Trade: Five South nations plus African Group demand reaffirmation of DDR

Nairobi, 15 Dec (D. Ravi Kanth) -- Trade ministers of China, India, South Africa, Ecuador, Venezuela, and members of the African Group on Tuesday (15 December) appear to have prepared the ground to throw the gauntlet to the United States and a handful of developed countries by calling for reaffirmation to continue the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) trade negotiations in the proposed Nairobi ministerial declaration.

Coming close on the heels of the US trade representative Michael Froman's belligerent statement for closure of the DDA negotiations at the Nairobi meeting, the trade ministers have decided to issue the strongest statement yet, several trade envoys told the SUNS. 

Although Indonesia walked out of the initial group of countries that finalized the collective stand on the reaffirmation to continue the DDA negotiations, the joining of the African Group of countries with the five developing countries is a major victory, said an African trade minister who asked not to be quoted. 

The statement reads: 

With the purpose of strengthening the multilateral trading system and ensuring that development is at the centre of the ongoing negotiation, we the Ministers from Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe believe it is imperative to make the following joint statement:

  1. We reaffirm the principles and objectives set out in the Marrakesh AgreementEstablishing the World Trade Organization.
  1. We recognise that the DDA is a significant multilateral attempt to respond totrade and development interests of developing Members and redress the imbalances codified in the rules resulting from the previous rounds of multilateral trade negotiations. We reaffirm the Declarations and Decisions we adopted at Doha, and all subsequent Declarations and Decisions and reaffirm our full commitment to give effect to them.
  1. We further welcome the advances made in the Doha Development Agenda(DDA). The Decisions and Declarations we propose to adopt at our present session would signify that we have taken yet another step forward in the negotiations and attest to our strong resolve to complete the DDA as has been reaffirmed in the Sustainable Development Goal 17.10.
  1. Further we recognize that a comprehensive conclusion of the DDA witheconomically meaningful and balanced outcomes will provide impetus to global trade liberalization and facilitation, correct the development deficit in the rules resulting from the previous rounds of multilateral trade negotiations and improve the trading prospects of developing Members, and enhance the primary role of the WTO in global trade governance.
  1. We need to redouble our efforts to enable us to proceed towards the full,successful and multilateral conclusion of the negotiations pursuant to paragraphs 45, 47 and 48 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration in fulfilment of the commitments we took at Doha.

Several trade envoys said the joining of Kenya in the group is also a significant development.

Earlier, the Ugandan Prime Minister and the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Dr Mukhisa Kituyi called for continuation of the DDA.

 

Deborah James

Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS) network

www.ourworldisnotforsale.org

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