Position of the ACP Group in view of the WTO Conference
Brussels, 7th November 2001
The ACP Group will have one spokesman at the Ministerial Conference in Doha
The ACP Ministers of Trade, meeting in Brussels on 5 and 6 November 2001,
have arrived at a common position which will be expressed at the WTO
Ministerial Conference in Doha. They have designated Mr. Nicholas BIWOTT,
Minister for Trade of Kenya, as the spokesman for the whole ACP Group. Mr.
Clement Rohee, Minister for External Trade of Guyana will act as his deputy.
The ACP Ministers of Trade consider that the draft WTO Declaration which
will be tabled in Doha is ambiguous and unclear with regard to the
interests of developing countries and more particularly the countries of
the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. The ACP are requesting
that the commitments made by the developed countries vis-à-vis developing
countries in the context of the GATT be adhered to. There is no indication
of this in the WTO draft Declaration. In a transparent and democratic WTO,
developing countries must be part of the elaboration and implementation of
the new WTO rules. The draft Declaration does not guarantee any of this.
In the short term, the main concern of the ACP Group is to secure a WTO
waiver for the trade aspects of the Cotonou Agreement. The ACP have just
requested that this be urgently added to the Doha work programme. The
European Union and the Latin American countries were supposed to have come
to an agreement which would have enabled this dispute to be settled before
the Ministerial Conference in Doha.
IP and Healthcare
CPT Page on Doha
At the level of the ACP Group:
Deputy spokesman: Guyana
Representing their respective regions in the ACP Spokesman group:
Southern Africa: Lesotho
West Africa: Nigeria
Central Africa: Congo (Brazzaville)
East Africa: Uganda
Caribbean: St Vincent and the Grenadines
ACP/61/132/01 [FINAL] Brussels, 7 November 2001
We, the Ministers responsible for trade matters from the African, Caribbean
and Pacific Group of States, meeting in Brussels, Belgium from 5 - 6
November 2001 to, inter alia, prepare for the Fourth Ministerial Conference
of the World Trade Organization (WTO);
Having examined the draft WTO Ministerial Texts comprising the Draft
Ministerial Declaration; the Draft Decision on Implementation Related
Issues and Concerns; the Draft Declaration on Intellectual Property and
Public Health; the Compilation of Outstanding Implementation Issues Raised
by Developing Country Members; as well as the Proposed Procedures for
Extensions Under Article 27.4 of the Agreement on Subsidies and
Countervailing Measures for Certain Developing Country Members;
Having considered the outcomes of relevant meetings convened by various ACP
regions and other developing country regions and interest groups and in
particular the Ministerial Declaration of the 4th OAU/AEC meeting of
Ministers of Trade held in Abuja, Nigeria, and the Zanzibar Declaration of
LDC Trade Ministers;
Having considered Resolution AAP/3315/Comp on WTO negotiations adopted on 1
November 2001 by the 3rd Session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly;
Having considered Resolution APP/3201/A/fin on the impact of sanctions and,
in particular, of embargoes on the people of the countries on which such
measures are imposed, also adopted on 1 November, 2001, by the 3rd Session
of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly; Recalling the relevant sections
of the Declaration of the Third meeting of ACP Ministers of Trade held in
Concerned about the inordinate delay in the granting of the WTO waiver
request for the ACP-EC Cotonou Partnership Agreement; Whereas the key
challenge confronting the international community is the marginalization of
many developing countries in the global economy, particularly those in the
Whereas the WTO was established to, inter alia, ensure that developing
countries, and particularly the least developed among them, secure a share
in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic
Whereas an equitable and strengthened rules-based system that provides
enhanced certainty and security is essential to achieve this;
Whereas the Uruguay Round Agreements resulted in disciplines that are
extensive and with far reaching implications for national economic and
trade policies of members;
Whereas the Uruguay Round Agreements are imbalanced and embody deficiencies
that have had an adverse impact on trade and development interests of the
ACP and other developing countries;
Whereas the implementation of these Agreements requires institutional,
human, administrative and financial capacities currently lacking in many
Aware that ACP States and other developing countries have a definite
interest in reforming the multilateral trading system in a manner that
promotes and responds to their development needs;
Asserting that the multilateral trading system must address decisively and
adequately development issues in order to enhance its legitimacy and create
a basis for a new equitable global economic order for the benefit of all
Considering the importance and urgency of integrating ACP States into the
multilateral trading system and, in that regard, that development issues
should be at the core of any future work programme of the WTO;
Considering the need to examine the relationship between trade, debt and
finance and transfer of technology, given their importance to the
development of ACP States;
Recognizing the assistance provided by a number of organizations to ACP
States to facilitate their participation in the work of the WTO and
realising the need for additional support;
Declare as follows:
With regard to The multilateral trading system
- We reaffirm our commitment to the rules-based Multilateral Trading
System (MTS) as an instrument for the promotion of economic development,
facilitation of the integration of ACP States into the global economy, and
eradication of poverty. In this context, we affirm the importance of having
flexibility in the rules and their application.
