Pacific Group calls on Pacific World Trade Organization members to respect non-negotiating Ministerial
The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) is calling on Pacific members of the World Trade Organisation to honour the
previous statement by the Director General and not let this weeks Ministerial become a negotiation on the current
Negotiations were officially suspended in Geneva on November 26 following the meeting of the General Council with the
Director General commenting that "holding negotiations in the short time that we're going to have in Bali would be
simply impracticable with over 100 ministers around the table."
The following day a meeting was convened between the Least Developed Countries interim chair, Solomon Islands Ambassador
Mose, which ended with alleged agreement by Least Developed Countries on Section II of the Trade Facilitation agreement.
PANG's trade campaigner, Adam Wolfenden who is currently in Bali commented that “the LDC grouping has yet to reconvene
and actually accept any interim deal that was agreed back in Geneva, so to hear calls that countries must conclude a
Bali deal this week is pre-emptive”.
Some countries had hoped that the Bali Ministerial would see balanced agreement that delivers for Developing Countries
and LDCs on negotiations covering Trade Facilitation, Agriculture and LDC issues. Trade Facilitation negotiations aimed
to streamline the passage of goods clearing borders. Section II of the Trade Facilitation negotiations deals with the
issue of assistance for Developing and Least Developed Countries to comply with any outcomes that resulted from that
“What is reported to have been a major break-through is in fact a major concession from LDCs. In fact the current
content of Section II of the TF agreement concedes the main pillars and safeguards which LDCs and Developing Countries
have sought since the beginning of negotiations. These include safeguards for self-designation and self-assessment as
well as any guarantee of financial assistance. In return all they have received were some minor additional timelines for
implementation, the type of flexibilities that should be granted automatically for LDCs,” continued Mr Wolfenden.
“It appears that the same old tactics are being used by the US and EU to try isolate and pressure vulnerable countries
to agree to bad agreements in the hope that other countries will too. The trade Facilitation agreement will see
Developing and Least Developed Countries having to divert precious financial resources to comply with their new customs
obligations, adding unneeded pressure on already stretched government resources.
There are currently three Pacific Least Developed Country members in the WTO.