One of the most significant events at the 6th WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong has been the appearance of a new and grand coalition of developing countries. Essentially speaking on behalf of all elements of the G90 and the G20, the new group called G110 represents a force of 110 Southern countries out of a total of 150 WTO members. "This is something historic", India's Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said. "The developed countries must recognise that the economic architecture has changed." World Economy & Development in brief documents the first Joint Statement of the group dated 16 December 2005.
For the first time in the WTO, a Ministerial meeting was held between all the
developing country groups. The G-20, the G-33, the ACP, the LDCs, the African
Group and the Small Economies exchanged views and decided to better coordinate
their efforts in order to develop a common approach to issues of common interest.
The Groups recalled the pledge made at Doha to place the interests and needs of
developing countries, especially the least-developed among them, at the heart of the
Round. They reiterated their shared interest in the developed dimension of the round
and their expectations for a comprehensive development outcome. They recalled that
agriculture is central to development.
The Groups agreed that the Round must result in the removal of the distortions that
inhibit the export growth of developing countries and the provision of adequate policy
space to ensure their sustainable socio-economic development. They called upon
developed countries to agree to the complete elimination of export support measures by
2010 while addressing concretely the specific needs of LDCs (Least Developed
Countries) and NFIDCs (Net Food Importing Developing Countries). The Groups also
affirmed the need for substantial reductions of trade-distorting domestic support.
The Groups recognise the importance of substantial improvements in market access for
products of export interest from developing countries in developed country markets. They also recognise the need to address the concerns of preference receiving countries. They committed to work together with a view to finding creative solutions on the basis
of paragraphs 44 of the July 2004 Framework Agreement.
The Groups emphasized the importance of S&D (special and differential treatment) in
all the three pillars of the agriculture negotiations. In this context, they stressed the role
of SPs (special products) and SSM (special safeguard mechanisms) as a means of
addressing the food security, rural development and livelihood concerns of developing
countries in the market access pillar.
The Groups reaffirmed their support for LDC demands for duty-free and quota-free
market access and recognised the need for a concrete outcome in Hong Kong on this
The Groups stressed the need for a firm commitment to be made at Hong Kong to
address the issue of cotton ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically.
The Group also recognised the need to adopt specific measures to provide adequate
responses to the trade-related issues raised by the small, vulnerable economies.
While recognising the diversity of situations and perceptions that they represent, the
groups vowed to intensify their dialogue, with a view to ensuring that the negotiations
lead to an outcome consistent with the development mandate of the Doha Round.
In this context, they reiterated their commitment to a successful conclusion of the Doha
Round by the end of 2006.
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(Posted: 16 December 2005)
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