‘Nothing is agreed unless everything is agreed upon’
April 23 2013 02:30 AM

Seeking a review of the single undertaking principle of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) yesterday said there was need for a confidence boost through a breakthrough in Doha Round where 80% of issues have been negotiated.

“There is a need for re-examination of single undertaking principles, which implies that nothing is agreed unless everything is agreed upon,” Victor K Fung, ICC honorary chairman, told the media.

The single undertaking principle has not been effective and there should be consensus based on majority, which is a healthy practice in the modern democratic world, ICC Qatar CEO Remy Rowhani had earlier said.

A delegate, wishing anonymity, said theoretically consensus could be arrived at, but in reality it is seldom possible since every nation has its legitimate right to air its concerns, which often merits attention as well.

“Unless an inter-temporal approach is adopted, contentious issues will remain and a Doha Round victory will remain elusive,” he said, adding the entire short-term suggestions revolved around trade facilitation.

Fung said 80% of the Doha Round issues have been negotiated and agreed upon; while the problem lies with the remaining 20%.

Reasoning on the failure of Doha Round, WTO deputy director general Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza said trade is not isolated from global economy and member countries were reluctant to undertake reforms with governments becoming shy.

Suggesting a long-term development of multilateral trading process, Fung said bilateral and regional agreements were beneficial, but should be brought under multilateral framework.

Intermediate goods constituted 60% of global commerce and about 30% of the trade is conducted between affiliates of the same multinational corporations, he added.


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