Special and differential(S&D) treatment

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News:India China and several African nations has cautioned against diluting special and differential treatment provisions related to developing countries, as it would lead to deadlock at the WTO.

Facts:

About Special and differential treatment:

  • The WTO Agreements contain special provisions which give developing countries special rights and which give developed countries the possibility to treat developing countries more favourably than other WTO Members.
  • These provisions are referred to as “special and differential treatment” (S&D) provisions.

The special provisions include:

  • longer time periods for implementing Agreements and commitments,
  • measures to increase trading opportunities for developing countries,
  • provisions requiring all WTO members to safeguard the trade interests of developing countries,
  • support to help developing countries build the capacity to carry out WTO work, handle disputes, and implement technical standards, and
  • provisions related to least-developed country (LDC) Members.

Issues with S&D provisions:

  • Currently, any WTO member can designate itself as a developing country and avail these benefits.
  • In the case of least developed countries, the status is given as per the per capita income status of the UN.
  • However,the US has opposed self-selection of the developing country status and demanded stopping of developing country concessions to several of these countries, including China and India.
  • But India and the others have maintained that there was a need to ensure that S&D treatment remains as they are still home to a large number of poor and vulnerable sections.