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Alliances || G-20

G-20 High Level Meeting with coordinators of developing-country groups
PRESS STATEMENT
Rio de Janeiro, 9 September 2006



We, Ministers and High Officials of the G-20 countries and, as special guests, the coordinators of the G-33, the ACP Group, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group, the African Group, the Small, Vulnerable Economies (SVEs), the Cotton-4, and NAMA-11, met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 9 September 2006, to consider the situation of the negotiations in the Doha Round. We deeply regret that the WTO's Doha Development Agenda negotiations have been suspended. This is a setback for a Round that is to place development and agriculture at the heart of the multilateral trading system. Not only the Round is threatened, but the multilateral trading system itself now faces a serious crisis. This is an unacceptable situation for all developing countries.

Agriculture lies at the center of the Doha Development Agenda. Most of the world's poor make their living out of agriculture. Their livelihood and standards of living are seriously jeopardized by the subsidies and market access barriers prevailing in international agricultural trade. Any Round that would be faithful to its development dimension must urgently redress this situation.

At such a critical juncture, we reaffirm our willingness to join efforts with a view to ensuring that WTO negotiations in agriculture live up to the commitments of the Doha Mandate. This would entail results that guarantee substantial and effective reduction in trade-distorting domestic support coupled with necessary disciplines to prevent box-shifting and product-shifting of support; substantial improvement in market access; and expeditious elimination of all forms of export subsidies.

We underscore the importance of Special and Differential treatment (S&D) for developing countries in all areas of the negotiations. In this context, we emphasize the overall proportionality in the reduction commitments and the vital role of special products (SPs) and the special safeguard mechanism (SSM) in addressing the food security, rural development and livelihood concerns of developing countries. We reiterate our determination to achieve a balanced and proportionate outcome with a comparable high level of ambition both in agriculture and in NAMA, as agreed under Paragraph 24 of the Hong-Kong Ministerial Declaration.

We recall 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. We reiterate our shared interest in a pro-development outcome of the Round and we highlight the indivisibility of such a development agenda, in particular the need to preserve a balanced and proportionate level of ambition.

We recognize the urgent need to make operational the Hong Kong Ministerial Decision on Duty Free and Quota Free market access for the LDCs, as well as the simplification of rules of origin applicable to them. We reaffirm the need to address the issue of cotton ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically in its trade-related and developments aspects. We stress the need to address the concerns of recently acceded developing Members and trade-related issues raised by SVEs. We further recognize the need to address the issue of tropical products and products of particular importance to the diversification of production. We fully recognize the importance of long-standing preferences and the need to address the issue of preference erosion.

We welcome the recommendations of the WTO Task Force for operationalizing Aid for Trade which emphasize, inter alia, the need for having additional, predictable, sustainable, unconditioned and effective financing. We, therefore, urge WTO Members to expeditiously consider implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on a fast track and stand alone basis at the national, regional and global levels. We also urge the Director General to pursue his consultations with donor community for securing additional financial resources under Aid for Trade.

We stress that the only acceptable outcome is one that fully delivers on the Doha commitments as complemented by the July Framework and by the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration. Therefore, any attempt to renegotiate or rewrite these would not be acceptable.

Developed members, in particular the major trading countries, bear a special and specific responsibility for the outcome of the Round. They must show their readiness to implement measures that remove trade distortions and significantly open their markets. Their current positions do not provide an adequate basis for leading the negotiations to a successful conclusion. They must, therefore, significantly improve their proposals especially in the two crucial areas of domestic support and agriculture market access, as well as be prepared to deliver on the development dimension of the DDA.

We note that the substantial political and technical work carried out until now provides a solid platform for the eventual resumption of the negotiations. We reaffirm that our countries remain committed to an ambitious, balanced, pro-development outcome for the Round and we are prepared to contribute to that end. This will strengthen the multilateral trading system and inscribe development at its heart. We confirm our readiness to reengage immediately in the negotiations and to work towards its prompt resumption.

Ministers and High Officials urge the Director-General of the WTO to intensify the process of consultations with Member countries, in an inclusive and transparent manner in order to create the necessary conditions for the prompt resumption of the negotiations with a view to arriving at an agreement on full modalities and final commitments that is ambitious, balanced, and pro-development.




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