WTO (Negotiations, Regular Work, Leadership)

Writers’ Workshop: Reflections from the Frontline – Developing Countries Negotiators in the WTO

CUTS GRC, in collaboration with FES Geneva Office organized a Writers’ Conference at CUTS GRC Conference Room on 14 September 2010 under its project to prepare and publish a Negotiators’ Handbook on the WTO negotiations. Workshop was attended by twelve chapter contributors who are either serving or former developing countries’ WTO negotiators including ambassadors.

CUTS International today launched a project to publish a book with 17 key developing country negotiators agreeing to contribute to the initiative. The project was launched by CUTS Geneva Resource Centre organising a Writers’ Workshop at Geneva, Switzerland, where the content and process of this publication was decided, aiming to bring it out within a year.

“A very important contribution to an understanding of the ongoing Doha Round of trade negotiations from a developing country perspective” stated one key diplomat reflecting the sense of the house. “We will have a forward looking approach towards who can make use of this book and how” said another. “I have a story to tell which has never been published before” said a third negotiator. All agreed to undertake a collaborative exercise to preserve history they have witnessed from the trenches of the comatose Doha Round as well as guide future negotiators on the opportunities and pitfalls experienced by developing countries who have become the main demanders of the round now.

12 of the 17 negotiators took time out of their busy schedules to discuss and coordinate chapters they will write on substantive issues under negotiations ranging from agriculture and non-agriculture market access to trade facilitation and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights as well as the key developing country coalitions like G-20, G-33 and Non-agricultural Market Access-11. They also discussed horizontal issues such as negotiating process, institutional dynamics and role of the secretariat and the chairs of various negotiating groups that deserve reflection and eventual incorporation in the book.

CUTS staff was humbled by the enthusiasm and support received from such senior negotiators who have committed to take time out of their ambassadorial and other key responsibilities in Geneva and capitals to contribute to their latest. It only redoubled their resolve to bring out a volume that benefits trade negotiators, academics and historians alike.