- We emphasize that there is an urgent and fundamental need for
developmental issues to be put at the centre-stage of the WTO Work
Programme in order to enhance the development potential of ACP States.
- We consider it important that any future WTO Work Programme should be
based on a development agenda and should take into account the capacities
of ACP States to participate effectively in any such Work Programme. Any
trade rules should fully take into account the development needs of ACP
States. Inclusion of any new issues will require a fuller understanding of
their development implications and agreement by all members.
- We call for increased financial and technical support to ACP States, in
particular non-resident States, to participate effectively in, and
contribute meaningfully to, the work of the WTO.
- We reiterate our call for the elimination of the continued use of
coercive and unilateral economic measures, against developing countries,
which contravene international law and constitute a violation of WTO rules.
Implementation Issues and Mandated Reviews
- We recall the WTO General Council Decisions of 3 May 2000 and of 15
December 2000, reaffirming that the General Council shall address and
resolve all the outstanding implementation-related issues and concerns no
later than the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference. We therefore
call on firm decisions to be taken on the outstanding implementation issues
at the Doha Ministerial Conference. In the event that all outstanding
issues are not resolved, we urge that any remaining implementation issues
be addressed as a matter of priority, in the post-Doha Work Programme, with
a view to resolving them no later than the end of 2002.
- We call upon WTO members to grant an extension for the use of export
incentives until 2018 by developing ACP countries, in order to preserve
their fiscal incentives to export-oriented manufacturing and complete their
on-going export diversification.
- We urge the full operationalisation of the Decision on Measures
Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on LDCs
and Net Food Importing Developing Countries (NFIDCs).
- We affirm that within the framework of the Agreement on Agriculture,
Article 9 and Article 10 of the SPS Agreement and Article 11 and Article
12 of the TBT Agreement should be made mandatory.
Special and differential treatment
- We reaffirm that Special and Differential (S & D) treatment for
developing countries is a core principle of the WTO and thus should be
incorporated into the architecture of future WTO agreements and rules. We
further call on our developed country partners to commit themselves to
ensuring that S&D provisions are made meaningful, operational and
responsive to the developmental needs of developing countries by adopting a
Decision at Doha to make Special and Differential provisions legally
binding and enforceable.
- We reiterate that trade preferences have a crucial role in the
development of ACP States. Preferences must be meaningful, effective and
binding and should not be subject to any conditionalities not related to
trade. Any new preferences granted should not undermine existing terms and
conditions of access provided to ACP States. Furthermore, ACP States should
be given assistance to make full use of and benefit from preferences,
including assistance to address supply side constraints and productive
- We note with great concern the delay in the consideration and approval
of the waiver request for the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement. This inordinate
delay is unprecedented and runs counter to the trade and development
interests of the ACP States. It also seriously undermines the confidence of
the ACP States in the Multilateral Trading System. In this regard, we urge
that the waiver be granted at the Doha Ministerial Conference.
Capacity building and technical assistance
- We note that the ACP States continue to be constrained by limited
financial, technical, administrative and institutional capacities to
understand and analyse the full implications of WTO Agreements, adapt their
national laws and fulfil their obligations as required and to take full
advantage of the multilateral trade agreements in accordance with their
national objectives and priorities.
- We call upon the WTO to increase technical assistance and capacity
building activities, including strengthening supply side capabilities,
through programmes such as JITAP extended to all ACP States, the Integrated
Framework, and through effective cooperation with relevant development
institutions and organizations.
- We affirm that technical assistance and capacity building are core
functions of the WTO, and call for increased, predictable and secure
funding through the WTO's regular budget and other mechanisms, as appropriate.
