Summary: EU Statement - Macroeconomic policy questions: International Trade and Development (31 October 2005: New York)
Statement by H.E. Mr. Fernando Valenzuela, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to the United Nations, on behalf of the European Union at the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Macroeconomic policy questions: International Trade and Development (Item 50 a), New York
I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine and Moldova, align themselves with this declaration.
This statement complements the statement made by the EU Presidency for the EU and associated countries on 13 October in the 2nd Committee debate on Financing for Development under Agenda item 51.
The EU firmly believes that trade can have an important role in promoting growth, economic development and enabling developing countries to reach the MDGs. For that to happen, however, complementary domestic reforms and the mainstreaming of trade in national development strategies, as well as aid for trade, are of critical importance. A universal, open, rule-based, non-discriminatory, and equitable multilateral trading system, market access opportunities and real ability in poor countries to trade competitively and successfully are pre-requisites for effective global integration.
It is not a coincidence if the current round of WTO negotiation is labelled the Doha Development Round. The EU is very conscious of the obligations this places upon the international community. In this context the forthcoming WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong is an opportunity not to be missed. Development remains the key dimension of the Round; Hong Kong must deliver on this aspect.
The greatest opportunities for ensuring pro-development outcomes in the Round are to be found in the core negotiating areas of Non-Agricultural Market Access, Agriculture (including cotton), Services, Rules and Trade Facilitation where we need a balanced outcome of the negotiations with adequate progress across the board. We are fully engaged in ongoing talks in the WTO in this regard, and remain firmly committed to making a success in Hong Kong and of the Doha Development Round.
But we also need progress in the WTO on development beyond the better access to markets that developing countries will get as a result of the DDA's core negotiating agenda. Although that market access to all markets is essential for development, progress is necessary on a number of other issues which are of particular importance to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and small economies, but also to other developing countries. The EU has made a number of suggestions in this regard, which I will outline briefly in my statement today.
First, full duty free and quota free market access for all LDCs. The EU has suggested that WTO Members agree in Hong Kong on a concrete commitment to grant full duty free and quota free access to all LDC products. All developed countries committed to this goal back in 2001 at the 3rd UN Conference on LDCs in Brussels and confirmed it at the UN World Summit in September, and a number of countries already provide such access, like the EU in its Everything But Arms scheme. As also agreed here at the UN, developing countries in a position to do so, should make a similar commitment, possibly with a more limited level of access and a longer timeframe. We hope that a number of developing countries will make a firm political commitment at the Hong Kong Ministerial to take steps in this direction.
Secondly, the EU believes that developing countries should be allowed to reflect their specific sensitivities in the speed and degree to which they open their markets in the current WTO negotiations. The LDCs should not be asked to undertake commitments to open their markets in the current negotiations; and within the wider group of developing countries, there are also countries that may have particular problems with opening their markets too rapidly.
Thirdly, Special and Differential Treatment and implementation of Uruguay Round commitments. We should make progress on the specific proposals, and should agree at, and preferably before, Hong Kong to a number of those, while also being prepared to discuss other outstanding proposals and approach SDT in a pragmatic manner.
Fourth, addressing preference erosion. Preferential market access remains important, in particular for the poorest countries, many of which are in Africa. The EU market remains the most open, and the most important, for developing country exports globally. A number of vulnerable developing countries are likely to suffer short term losses as a result of the current trade negotiations round. The answer to preference erosion should come from trade and development measures, not just in the WTO. Increasing South-South trade, creating duty- and quota free access for LDCs, and allowing for longer transitional periods for particularly affected products could produce positive results. At the same time, supply side measures, such as substantial support for capacity building, restructuring, diversification and regional integration, are necessary.
This brings me to my fifth point: Aid for Trade. The EU is already the largest provider of Trade Related Assistance worldwide but we are prepared to do more. Last July, the President of the European Commission announced that the EC alone will increase funds for trade related assistance to 1 billion Euro per year. EU Member States also provide significant support for trade capacity building. The EU hopes that ministers at Hong Kong will agree on a strong aid-for-trade package addressing supply side constraints and building developing countries ability to successfully integrate into the global trading system.
These issues and the broader Doha Development Agenda are currently discussed in the WTO in the run-up to the Sixth Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December. We do not intend for the UN General Assembly to get involved in those matters in any detailed or prescriptive manner. However, we hope that the GA, by a Resolution on International Trade and Development, can agree to a clear and ambitious message to the WTO negotiations to express the support of the international community to the ongoing efforts to concretise and realise the development potential of the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO. The Sixth Ministerial Conference is a decisive step in this respect.
Thank you Mr Chairman
*Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process