Second Committee Speeches & Interventions

Statement by Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in the Second Committee on International Trade and Development in the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly (3 November 2004)

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation would like to convey our appreciation to the Secretary General for his comprehensive report on trade and development issues. We would also like to thank the Acting Secretary General UNCTAD, Mr. Carlos Fortin, for his review of UNCTAD’s ongoing work on development in the context of trade.

Two important events have taken place since we last met a year ago to discuss trade and development issues.

The first is the convening of the UNCTAD XI Ministerial meeting in Sao Paulo on 13-18 June 2004. The meeting led to the adoption of a political declaration, entitled " Spirit of Sao Paulo" and the policy outcome statement entitled "the Sao Paulo Consensus".

The Second is the revival of the stalled Doha process following the August 1, 2004 Decision of the WTO General Council. The decision set frameworks for future negotiations in agriculture, market access on non-agricultural products, services, development issues, and trade facilitation.

I would like to take this opportunity to share my delegation's views on these two important developments.

Mr. Chairman,

The WTO process was put back on track after months of hectic negotiations following the set back at Cancun in September 2003.

The framework agreements are indeed a welcome development, considering the risks another failure posed to the entire multilateral trading system.

However, the August Agreement, in the context of Doha, we believe, is only relevant and useful to the extent of kick starting a stalled process. Its real success, however, would be measured in terms of delivering on the development objectives of the Doha Round.

Globalization has brought Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTN) under sharper focus and made WTO a household name. Sensitive and well-informed domestic constituencies are now ready to hold their negotiators accountable more than ever before for the gains and losses made in Geneva. This fundamental change has and would further influence the WTO process and its outcome in several different ways in future.

The other important lesson that we must draw from the suspension of the WTO process and its subsequent resumption is that without willingness and flexibility to remove the inequities and imbalance, in the global trading system the process would not move forward.

My delegation is of the view that accommodating the developing country concerns and facilitating their integration into the global economy should neither be seen as a zero sum game nor as an act of charity. In fact the developed countries have as much to gain from the process as the developing countries. There is strong empirical evidence that supports this contention.

The international community must capitalise on this latent potential of the developing economies in creating a global win win for all. The new emerging geography of international economic relations involving greater south-south trade and investment flows only lends further credence to this aspect.

Thus, we strongly feel that the Framework Agreements should be developed into concrete, detailed and specific modalities for the early conclusion of the negotiations that effectively responds to the needs and concerns of the developing countries and are conducted in an inclusive and transparent manner. The process should ensure the following:

One, commitments made by the developed countries to substantially reduce domestic support and to eliminate export subsidies in agriculture sector should serve to correct the existing long-standing imbalance in the Agreement on Agriculture.

Two, the end date of the agriculture export subsidies must be agreed at an early date, bearing in mind the trade distortive impact of such subsidies on developing country exports. Moreover, appropriate safeguards against any possible abuse of 'sensitive products' mechanism for denying market access to the products from the developing countries should be taken.

Three, the deferment, for further negotiation, the finalization of modalities for tariff escalations, tariff simplifications and special safeguard mechanisms in the context of agriculture market access should not result in inordinate delays in taking actions in this area of critical importance to the developing countries.

Four, developing countries must be given flexibility to deal with their special products and in resorting to the 'special safeguard mechanisms to protect themselves against sudden surges in imports.

Five, integration of Cotton into the main framework should not compromise the importance that many countries attach to speedily and substantially address both the trade related and development related aspects of the cotton initiative.

Six, the framework on Non-Agriculture Market Access (NAMA) should adequately reflect the principle of less than full reciprocity in line with the development thrust of the Doha Round with a view to enabling the developing countries to avoid de-industrialization, unemployment and accentuation of poverty.

Seven, the framework for NAMA still lacks clarity and should be appropriately elaborated to avoid any future controversy and mis-interpretation. Similarly, the reduction or elimination of high tariffs, tariff peaks and tariff escalation, as well as non-tariff barriers, particularly on products of export interest to developing countries should be ensured.

Eight, eliminating the arbitrary use of non-tariff barriers particularly the abusive application of anti-dumping, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and other trade-distorting measures;

Nine, ensuring the full and faithful implementation of the WTO agreement on Textile and Clothing that provides for the complete MFA phase out by December 31, 2004. More importantly, to ensure that market access to textile exports from the developing countries post-MFA is not denied through the use of other measures and trade barriers.

Ten, the developing country concerns on S&D and implementation should be addressed comprehensively as the Framework Agreement undertakes little in the way of new commitments on the core issues of S&D and implementation.

Eleven, ensuring that the developing countries would not be required to take on commitments under the Framework on trade facilitation that they cannot implement, inter alia, for financial reasons and that substantial support and assistance will be extended to them to implement future commitments.

Twelve, reviewing Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, taking fully into account its development dimensions.

Thirteen, give special attention to sectors and modes of supply of export interest to developing countries in negotiations under GATS, especially Mode IV on the movement of natural persons.

Fourteen, Trade, Debt and Finance and Transfer of Technology issues duly covered in the Doha Work Programme should be urgently addressed in the resumed Doha Round negotiations.

Mr. Chairman,

The UNCTAD XI Ministerial Meeting by focusing on the development dimension of the international trading system including the Doha negotiations through the adoption of the Sao Paulo Consensus has reinforced the perception that trade is not an end in itself but a means to growth and Development.

Furthermore, it emphasized that effective development cannot be achieved without striking a balance between equity and efficiency by preserving the role of the state and ensuring good governance at all levels.

Another major contribution of UNCTAD XI is the recognition of ‘policy space’ especially for developing countries, and the need for a better balance between such policy space and international disciplines and commitments. It also called for better coherence in the global economic policy regime, besides recognizing the important role private enterprises could play in development by demonstrating greater corporate responsibility.

We welcome the decision by UNCTAD XI to initiate a new round of GSTP negotiations and the establishment of the task force on Commodities.

We are hopeful that the work of the Task Force would help effectively address the difficulties faced by the commodity dependent countries on account of volatile commodity prices.

Mr. Chairman,

We all remember that UNCTAD X held in Bangkok in February 2000 helped a great deal in healing the wounds inflicted by the debacle at the Seattle Ministerial in November 1999. More importantly, it laid the basis for the launch of Doha Round subsequently. Only a few months ago, we again witnessed UNCTAD XI play an important bridge building role that eventually resulted in the revival of the Doha process.

This consensus-building role that UNCTAD has played in kick starting the stalled MTN process on two occasions in close succession establishes the important role UNCTAD could play as the “development conscience” in the field of international trade.

The ability of the UN system, of which UNCTAD is a part, to effectively respond to the expectations of the member states in the area of development, which in turn is critically and inextricably linked to trade, would largely determine the continued importance and relevance of the UN system in the 21st Century.

A ‘new global development consensus’ and a genuine partnership for development must be achieved at the 2005 Summit, in order to realize the Millennium Development Goals, to respond effectively to the challenges of the 21st Century, and to embrace the Charter vision of promoting universal peace and prosperity.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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