TWN Info Service on WTO Issues (July04/25)
29 July 2004
Third World Network
G33 Issue Statement calling for better treatment of SP and SSM in July agriculture text
The Group of 33 developing countries has issued a statement calling for the agriculture text in the draft July package to give a higher degree of clarity and specificity to special products and a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries. The statement was issued by Indonesia on behalf of the G-33 in Geneva on 28 July.
The G-33 also asked for language on all special and differential treatment, including on SP and SSM to be appropriately enhanced. It is concerned by the position by some members who continue to demand that limitations be placed on the SP and SSM concepts.
It called for SP provisions in the revised agreement on agriculture to have these parameters: developing countries must be able to decide themselves a percentage of tariff lines considred as SP; Sp to be a stand-alone provision; no tariff reduction commitment for all SP; no new TRQ commitment on all SP; and all SP products to have access to SSM.
The G-33 is also known as the SP/SSM Alliance to champion the concepts and provisions of Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanisms. The Group comprises 42 developing countries of the WTO. They are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Botswana, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Korea, Mauritius, Mongolia, Montserrat, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, The Philippines, Peru, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Below is the G-33 press statement.
Press Statement of the G-33
G-33 Re-emphasises the Importance of SP and SSM
The G-33 is an alliance of 42 fairly diverse developing country members of the WTO. The Group believes that liberalization should not further aggravate the level of rural poverty and food insecurity. Throughout the agriculture negotiations, members of the G-33 have been striving to ensure that the issue food security, livelihood security, and rural development become an integral part of the Agriculture negotiation and its outcome, as called for by the Doha Mandate.
The G-33 believes that Special Products (SP) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM), constitute a fundamental component of the needed flexibilities in the current negotiation to address developing members’ food and livelihood security, and rural development concerns. In this regard, the Group is of the position that to be an effective instrument, SP provisions in the revised agreement on agriculture must have the following parameters:
· Developing countries must be able to decide themselves a percenbtage of tariff lines to be considered as SP.
· SP must be a stand alone provision.
· There must be no tariff reduction commitment for all SP.
· There must be no new TRQ commitment on all SP.
· Products considered as SP must also have access to SSM.
The G-33 recognizes the importance of arriving at a framework by the end of July 2004. In this respect the Group appreciates the efforts undertaken by the Chair of the Agriculture Special Session, to facilitate negotiations in our collective effort to reach agreement on an Agriculture framework.
Whilst concerned over the imbalances of the current draft agriculture framework, the G-33 have continued to work on the basis of constructive spirit and conditional trust. Through the various contributions it has presented in recent consultations, the G-33 has shown considerable flexibilities, in its effort to provide an adequate degree of comfort and flexibility to all members, so as to ensure that we can meet the July 2004 deadline.
The Group is concerned by the position taken by some members who to date continue to demand limitation of the concept of SP and SSM. The G-33 firmly re-emphasizes that as an integral part of Special and Differential Treatment, SP and SSM must have a higher degree of clarity and specificity in the eventual framework to be agreed. As this is supposed to be a Development Round of Trade Negotiation, the G-33 therefore believes that language on all special and differential treatment, including on SP and SSM must be appropriately enhanced.
The G-33 continues to believe that provisions on Special Products (SP) and Special Safeguard Mechanisms (SSM) for developing countries are crucial for addressing food and livelihood security as well as rural development of a vast number of the rural poor, and constitute a fundamental component of Special and Differential Treatment for which no compensation can be requested from developing countries.
Geneva, 28 July 2004
Issued by Indonesia on behalf of the G-33 member countries.