- We affirm that funding for technical assistance and capacity building,
whatever its source, should be demand-driven and not be accompanied by any
Least developed countries
- We emphasize the urgency of the full implementation of the commitments
on trade of the Programme of Action adopted by the Third United Nations
Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC III), and call on WTO
members to make the commitments binding. We take note of the initiatives
for improved market access for products originating from LDCs. These
initiatives can be improved by having realistic and simplified rules of
origin which match the industrial capacity of LDCs. It is also important to
address adequately their supply side constraints. The Integrated Framework
has the potential to deliver trade related technical assistance. We urge
that it be enhanced and expanded to the other LDCs.
- We stress the need for the multilateral trading system to take account
of the particular problems and special needs of small, island and
vulnerable developing economies. In this regard, we call on WTO members to
establish a work programme to address these problems and special needs and
recommend that positive and concrete measures be adopted by the WTO General
Council before the end of 2002.
- In view of the difficulties experienced by a number of ACP States -
most of which are LDCs, small and island economies - in their accession to
the WTO, we call on WTO Members to refrain from placing excessive or
onerous demands on such applications, and to exempt them from undertaking
commitments which are inconsistent with their development needs and
capacities. We also urge that negotiations for accession be expedited,
streamlined, made more transparent and that acceding countries be given an
adequate transition period to adjust to the challenges of the MTS;
henceforth, we call for the provision of adequate financial and technical
assistance for them to accede speedily.
- Given the conditions of agriculture in most ACP States, we affirm that
Special and Differential treatment shall be an integral part of all aspects
of these negotiations. We stress the need for the 4th Ministerial
Conference to take the necessary decisions for achieving the fundamental
reform of agriculture by redressing the inequitable nature of existing
provisions in the Agreement on Agriculture. We emphasize the need for
provisions which offer developing countries adequate flexibility to develop
their agriculture through inter alia, the advancement of their non-trade
concerns, namely, food security, sustainable rural development, rural
livelihoods and poverty alleviation. We recognise the proposals made by
developing countries on a "Development Box" to be an important element of
such flexibility. We call on WTO members to provide meaningful market
access by, inter alia, addressing export subsidies and domestic support,
for all agricultural products originating from ACP States, while preserving
existing preferential arrangements. The negotiations shall address the
concerns of LDCs, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and small economies
as well as single commodity producers.
- We emphasize the need for effective implementation of GATS provisions
on improving market access in sectors and modes of export interest to ACP
countries. In this regard, we emphasize the need for effective
implementation of GATS Articles IV and XIX. 2, concerning liberalization of
market access in sectors and modes of supply of export interest to
developing and least developed countries; and the need for greater
liberalization of Mode 4 (Movement of Natural Persons), especially by
developed countries, through the elimination of barriers to market access.
Furthermore we call for the provision of credit for autonomous
liberalisation in services sectors undertaken by ACP countries.
- We recall the Singapore Ministerial Decision on Investment and
Competition Policy, that: "it is clearly understood that future
negotiations, if any, regarding multilateral disciplines in these areas,
will take place only after an explicit consensus decision is taken among
WTO members regarding such negotiations".
- We affirm that ACP States are not prepared at this time to engage in
negotiations on Singapore issues. We call for the continuation of the work
of various working groups that have been established to study the
respective subjects, as set out below:
Trade and Investment
- We are concerned that the relevance for the development of a
multilateral investment agreement in the WTO has neither been fully
discussed nor understood. Thus we call on the study process in this area to
focus in particular, on the relationship between trade and possible
multilateral disciplines on investment before any rules in this area are
Trade and Competition Policy
- We note that most ACP States do not have the necessary legal and
administrative infrastructure and pre-requisites to deal with competition
policy. Furthermore, the inter-relationship between competition and
economic development is complex, and needs to be explored fully before we
can consider agreeing to multilateral regulation in this area.
Transparency in Government Procurement
- We note that issues relating to Transparency in Government Procurement
are complex, and that many important issues are still not clarified. In
view of the lack of clarity of the implications of a multilateral framework
on Transparency in Government Procurement on the social and economic
development of ACP States, we urge the continuation of the study process.
- We hold the view that Trade Facilitation measures are necessary and
beneficial to all countries. In this context, on-going work within and
outside the WTO (e. g. rules of origin, customs valuation) should continue.
Improved trade facilitation measures should not constitute part of WTO
disciplines, but remain the subject of domestic initiatives.
Core Labour Standards
- We reiterate the position taken at the First WTO Ministerial Conference
in Singapore that Core Labour Standards should remain under the purview of
Trade and Environment
- We support the on-going work-programme on the interface between trade
and environment. We reaffirm our commitment to sustainable development.
