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KENYA’S COMMENTS ON THE REVISED DRAFT MINSTERIAL TEXTS FOR THE FOURTH WTO CONFERENCE.

Mr. Chairman,

The preparatory process for the Fourth WT’0 Ministerial Conference that you and the Director General initiated at the beginning of year has been transparent and my delegation would like to commend both of you for that.  We also wish to note with appreciation the manner in which you have been reporting back to the Members on the progress of your consultations.

Mr. Chairman,

Kenya wishes to associate itself fully with the statement made by Zimbabwe on behalf of the African Group.  While the process you undertook to prepare for the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference may have been right, the end product falls short of our expectations.  We see it as work in progress because you have clearly stated that the texts do not purport to be agreed.  Following this, we would have expected you to point out in these texts the divergent views held by different delegations to assist our Ministers take appropriate decisions at Doha.

In the absence of an explicit consensus by the Council, to transmit these documents to the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference, all of them remain bracketed.  We, therefore, appeal to your good office to highlight in the same texts the main areas of disagreements and the different views held by delegations.  You have already attempted to do so in the text on TRIPS and Public Health.  The same standard should prevail in other texts as well.  In Kenya’s view it is the responsibility of the General Council to ensure that the texts submitted to the Ministerial Conference faithfully reflect the views expressed by members during the consultative process.

We are, therefore, concerned that these texts are being transmitted to the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference without agreement to do so by the council- Moreover we would like to point out the glaring contradiction of non-consensual documents under the title of the General council being transmitted to the conference.  Many delegations have expressed their views that the texts are biased towards one side and transmitting them in their present form will have far reaching consequences for the credibility of the multilateral trading system.

Mr. Chairman,

The General Council meeting of February 8, 2001 authorized you and the Director, General to start consultation on both organizational and substantive matters related to the preparation of the 4th session of the Ministerial Conference and to report back to the General Council on progress made. Indeed your cover note for the first draft states:

“The attached draft Ministeria1 Declaration is submitted for the consideration of delegations by the Chairman of the General Council in co-operation with the Director-General. Lt represents what they judge to be the best possible basis at the present time for reaching an eventual consensus on a balanced text to be put before Ministers in Doha.  This draft does not of course purport to be agreed in any part, and it is understood that agreement must be reached on the text as a whole.

The present draft presents options in certain areas, and in other areas text remains to be developed.  These are indicated by notes in italics which are not to be read as part of the text proper.  Further intensive consultations based on this draft are envisaged, with the aim of resolving outstanding differences before a revision is issued.”

Your revised texts seem to deviate from your earlier approach as you indicate that they are for transmission to the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference yet they are not agreed in any part at this stage.

Mr. Chairman,

There are several parts of the texts that do not meet our expectations.  For now we wish to limit our comments on the Draft Ministerial Declaration JOB (01)1140/Rev.1.

Mr. Chairman,

In spite of the fact that a large number of developing countries, including Kenya supported the inclusion of the development Box in paragraph 13,we note there is no mention of it.  Given that we all seek to place the interests and needs of Developing and Least Developed Countries at the heart of the WTO work programme and recognizing the importance of Agriculture in this group of countries, we would urge you to reconsider the inclusion of the development box as proposed by a large number of developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

I now turn to paragraph 16.  You will recall that Kenya on behalf of 7 countries submitted to you a proposal on a study process to precede negotiations on the issue of non-agricultural market access.  This proposal was supported by a large number of countries and we were taken by surprise when your revised text remained silent on the proposal.  Mr. Chairman the proposal was simply reiterating the African Trade Ministers’ decision taken in Abuja that a study process to assess the impact of the past and future tariff reductions in this sector precedes negotiations.  We request that you circulate the proposal as a WTO document to Members as well as our Ministers in Doha.

On Singapore issues, we are still committed to the Ministers’ decision contained in, Singapore Ministerial declaration that “future negotiations, if any, regarding multilateral disciplines on these areas will take place only after an explicit consensus decision is taken among the WTO Members regarding such negotiations.” The consultations held thus far did not engender convergence of views and as such the language of your text pertaining to the Singapore subjects is heavily tilted towards the view point of those Members, who have been seeking to engage in negotiations.

Mr. Chairman,

Although we agree with those Members who have argued that the reduction of trade barriers over the past fifty years have boosted trade and economic growth, we do not agree with them when they state that we need a round to stave off recession.  This is because it is difficult to establish a link between particular rounds of trade negotiations and economic boom or recovery periods.

Mr. Chairman,

If the WTO is committed to improving internal transparency in decision making, then it should consider very carefully how it would handle the future work programme.  Developing and least developed countries with small Missions have consistently said that even with the current work programme, they are unable to follow all deliberations in the WTO.  Small Missions like ours will be disadvantaged by the creation of additional bodies to handle future work programme.  It is our contention that the existing WTO bodies are competent to handle any trade issues that may form part of the future work programme.  We are also concerned that the more issues on the agenda the more meetings will be required and this will be very difficult for the small delegations to effectively engage in the process.  Hence pursuing what is being touted as broad and balanced agenda risks continuing marginalization of poor developing countries in the WTO and carries an attendant risk that any final deal will not be perceived to be democratic and will not be politically acceptable

We hope our contributions will help you to reflect further on this matter with a view to coming up with a text that is acceptable to the entire membership.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

31 October 2001.

 


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