6 May 2003

WTO paper out on key issues in the tariff negotiations

The WTO Secretariat, on 6 May 2003, issued a comprehensive discussion paper on “Industrial Tariffs and the Doha Development Agenda”. Containing many tables and charts, the paper focuses on the basic mandate given to negotiators at Doha and looks at specific issues facing developed, developing and least-developed countries.

Industrial Tariffs and the Doha Development Agenda is the first of a series of discussion papers to be published by the WTO Secretariat. It is available only in English from the WTO at the price of Swiss Francs 20.-

The following is an abstract of the paper:

“The negotiating mandate for the Doha Development Agenda is both broad and comprehensive. This paper focuses on the basic mandate given to negotiators in the area of tariffs and trade in industrial products.

“With respect to developed country markets the key issue is how to tackle the residual protection arising from low overall levels of protection. We have identified a number of products at the 4-digit level of the HS system where issues of peaks and escalation need to be addressed.

“For developing countries there are two issues — their high levels of tariffs and the limited coverage of bindings for some Members. These, however, do not preclude problems of peaks and escalation such as those that we have identified in developed country markets.

“Finally, for LDCs the issues are the degree of effective non-reciprocal market access granted by developed countries, and the very high levels of protection they face in developing country markets, and the role that high levels of protection are playing as industry policy instruments in their own economies”.

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