DEVELOPING COUNTRIES SHOW UNPRECEDENTED UNITY AT WTO HONG KONG MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE NOT MERE POSTURING - SAYS KAMAL NATH
Date : 16 Dec 2005
Location : New Delhi
In an unprecedented show of unity all the developing country groupings, for the first time in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), held a Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong during the Sixth Ministerial Conference where the G-20, the G-33, the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) countries, the least developed countries (LDCs), the Africa group and the Small Economies came together on a single platform and decided to better coordinate their efforts in order to develop a common approach to issues of common interest. At a press conference where he shared the platform with trade ministers of other developing countries, Mr. Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce & Industry, said the coming together was not mere posturing, but a genuine reflection of developing countries’ resolve to take multilateral trade negotiations forward in a manner that would ensure that global trade was not only open but also equitable and fair.
In a joint statement reiterating their shared interest in the development dimension of the current Doha Round and their expectations of the comprehensive development outcome, the Ministers of all the developing countries agreed as follows:
The round must result in the removal of the distortions that inhibit the export growth of developing countries and the provision of adequate policy spare to ensure their sustainable socio-economic development. To this end, they agreed that developed countries must eliminate export support measures by 2010 while addressing specific needs of LDCs and also substantially reduce trade distorting domestic support.
Market access for products of export interest from developing countries in developed country markets must improve substantially and concerns of preferences receiving countries must be addressed.
Emphasizing the importance of special & differential (S&D) treatment in all the three pillars of agriculture negotiations, they stressed the role of Special Products (SPs) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) as a means of addressing the food security, rural development and livelihood means of developing countries in the area of agricultural market access.
They reaffirmed their support for LDC demands for duty-free and quota-free (DFQF) market access and called for a concrete outcome in Hong Kong on this issue.
They stressed the need for a commitment at Hong Kong to address the issue of cotton ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically.
The specific measures should be adopted to address trade-related issues raised by the small, vulnerable economies.
Vowing to intensify the dialogue while recognizing the diversity of their situations and perceptions, they reiterated their commitment to a successful conclusion of the Doha Round by the end of 2006.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in a statement has welcomed the unprecedented alliance among a large number of developing and least developed countries having diverse interests and termed this as being among the most significant developments so far in the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference. They complimented Mr. Kamal Nath for his efforts towards coalition building in Hong Kong which, they said, could be a vital input in achieving a pro-development outcome from the Doha Round.