While reaffirming our commitment to implementing environmental standards as
defined by the relevant international conventions, we reiterate that issues
such as environmental standards should not be incorporated into the
multilateral trading negotiations as these can be used for protectionist
- We recognize the useful work being undertaken on electronic commerce at
the WTO and support the continuation of the educative and analytical process.
- We further reaffirm our decision not to impose customs duties on
electronic transmissions, and to review this decision at the 5th
Non-Agricultural Market Access
- We stress that any decision to engage in industrial tariff negotiations
should be on the basis of prior completion of a study process, which should
examine the effect of previous and any future tariff reductions on the
industries of ACP States. We call on UNCTAD, UNIDO and other relevant
agencies to continue their assistance and support to ACP States in this area.
Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement
- We emphasize that the benefits of intellectual property regimes should
be equitably shared between the owners and users of technology.
Intellectual property protection should encourage innovation and
technological development in a manner that is also conducive to meet public
and social policy objectives and transfer of technology to developing
- We declare that the implementation of the TRIPs Agreement is part of
the wider national and international action to address the grave public
health problems afflicting many developing and least developed countries.
In this regard, we reaffirm that nothing in the TRIPs Agreement shall
prevent governments from taking measures for protecting public health and
nutrition as well as to ensure access to affordable medicines. We urge the
WTO members to so declare at the Doha Ministerial Conference.
- We further reaffirm that members should develop mechanisms to allow for
the disclosure of the sources of traditional knowledge and genetic
resources used in inventions in order to achieve a fair and equitable
sharing of benefits. The TRIPs Agreement should be supportive of, and not
run counter to, the objectives of the CBD.
- We urge that the review of the TRIPs Agreement should clarify that all
living organisms including plants, animals, and part of plants and animals,
including gene sequencing and biological and other natural processes for
the production of plants and animals and their parts shall not be patented.
- We further urge developed countries to put into effect meaningful
incentives for their enterprises to transfer technology in accordance with
their commitments under Article 66.2 of the TRIPs Agreement, which is
Regional Trade Arrangements
- We recognize that regional trade arrangements can be complementary to
the multilateral trading system. We therefore stress that regional trade
arrangements among developed countries should not discriminate against the
interests of developing countries.
- We reiterate that regional and sub-regional integration among
developing countries is essential to reversing the process of
marginalization and constitutes a dynamic basis for their effective
integration into the Multilateral Trading System. We further reiterate that
multilateral rules should provide adequate flexibility to enable the ACP
States to advance their interests when concluding WTO compatible trading
arrangements with the European Union or any country or group of countries.
Trade, Debt and Finance; Trade and Transfer of Technology
- We support the establishment of a mechanism that will contribute to a
durable solution to the problem of external indebtedness of developing and
least developed countries. We further support measures that will facilitate
the transfer of technology to these countries. In this regard, we support
the proposed establishment of working groups in the WTO to address these
issues, with a view to formulating recommendations to the 5th WTO
- We reiterate the need for the WTO to grant Permanent Observer Status to
the ACP Group of States and other ACP related inter-governmental and
Decision making process
- We recognize the critical importance of a transparent, democratic,
inclusive and consultative decision-making process in the WTO. We
underscore the importance of taking decisions by consensus. This is vital
to creating confidence in the Organization and in the Multilateral Trading
System. In this regard, we urge the adoption of a decision at the 4th WTO
Ministerial Conference to guarantee that the process of consultation and
decision-making in the WTO is transparent and inclusive, and that
procedures are clearly spelt out. We call for measures to be taken to
facilitate the involvement of members whose missions are not resident in
Geneva. A report on these matters should be submitted to the 5th WTO
- We emphasize that the decision-making process at the WTO Ministerial
Conference in Doha should also be transparent and inclusive.
- We declare that the post-Doha WTO Work Programme should be conducted
within the existing structure of the WTO bodies.
Coherence in global economic governance
- We call for a meaningful implementation of the "Declaration on the
Contribution of the World Trade Organization to Achieving Greater Coherence
in Global Economic Policymaking". It is important to enhance coherence
amongst the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO with a view to
promoting, without cross-conditionality or additional conditions,
consistent and mutually supportive policies, that will contribute to
improved co-ordination of technical and financial assistance, reduction of
the debt burden, including cancellation, recognition of autonomous
liberalization and eradication of poverty.