CARICOM urges WTO to add Trade to new global deals
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Wednesday urged the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to join a successful year for multilateral diplomacy by delivering trade deals which will drive global economic growth and uplift the poor.
Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator A.J. Nicholson made the call in his address, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), to the plenary session of the Tenth World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
“2015 has been a good year so far for multilateralism”, Senator Nicholson told the conference. “The decisions taken on Financing for Development, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and most recently, COP21, give us hope that the world community can collectively find solutions to pressing global issues. CARICOM hopes that this meeting in Nairobi will take meaningful decisions which will signal that the multilateral trading system, embodied in the WTO, can do the same” he added.
Mr. Nicholson said CARICOM hopes the Conference will adopt, among other things;
-Decisions relating to the G90 proposals on Special and Differential treatment provisions including those related to small, vulnerable economies and least developed countries
-Agricultural issues, including the Special Safeguard Mechanism, which was proposed by the G33 in November, 2015,
-The Work Programme on Small Economies,
-And Special Measures for least developed countries.
The WTO is an international intergovernmental organization dealing with the formulation and implementation of international trade rules. It also deals with the arbitration of trade disputes between members. The WTO’s business is conducted through the Ministerial Conference, held every two years. The current conference will end on Friday 18 December.
See full Statement delivered by Senator Nicholson:
DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND FOREIGN TRADE, SENATOR THE HONOURABLE A.J. NICHOLSON, Q.C.,
ON BEHALF OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY AT THE
TENTH WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE,
16TH DECEMBER, 2015
On behalf of the Caribbean Community, I wish to say that it is indeed a pleasure to be here in Nairobi, the first WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in the great continent of Africa. We would like to thank and commend our hosts, the Government and the people of Kenya, for their very warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for this Conference. The fact that the WTO is also celebrating its 20th anniversary gives special meaning to our presence here this week.
CARICOM has been a strong supporter of a rules-based multilateral trading system. We joined the consensus to launch the Doha Work Programme, commonly known as the Doha Development Round. This Round promised that issues of particular concern to developing countries, including small and vulnerable economies and least developed countries, would be at the heart of our work and decisions.
Our countries engaged fully in the Doha negotiations in Geneva and with the close involvement of our capitals. We emphasised the principles of special and differential treatment and less than full reciprocity. At the same time, we recognised that we would be required to undertake new commitments once agreement was reached. In this context, we are pleased that five of our Member States have already ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement, adopted at the Bali Ministerial Meeting.
CARICOM continues to support the Doha Development Round. We regret that after 14 years of negotiations, we have not been able to reach an agreement which would have delivered the development dimension which brought us to the negotiating table. We recognise that it may be necessary to discuss, post Nairobi, appropriate ways in which we can address the issues in the Doha Agenda, in order to achieve successful outcomes. In this effort, it is vital that we preserve and secure the progress achieved over the past years, particularly those contained in our Ministerial decisions and negotiating texts which relate to special and differential treatment, less than full reciprocity, special measures and flexibilities for small and vulnerable economies and least developed countries.
Madam Chair, 2015 has been a good year so far for multilateralism. The decisions taken on Financing for Development, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and most recently, COP21, give us hope that the world community can collectively find solutions to pressing global issues. CARICOM hopes that this meeting in Nairobi will take meaningful decisions which will signal that the multilateral trading system, embodied in the WTO, can do the same.
We hope, therefore, that we will be able to adopt, inter alia, decisions relating the G90 proposals on Special and Differential treatment provisions including those related to small, vulnerable economies and least developed countries; agricultural issues, including the Special Safeguard Mechanism, which was proposed by the G33 in November, 2015; Fisheries Subsidies; the Work Programme on Small Economies; and special measures for least developed countries.
Finally, CARICOM wishes to congratulate the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Liberia on their accession to the WTO. We wish to recall that one of our Member States continues to pursue its accession negotiations. We urge the WTO Members to recognise that as a small, vulnerable economy, it should not be called upon to make concessions beyond its level of development and vulnerablity.