First Look

State Minister Arnaldo Brown addressed ACP Meeting in Brussels

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade | 2015-10-27 00:00:00

Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Honourable Arnaldo Brown, led Jamaica’s delegation to a Meeting of Trade Ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group held from 20-21 October in Brussels, Belgium.

The meeting served as a precursor to the Group’s participation in the upcoming Tenth Ministerial Conference (MC 10) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which is scheduled to take place from 15th -18th December 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. 

MC 10 will hold particular significance for the ACP Group as it will be the first to be held on the African continent and in an ACP State.  Since the Doha Development Round was launched in 2001, a series of WTO Ministerial Conferences have been held to move the negotiations forward.

The last WTO Ministerial Conference was held in December 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. At that meeting, a landmark achievement was made with the conclusion of negotiations for a Trade Facilitation Agreement. The ACP Group, led by Jamaica as Coordinator, played a significant role in the conclusion of those negotiations.

During the recent ACP meeting, Ministers exchanged views with H.E. Roberto Azevędo, Director General of the WTO and Mrs. Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, on the status of preparations for MC 10 in Nairobi.

In his address to the meeting, Minister Brown emphasized that Nairobi and the post-Nairobi agenda must result in some concrete deliverables for developing countries. He called on the membership of the WTO to “take a careful and measured approach to the negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), in order to ensure that the concerns of developing countries are fully and effectively addressed”.

Minister Brown noted that the work on the proposed areas for a “mini package” comprising  Export Competition (in Agriculture); Transparency in (Rules and Domestic Regulations); Special and Differential Treatment and Least Developed Country (LDC) issues, should be approached in a manner consistent with the development objectives that underpin the DDA. In addition, he underscored that the process of finalising this package must remain open, transparent and inclusive and must take into account the interests of all Members, particularly Small Vulnerable Economies (SVEs) and LDCs.

The Final Declaration issued by ACP Trade Ministers at the conclusion of the meeting, reaffirmed the ACP’s commitment to the Doha Development Agenda, particularly the core areas in the negotiations of priority to developing countries.  Ministers also called on the WTO to deliver on a number of outstanding proposals at MC 10.  These include the locking-in of flexibilities for LDCs and SVEs in Agriculture and Non-Agricultural Market Access, as well as in Services and Trade- related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), in accordance with the principles of special and differential treatment and less than full reciprocity.

Sixty-one of the ACP’s seventy-nine Member States are WTO Members, with an additional seven States in the process of accession, thus representing the largest group of developing countries in the WTO. The ACP, LDC and African Group usually combine, especially at WTO Ministerial Conferences, to form the Group of 90 (G90).
The WTO currently has a total of one hundred and sixty one Members and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Posted By :Ann- Margaret Lim

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