Info Service on Trade and WTO Issues (July08/28)
Initial sceptical response to
Geneva, 22 July (Martin Khor) -- An offer by the US Trade Representative that her country's overall trade distorting domestic support (OTDS) ceiling be brought down to $15 billion was met with sceptical initial responses by negotiators of several developing countries, especially since the offer was coupled with the demand that the United States should not face legal challenges on domestic support at the WTO.
The announcement by Ms. Susan Schwab was made at a press briefing at the WTO, just an hour before the second session of the Green Room meeting.
said that the
$15 billion level is within the bracketed range for the
said her offer was on condition the
also controversially said that the
a question, Schwab denied she was advocating a restoration of the "peace
clause" (which has expired). But her elaboration on the need not
to face a legal challenge, presumably on farm subsidy issues, left the
impression that the
The offer by Schwab of $15 billion did not impress WTO diplomats, trade journalists or NGOs, mainly because the actual OTDS level in 2006 and 2007 had fallen to $11 billion and $7 billion reportedly.
Thus, developing country Ministers and officials in recent days have criticized the text's range as allowing the US to have a level of allowed OTDS that is double the current actual level.
That is a lot of "water", in WTO negotiating jargon.
Asked what he thought of the Schwab offer, the head of a leading developing country's delegation said: "It won't fly. It's not going to work."
official of another developing country that is one of the main demandeurs
of an improved US offer on OTDS dismissed the $15 billion level as being
of little utility, especially since the high farm prices at present
had reduced the subsidy levels in the
was even more cynical about the
"This will make whatever disciplines we have on domestic support useless, as they can then be violated without consequence." +