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Nicholson urges World Trade Organisation to add trade to new global deals

Published:Thursday | December 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator A.J. Nicholson

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Wednesday called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make it a successful year for multilateral diplomacy by delivering trade deals which will drive global economic growth and uplift the poor.

Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, A.J. Nicholson, addressing the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, on behalf of the 15-member regional grouping, said 2015 has been a good year so far for multilateralism.

"The decisions taken on Financing for Development, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and, most recently, COP21, give us hope that the world community can collectively find solutions to pressing global issues. CARICOM hopes that this meeting in Nairobi will take meaningful decisions which will signal that the multilateral trading system, embodied in the WTO, can do the same" he said.

Nicholson said CARICOM has been a strong supporter of a rules-based multilateral trading system, recalling that the region joined the consensus to launch the Doha Work Programme, commonly known as the Doha Development Round.

"This round promised that issues of particular concern to developing countries, including small and vulnerable economies and least developed countries, would be at the heart of our work and decisions," said the Jamaican trade minister.

"Our countries engaged fully in the Doha negotiations in Geneva and with the close involvement of our capitals," he said, adding that "we emphasised the principles of special and differential treatment and less-than-full reciprocity."

But he said at the same time, CARICOM has recognised that it would be required to undertake new commitments once agreement was reached.

"In this context, we are pleased that five of our member states have already ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement, adopted at the Bali Ministerial Meeting," Nicholson said.

"CARICOM continues to support the Doha Development Round. We regret that after 14 years of negotiations, we have not been able to reach an agreement which would have delivered the development dimension which brought us to the negotiating table," he said.

"We recognise that it may be necessary to discuss, post Nairobi, appropriate ways in which we can address the issues in the Doha Agenda, in order to achieve successful outcomes."

Nicholson said it was vital that WTO members preserve and secure the progress achieved over the past years, particularly those contained in the ministerial decisions and negotiating texts which relate to special and differential treatment, less-than-full reciprocity, special measures and flexibilities for small and vulnerable economies and least developed countries.