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THE INDEX — November 30, 2009

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GCLS UPDATE: Poland as a Global Power

PANEL: President Lech Kaczynski: Poland in Globalization Introduction: David A. Andelman, Editor, World Policy Journal Featuring: President Lech Kaczynski, Republic of Poland Panel summary by Max Currier, World Policy Journal Amid glazed sea bass and raspberry chocolate purse, David Andelman introduced Lech Kaczynski, president of the Republic of Poland, as “the leader of perhaps the single most dynamic nation to emerge from the Warsaw Pact.” President Kaczynski agreed, pointing out through a translator that Poland is a large geographic nation with an emerging economy that will soon be the sixth largest in the European Union in terms of GDP growth per capita. Poland, he later added, should be the 20th member of the G-20 because it is robust economically and it seeks to “contribute” as an engaging and productive member of the global economy. Before a mixed European and American audience, President Kaczynski praised “the new U.S. administration” for taking “momentous decisions” regarding missile defense. “What we’re seeing is a new offer of American leadership in the world” based on “universal negotiations” for which “I wish all the best.” He characterized the U.S. "offer" in "the context of a changing multilateral world,” implying a difficulty in engaging both Europe and the United States, as well as Russia. “Reconciliation is better than conflict. … Development is always better than going backwards,” he said. "We will see in the coming years if this offer is doable.”

David S. Christy, Jr.: Geneva’s Winners & Losers, A View from the Dugout

David A. Andelman [This post is an update on Mr. Christy’s article published in the summer 2008 issue of World Policy Journal.] If there were trading cards for the Doha Development Round participants, I’d save Falconer’s. The agriculture negotiations chairman, Ambassador Crawford Falconer is my candidate for MVP—it is a shame he is stepping down later this year; he will be missed. Falconer consistently works to strip away the nonsense, politics, and disinformation that dogs these types of negotiations. His reports read like a stern uncle reining in a bunch of wayward nephews—they are direct, utterly sensible, and beyond cavil. There is not a scintilla of wishful thinking. (This, by the way, accords with my personal experience with Falconer, who chaired a World Trade Organization panel proceeding in which I participated.) Falconer dishes his latest dose of reality in a terse, 4.5-page report dated August 11. He responds directly to the canard that the July mini-ministerial in Geneva fell apart over technical issues regarding the special safeguard measure (SSM)—which allows protection where a surge in imports threatens domestic agriculture producers. Falconer stresses that the U.S.-India disagreement over the SSM is “not some purely ‘technical’ matter,” but rather is political. He then drives the point home by noting the many other difficult issues that the negotiators did not resolve, including cotton from least-developed countries, new tariff quotas for sensitive products, and tariff simplification. He also notes that the members as a whole had not yet vetted the issues where progress was made. His report has been widely accepted as an accurate account. WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy’s comments on the progress of the talks and the report of Canadian Ambassador Don Stephenson, chair of the negotiations on market access for non-agricultural products (NAMA), have not been so well received. In the view of some members, Lamy’s comments do not accurately present the splits among the members, reporting agreement where none existed. This may be due in part to the fact that Lamy is nearing the end of his term and this may be his last chance to move the talks forward. Certainly, the members have reasons to back away from concessions given the overall failure of the negotiations, but Lamy’s account is overly rosy. As for Stephenson, the United States has attacked his report for mischaracterizing the state of play on sectoral negotiations, which would eradicate tariffs on specified goods (e.g., chemicals). More importantly, Argentina rejected the July 25 compromise draft on NAMA—which serves as the basis of all claims of progress. Because the WTO operates by consensus, Argentina’s rejection of the package suggests that the widely reported progress is illusory. What to make of all of this?

FALL FUNDRAISER

 

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