Once Bitten…

Sri Lankan trade negotiators are bargaining for stronger safety nets to protect domestic interests at the latest round of world trade talks. Sri Lankan trade negotiators are bargaining for stronger safety nets to protect domestic interests at the latest round of world trade talks. Current trade talks in Geneva, will lead to a new set of international trade laws that Sri Lanka, as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), will have to implement.

But this time round developing countries like Sri Lanka – that blithely signed up for a string of trade agreements at previous world trade talks – are not taking any chances.

“Developing countries learned a hard lesson implementing the Uruguay round agreements,” said Dayaratna Silva, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic and Commercial Affairs at the Sri Lankan Mission in Geneva, speaking at an OECD trade Forum in Colombo this week.

“So developing countries don’t want to repeat the same dose this time,” said Silva.

The WTO’s TRIPS agreement for instance is widely blamed for putting up prices of medicinal drugs and healthcare in South Asia and holding millions of poor as c