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Alliances || G-33

G-33 Views On The Market Access Pillar
Committee on Agriculture, Special Session
1 June 2004

Paragraph 13 of the Doha Mandate states that special and differential treatment for developing countries shall be an integral part of all elements of the negotiations and shall be embodied in the schedule of concessions and commitments as appropriate in the rules and disciplines to be negotiated, so as to be operationally effective and to enable developing countries to effectively take account of their development needs, including food security and rural development. In the agriculture negotiations, the G-33 endeavours to ensure that the framework agreement fully respects the mandate on special and differential treatment, particularly on food security and rural development. To this end, the G-33 highly appreciates the firm acceptance by Members that the concept of Special Products (SP) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) shall be an integral part of S&D in the agriculture framework to be agreed.

The group is of the view that the extent to which S&D can be operationally effective does not only depend on how the S&D provisions are elaborated in the framework, but also how the other elements of the framework affect S&D, both directly and indirectly. An important element in the market access pillar that can affect the effectiveness of S&D is the tariff reduction formula. To ensure that S&D can be operationally effective, the tariff reduction formula must preserve the intended objectives of S&D and not erode it.

We have to ensure that the formula to be eventually agreed to does not undermine the concept of S&D. The G-33 is of the position that the inclusion of SP and SSM or any other additional S&D in the market access pillar should not be used as a justification to demand higher tariff reduction commitment from developing countries.

To this end, the G-33 believes that for a tariff reduction formula to be acceptable, it must inter alia;

  1. Fulfill the Doha Mandate's level of ambition including the integrity of the special and differential treatment for developing countries;

  2. Ensure that the tariff reductions undertaken by developing countries are only a designated proportion of tariff reductions undertaken by developed countries;

  3. Ensure fairness, bearing in mind the different tariff structures of Members;

  4. Fully reflect the differences between developed and developing countries' commitment; and

  5. Neither entails new commitment on TRQ, nor expansion of the current TRQ for developing countries.

Whilst the tariff reduction formula is currently central to the discussion in the market access pillar, the G-33 stresses that the issues of SP and SSM under this pillar are of equal importance. The G-33 believes that the issue of SP and SSM is crucial in addressing food and livelihood security as well as rural development, and hence:

  • There must be a stand-alone category for SP.

  • There must be no tariff reduction commitment for all SP.

  • Developing countries must be able to decide themselves which products they consider as SP.

  • SSM shall be established for use by developing countries.

  • Products considered as SP must also have access to SSM.

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