achievement of that accord”.
The minister also rejected the developed world’s intention of advancing in agreements between small groups of countries on the sides of what was agreed at the Doha round, “which represents a threat to the conclusion of multilateral agreements that include all members of WTO”.
“The attempt to advance only in certain aspects of the global trade negotiations which constitute a primordial interest of developed countries, with no counter balances in areas such as agriculture, crucial for the developing world, can be described as dangerous for the organization and the objectives of Doha”, said Timerman.
Finally he said that international trade negotiations are keeping to the historic difference referred to the treatment given to industrial goods, which enjoy a significant reduction in tariffs, while in agriculture remain “protectionist practices sponsored by developed countries, which seriously damage the developing world and the chances of expanding world trade”.
Meanwhile in Geneva at the WTO main offices, Argentina with the support of another eleven countries openly criticized the US for not abiding rulings from the Dispute Settlement Body. The presentation refers to a specific case involving the US and a favourable ruling for Cuba.
The countries making the presentation besides Argentina include Chile, Venezuela, Brasil, China, Uruguay, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Dominican Republic and Zimbabwe.
Argentina, the spokesperson for the group said that 75% of non complied rulings from the WTO Dispute Settlement Body in the last 24 months belong to the US thus exposing “the inconsistency of the claims referred to the conduct of this country when it comes to implement WTO rules”
“The lack of willingness by a WTO member with such economic power as the US in implementing a WTO decision only generates lack of credibility in the multilateral system which is even more serious when the claimants are developing countries”, underlined the Argentine delegation.