Alexey Ulyukaev: We Shall Try to Consolidate the Positions of the BRICS countries in the WTO
On December 16, 2015 Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexey Ulyukaev met the BRICS Ministers of Trade during the 10th Conference of the Ministers of the WTO.
Alexey Ulyukaev reminded that the Ministers had met in July 2015 and discussed the importance of the Conference in Nairobi having thereby supported a negotiation process. A special focus was on a flexible and creative approach during the negotiations that the Ministers were ready to apply. “We agree that it is necessary to achieve a balance between changes in an agricultural sphere and other questions being discussed,” he said.
Minister stressed that Russia was determined that the Conference would deliver its benefits. However the BRICS countries started to express completely opposite opinions on many problems. “We have different points of view not only in the key questions of the negotiations but in a broader sense in the perspective of future multilateral trade system,” he added.
Alexey Ulyukaev said that he would like to raise a question about retaining the structure of Doha Mandate. The WTO members had been working for more than 15 years on the basis of Doha Mandate and had been trying to reach a consensus but finally they came to a deadlock situation that has been lasting for approximately the same period. From the other hand the Mandate was adopted 15 years ago and does not meet modern conditions of economy and trade. “It makes this deadlock situation even worse and presupposes retaining of the current state of things till the Doha round finishes,” Minister noted.
The main concern of Russia as a recently affiliated member is inequality in rights and obligations among different WTO members that results from high expectations of the Doha round. According to the head of Russian delegation the WTO must be retained as a mechanism of trade disputes resolution. “We want the WTO to be not only the place for discussions but also the place where one can achieve results,” he said.
“Regardless of the results of this Conference we must offer a solid plan concerning the actions after Nairobi with Doha Mandate or without it,” Alexey Ulyukaev summed up.
“We tried to gain a common understanding,” the head of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation said when answering the question if the BRICS countries would have a common position due to the fact that India had a different one.
“The question of food security India is talking about is extremely important both for BRICS and for other countries. Today we have a temporary solution, a permanent one are to be accepted by 2017. We offer our partners to pay attention to the elaboration of a detailed working plan in order to achieve agreement. There should be created a working group, organized seminars and discussions,” Minister added.
According to Alexey Ulyukaev it is rather problematic to consolidate the position of the BRICS countries “but we shall try to discuss it again.”