The Russian ban on the import of certain food products from the EU (and some other countries) has led to a chorus of appeals from member states and from farm groups for aid and compensation. The Russian ban has created an immediate problem in the fruit and vegetables sector, where the summer harvest for fruits is in full swing, there is a high dependence on the Russian market, and the produce is perishable with few immediate alternative outlets. But the overall scale of the problem needs to be kept in perspective. In this post, I present the data on the countries and products affected.… Read the rest
WTO failure on trade facilitation agreement puts question mark over Doha timeline
On Thursday this week, the WTO Director-General Robert Azevêdo admitted to failure in concluding the negotiations to adopt the Protocol of Amendment on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) by 31 July as had been agreed by Ministers at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali last December. The Protocol of Amendment was intended to start the process to formally insert the trade facilitation deal into the overall WTO Agreement.
The TFA was part of a carefully-balanced package at Bali designed to get substantive negotiations on the Doha Round again underway. In addition to a series of decisions and declarations on trade facilitation, agriculture, cotton, development and least developed country (LDC) issues, the Ministerial Conference had set a deadline of the end of 2014 for the Trade Negotiations Committee to develop a clearly-defined work programme on the remaining Doha Round issues.… Read the rest