Ministers Anand Sharma of India, Antonio Patriota of Brazil and Rob Davies of South Africa, had a meeting of the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Trade Ministers forum on the sidelines of the 42nd meeting of the World Economic Forum, on January 27, 2012 in Davos, to review the current global financial and economic situation. They recalled the fifth Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the IBSA Dialogue Forum that took place in Pretoria in October 2011 which underscored the importance attached by the three countries to coordination on global issues.
2. The Ministers expressed concern at the weak and unsteady economic situation in many countries and regions, which poses a serious challenge for the economic policy and growth prospects of developing and low income countries. In this context, they emphasized that greater policy coordination is needed to ensure strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the global economy. They recognized that Brazil, India and South Africa are doing their part to promote growth while maintaining economic stability and successfully fostering social development. They reaffirmed their commitment to continue their efforts in this direction.
3. The Ministers underlined the importance of resisting protectionist tendencies in the current global economic scenario, including competitive devaluation and regulatory measures that conceal their real protectionist ends. They underscored the importance that developing countries use WTO consistent measures to achieve their legitimate objectives of growth, development and stability. They also noted that distortions caused by high levels of protection in the form of tariffs and subsidies in agriculture in developed countries continue to undermine the development prospects of developing countries, especially the least developed among them.
4. The Ministers expressed deep disappointment at the current impasse in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations. They reiterated the need to conclude the Doha Round as soon as possible, building on the significant progress already achieved and on the careful balance of concessions negotiated since the launching of the Round in 2001. The IBSA Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to continue working on the Doha Development Agenda, especially with a view to facilitate more immediate outcomes that deliver on the development dimension of the mandate agreed upon in Doha in 2001. These early outcomes would be building blocks towards meeting the common objective of concluding the Single Undertaking. The Ministers emphasized that “plurilateral initiatives” go against the fundamental principles of transparency, inclusiveness, and multilateralism. These initiatives weaken the resolve of WTO Members to overcome the substantive gaps that exist among them and also fail to address the development deficit inherited from previous negotiating Rounds.
5. The Ministers also underscored their faith in South-South cooperation, which is a partnership among equals that must be guided by respect for equality, national sovereignty and ownership. Recognizing that South-South cooperation helps developing countries to confront common challenges, the Ministers stressed the importance of such initiatives being implemented through the IBSA Trust Fund.