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Minister Davies Calls for Outcomes on the Outstanding Issues of the DOHA Development Agenda
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies and Deputy Minister Mr. Bulelani Magwanishe took part in the first day of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Informal Ministerial Gathering in Morocco.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the exchange of views between the Trade Ministers invited and for the Ministers to provide guidance to the officials in Geneva on possible outcomes at the upcoming 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2017. One hundred and sixty four (164) countries are members of the WTO and will be attending the Ministerial Conference, which is the highest decision making body in the WTO.
Minister Davies said that South Africa’s priorities are aligned to those of the African Group and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group. The priority for these groups are to finish the outstanding work of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) including, in agriculture, to address the trade distorting domestic support subsidies being provided by mainly developed countries.
“These will remain high priorities for many developing countries and for Africa, and these priorities were re-emphasised at a recent Trade Ministers meeting at the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa,” said Minsiter Davies.
Minister Davies noted that there were many proposals on the different issues discussed at the WTO but there seems to be very little convergence. There are also different views on how the outstanding DDA issues should be addressed with some countries challenging the agreed development framework under the DDA.
“We need to be realistic and make a call soon on which issues sufficient convergence has been achieved to be taken forward as possible outcomes at MC1,” added Minister Davies..
South Africa and Africa’s engagement in the WTO aims to among others conclude the DDA on the basis of its development mandate; advocate for a permanent solution for Public Stockholding which aims to promote food security; eliminate trade distorting measures especially on agriculture trade; eliminate trade distorting measures on cotton; protect policy space to promote Africa’s structural transformation agenda and the right to regulate in the public interest; promote sustainable development, including through addressing illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and advance issues of interest to Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Minister Davies further reiterated the importance of the development integration agenda of the African continent and stated that outcomes at the multilateral level should not limit the policy space needed to industrialize and advance the developmental objectives of the continent.
This WTO Informal Ministerial Gathering follows the Informal Africa Ministers of Trade meeting that was jointly hosted by South Africa and the African Union Commission (AUC) on 18 September 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Minister Davies together with Deputy Minister Magwanishe and Chinese Vice Minister of Trade Mr. WANG Shouwena at the WTO Informal Ministerial gathering in Morocco.
Sidwell Medupe -Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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