The central issue for these negotiations has been how to reach a formula on how much to cut the current tariff levels for any specific good. In addition to tariff cuts another important element includes Special and Differential Treatment for Developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). A consequence of the current draft agreement is that the LDCs will be exempt from tariff cuts. A final element of the negotiations is non-tariff barriers.
Following intensive discussions, participants recognized the advantages of the formula approach. A formula approach provides transparency so that every Member will know how every other Member will reduce its tariffs. It is also efficient as it is simpler than the traditional request/offer approach. A third and important component is the issue of equity as tariff reduction depends on rules rather than “bargaining power”. Finally, the formula approach is predictable and makes it easy to foresee the results of the negotiations.
Norway’s main interest in these negotiations concerns fish and fish products but Norway also has significant export interests in chemicals, forestry products, metals and machines. Norway is one of a number of countries working to achieve an ambitious result in these negotiations. Norway’s most important market for fish exports is the EU and several important kinds of fish and fish products are not part of the Norway - EU EEA Agreement and is thus subject to higher tariffs. A final result that would lower tariffs in those areas in the European market would be highly advantageous to Norway. Our main interests with regards to developing countries focus on the larger markets of Latin America, ASEAN, China, India and Pakistan.
The NAMA negotiations are currently at an impasse and there has hardly been any activity in 2012.