Posted: December 11, 2017
Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe’s Statement on South Africa’s position on Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT) at the First Facilitator’s Session on Development
|The G90 proposals on special and differential treatment, reflects a widely shared and longstanding set of concerns, by a large number of developing countries. For African countries, committed to structural transformation, integration and industrialization, these proposals are of vital importance to us.
The G90 proposals on special and differential treatment, reflects a widely shared and longstanding set of concerns, by a large number of developing countries. For African countries, committed to structural transformation, integration and industrialization, these proposals are of vital importance to us.
We are also acutely aware that the 10 S&DT proposals that are on the table, are significantly recalibrated in form and substance, from the original list of 148 S&DT proposals. Despite this, they continue to confront stiff opposition.
South Africa is seeking a positive outcome on the G90 proposal and we call on Ministers to adopt the draft decision. We have been brought together to this political meeting to signal that, the WTO is working, and that multilateralism is serving the interests of all Members. Yet, this has not been the case.
Fundamentally, there is recognition that the current Multilateral Trading System and the rules, have contributed to, and resulted in the marginalization of especially the developing economies. All Members must work decisively to create a multilateral environment conducive for industrialisation, structural transformation and economic diversification. This is the blueprint for development.
The existing rules do not accommodate our developmental needs. The WTO should not be moving further away from ‘inclusive multilateralism’. Members should be embracing a model of ‘inclusive multilateralism’ to make the WTO more relevant and responsive to the needs of developing and least developed countries.
For South Africa, policy space is critical to achieve our development objectives and structural transformation, including preserving the use of key trade policy instruments necessary to promote industrial development. These would allow us to pursue legitimate development objectives and promote our effective integration into the global economy.
The Multilateral Trading System should support the objectives of the African development agenda. This is an opportunity for Ministers to send a strong signal to the world that development, and inclusive multilateralism can work for us all.
Therefore, we continue to seek an outcome at this Conference on S&DT, in line with paragraph 44 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration, and reiterate our commitment to the Doha Development Agenda.
Chair, for South Africa, the proposed discussion on trade and development cannot replace the G90 proposal and draft Ministerial Decision. Too much work, time, and effort has gone into this work for over a decade to reduce this to a discussion on trade and development. This is not acceptable and we believe that it is disingenuous.
Certainly, we agree, that ‘development’ has to be mainstreamed into a larger discussion about inclusive multilateralism. However, the G90 proposal and the S&DT work in the Committee on Trade and Development in Special Session has a very specific mandate and historical context. We must not shy away from this.