Gender and NAMA
1. The panel discussion on Gender and Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations was chaired by Ms. Jayati Ghosh. Dr. Mariama Williams presented an overview of NAMA negotiations in WTO which covered the definition and scope of the negotiations which includes the 2001 Doha mandate on NAMA.
2. The Doha mandate provides for taking in account the special needs and interests of developing and least developed countries through less than ‘full reciprocity’. The key issues in the NAMA are product coverage, tariff reduction, non-tariff barriers, sectoral initiatives and linking of NAMA negotiations to agricultural negotiations. She also referred to the issues on Special and Differential Treatment (SD&T) raised in the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration (para 24). The development implications of possible outcomes of NAMA could be on areas of de-industrialization, unemployment, poverty, revenue loss, balance of payments etc.. Development implications of de-industrialization relate to the sensitive tariff lines which the developing countries would like to retain under unbounded tariff, to give them more policy space for industrialization. However, line by line tariff reduction proposed by developed countries under NAMA would take off this freedom from developing countries. She also quoted the examples of countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America which faced employment loss and revenue loss due to multilateral trade liberalization. Loss of revenue will have an adverse impact on social sectors spending and poverty eradication.
3. The developmental and gender effect of NAMA are likely to spread across three broad areas viz. budgetary and finance, employment/livelihood and entrepreneurship survival. Since women business tend to be relatively less capitalized than men and have difficulty in access to skills and training, they are likely to be less able to adjust to rapid and prolonged shocks due to liberalization.
4. Shri Rajeet Mitter, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India presented the Indian perspective of NAMA negotiations. He explained the Doha mandate for Non-Agricultural Market Access negotiations (para 16) of the Doha Ministerial Declaration, the main elements in NAMA viz. formula, flexibilities, treatment of unbound lines, sectoral proposals and other related issues. He explained the different formulas available on the table i.e. Swiss formula, ABI (Argentina-Brazil-India) proposal, simple Swiss formula and the Pakistan formula and the Indian perspective on special products to take care of the gender sensitivities.
5. Mr. Amit Lodha of Director (Sales) of Ramesh Flowers, Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, India made a presentation on how the unit is using the rural and natural agro resources for an international business in dry flower industry employing mostly women. He highlighted the fact that in their unit they prefer women because the work involved is very delicate and requires patience which women deliver better. He also underlined the fact they have been able to outsource a number of activities involved in their industry to all districts in India. Further they have gained a significant presence in the world market and are poised for greater growth in the near future using India’s diversity, geography and climate.