I have the honour of delivering this explanation of vote on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this declaration.
The EU has voted against the draft resolution on International Trade and Development, A/C.2/61/L.10.
The EU was particularly disappointed about the outcome of the consultation process and, contrary to previous years when we abstained, the EU considers that it cannot be associated to the language and the spirit which transpires from some essential formulations in this resolution.
We appreciate the hard work of all parties involved and by the Facilitator, Mr. Giza Gaspar Martins, of Angola.
We regret that it has not been possible to reach an agreement on the GA resolution on trade and development and to send a consensual message on the value for all WTO members of Doha Development Agenda negotiations and the benefits that all UN members, including developing countries, derive from open trade and the rules-based international trading system to sustain their economic growth and achieve their development objectives.
Like in past years, we believe that it would be in the interest of all to send such a message, along with a clear recognition of the benefits of a successful conclusion of the WTO Doha round. Unfortunately, and in spite of some constructive suggestions during the consultations aimed at starting anew, with a fresh text, the G77 preferred a strategy knowing that the outcome would be non-consensual.
There are several elements of the draft resolution L.10 on trade and development that the EU cannot accept and that caused us to vote against it today. I will not outline all those elements, but wish to underline that the draft resolution is overall imbalanced.
The text submitted by the G77, by repeating the same unbalanced language as in last years resolution concerning the Doha Round, does not take into account the progress made in Geneva in 2007, with the tabling of two Chairs documents, and rejects the notion that progress has been made, including in agriculture and non-agricultural market access, to bring us closer to a conclusion on the Round which would benefit all countries. While this is not yet the closing game and we will all have to continue to work hard in 2008, in our view the UN membership should be able to acknowledge the movements which occurred so far and should feel encouraged by this progress, rather than seeking to be divisive on the issue.
In addition, the resolution as proposed includes no reference to a balanced outcome of the Round and to the Single Undertaking, the key to it.
Equally, the reference to the role of the UN in the TRIPS negotiations makes this text unacceptable for the EU.
We are also concerned that the long passages on UNCTADs role, when the debate on the future of UNCTAD is underway within the preparatory process of UNCTAD XII, could prejudge a full and open discussion in the Conference in Accra, the appropriate forum, that will meet next April.
In this respect, Madame Chair, let me add that the EU will approach UNCTAD XII in a positive and constructive spirit. UNCTAD XII provides an important opportunity for dialogue and debate on issues of globalisation and interdependence at a time when there is an increasing need for a shared understanding of how best to ensure that globalisation results in real benefits for developing countries, in particular the poorest among them.
Indeed, on other issues of interest for developing countries, such as action on Aid for Trade and Duty-free/Quota-free market access for Least Developed Countries products, we believe that this proposed draft Resolution does not reflect all the efforts to reach consensual language made in the course of the consultations and note that some previously agreed language could have been used instead. We regret this missed opportunity, since the EU remains committed to a significant development package.
Finally, we firmly oppose the suggestion that a text on trade and development such as this one, adopted by a vote, should be sent to the WTO and circulated as a WTO document, as claimed by the last paragraph of this resolution. We believe that the different membership of the two Organisations, if nothing else, should make it impossible for the WTO Director General to follow this invitation, if the UNSG were to accede to it.
While regretting these repeated failures to find consensus in the Second Committee on trade and development, now for the fourth time in a row, the EU remains fully committed to the DDA, which continues to be the central priority of our trade policy. We remain committed to open markets, progressive trade liberalization, and stronger multilateral rules, as a trigger for growth and development, not least in the interest of developing countries. In this spirit, we will continue to work with all our partners in the WTO for a successful outcome of the Doha Round.
All WTO Members share a responsibility in this Round. That is to say that all WTO Members should contribute to the Round in accordance with their means; and that we fully agree that developing countries should do less than developed countries.
Nevertheless, emerging economies should also open their markets not least to increase South-South trade and in favour of the LDCs. At the same time we can accept that the poorest developing countries take up no or very few market opening commitments. But the DDA remains a common endeavour of all WTO Members, not a one-way street.
The last consideration is for the credibility of the work of the UN in the areas of trade and development. The EU negative vote on this resolution this year demonstrates our concern that this resolution may become irrelevant if we are consistently unable to reach consensus. We strongly urge next years negotiators to start on a better footing, with a fresh text, in order to achieve a different and more constructive result in the end.
Thank you, Madame Chair.
*Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.