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TRADE.COM II SUPPORT TO THE ACP GROUP IN GENEVA - FOCUS ON THE PROGRAMME

Posted on: May 24, 2018

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The programme “Targeted Support to the ACP Group in Geneva to Strengthen the Group’s participation in the multilateral trade negotiations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO)” began its activities in March 2017. The aim of the programme was to support the ACP Group in Geneva to more effectively participate in multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO, and the drafting of ACP positions in the context of the WTO negotiations.

The Team of Experts supported preparatory work on the ACP Ministers declaration, developed with ACP Group in Geneva and endorsed by Ambassadors for the ACP Ministerial held in Brussels. Ministers adopted the declaration which was the first submission from any Member in the basket for MC11. The team worked intensively with ACP Coordination and Members in Brussels on the declaration and outcome reports as well as in Buenos Aires on drafts and strategies. The ACP Group could effectively frame their positions and priorities throughout the process in Geneva, Brussels, and Buenos Aires.

The Team’s support to the ACP Group led to progress being achieved on several key issues at MC11, namely on submissions on agriculture and fisheries. Regarding fisheries, support provided by the team informed several sessions in consultations at the EU mission with the original 7 proponents, including the first ever proponent-led consolidated working draft clearly reflecting ACP positions. This work, inputs and drafts, emerged into a Chair-led consolidated text developed from hours of several layers of consultations/negotiations, containing modified ACP positions backed by additional research and analysis to protect ACP interest and catapult the ACP Group, including coalition with the LDC Group and Africa Group, to help steer final options for an MC11 Fisheries Decision. 

One of the greatest successes from the Team’s support to the ACP Group was reflected in a decision document agreed in Buenos Aires (WT/MIN (17)/64, WT/L/1031).  Notably, the only multilateral decision taken by all Members, by consensus on a Doha Development Agenda (DDA) issue. The final decision led to the ACP Group achieving its objective of confirming a date for concluding the negotiations by next year, MC12 and a clear route for de-linking fisheries (with food security and depletion of ACP fisheries resources concern hanging in the balance with SDG 14.6 target 2020) from antidumping, and other protracted difficult trade remedies issues in the mandate for rules negotiations. Importantly, the decision did not compromise on any substantive areas of the ACP’s position, and expressly refers to the consolidated texts with Ministerial instruction to use them as a basis for negotiations in 2018.

The programme concluded with a brainstorming event with ACP Group delegates held in Geneva in February 2018 with WTO DG Azevedo, Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director ITC, and the Secretary General of UNCTAD, Dr Kituyi attending. The event hosted an excellent exchange of ideas between all parties and paved the way for a promising new outlook for the ACP Group ahead of the next WTO Ministerial.

Programme funded by European Union at the request of ACP Group - Implemented by AESA CONSORTIUM