Special and differential(S&D) treatment

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.


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.