Jul 25, 1987
UNCTAD-VII: FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF STANDSTILL AND ROLLBACK SOUGHT.GENEVA, JULY 23 (IFDA/CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN) Ė A range of policies and measures, both within the Uruguay Round MTNS and outside it, have been put forward in a draft paper of the chairman of the Third Committee on International trade, Amb. Chak Mun See, of Singapore.The chairmanís text was put forward by him Thursday afternoon, after earlier extensive informal consultations with the bureau and regional coordinators showed the Group B countries were unwilling to formulate their own proposals or discussion and negotiate on the G77 proposals, merely contenting themselves by saying they were impossible. While supportive on the Uruguay round MTNS, and viewing its successful conclusion as important for improved multilateral framework for trade, the chairmanís looks beyond the narrow framework of GATT trade issues and focuses on UNCTADís traditional focus of trade and development issues. In its recommendations on policies and measures, the paper calls for full implementation of standstill and rollback commitments, particularly in respect of measures affecting third world exports. It calls for "improved and more transparent" evaluation by national authorities of measures affecting patterns of production and trade, and transparent and independent national mechanisms to examine request for protection by firms or sectors and to help governments prepare programmes to facilitate structural adjustment and monitoring implementation of such programmes. "Economic and trade sanctions against developing countries should not be imposed for political reasons", the paper suggests. The paper calls for continuance of the annual review of protectionism and structural adjustment by the UNCTAD trade and development board, and improving it to have wider geographical coverage and of sectors of special interest to the third world. The review, it suggests, should include analysis of principal elements and effects of structural adjustment policies, as well as various policy options in trade and development, keeping in mind importance of resources and technology in the development process. The paper also calls for continuance of the secretariat work on data base for non-tariff measures, improving its methodology, definitions and geographical coverage, and making information available to member states on request. In the area of access to markets, it calls for improved access to products of export interest to the third world, and in particular liberalisation of trade by industrialised countries in tropical products and natural resource based products. Tariff escalation and non-tariff barriers on products of export interest to the third world should also be eliminated, it suggests. In agriculture, it calls for corrective actions aimed at improving market access through elimination of restrictions, improvement of competititve atmosphere through elimination of distortions, and bringing measures affecting market access and export competition under strengthened and more operationally effective GATT rules and disciplines. Trade regime in textiles and clothing, the paper suggests, should be liberalised by removing discriminatory export restraints on third world exports, and steps taken to integrate the regime into GATT on basis of strengthened GATT rules and disciplines. On GSP, the paper calls for improvements through expanded product coverage and "without impairment of multilaterally agreed principles relating to its generalised, non-discriminatory and non-reciprocal character". The UNCTAD secretary-general is asked to report on observance of these principles by preference giving countries, and to continue and strengthen the technical assistance programme for GSP. The special problems of LDCS, and particular problems of landlocked and island-developing countries are asked to be kept in vie in undertaking these tasks. The paper calls for delinking multilaterally agreed commitments on trade in goods from concessions in other areas, and delinking negotiations on trade in goods and negotiations in other areas. Within the framework of UNCTAD, the paper suggests the setting up of improved mechanisms for transparency, consultation procedures and monitoring of the implementation of the set of principles for control of restrictive business practices. On the issue of international trading system, the paper falls short of the G77 demand for work on a blueprint on an improved system, but calls for continued review of the subject in UNCTAD, with a view to evolving elements for improving and strengthening the system so that "it is universal, non-discriminatory, comprehensive, stable and predictable and oriented towards development and growth". Underscoring the need for "stable and supportive" international economic environment for smooth functioning of the international trading system, the paper calls for actions in the areas of monetary and financial matters, technology, services and other relevant matters to be "compatible and consonant with the international trading system". The paper also calls for active participation by UNCTAD members who are GATT contracting parties in the Uruguay round, and suggests that the review of the international trading system (in UNCTAD) should be supportive of the Uruguay round MTNS. The Trade and Development Board is asked to follow closely developments and issues in the Uruguay round of particular concern to the third world, and the secretary-general of UNCTAD asked to continue and strengthen technical assistance programmes for third world countries in connection with the round. In the area of services, UNCTAD is asked to continue work under its existing mandate, and --Analyse from viewpoint of third world countries the implications of issues raised in the context of trade in services, --Analyse implications of any international trade regime governing trade in services, --Work out appropriate problematic for trade in services, keeping in view the technological progress in this area, and --Explore possibilities of establishing a programme of cooperation on services within UNCTAD as a mechanism for channelling financial and technical assistance to third world countries to strengthen their service sectors. In the area of inter-systems (east/south and east/west) trade and economic relations, the Trade and Development Board is requested to elaborate and adopt measures for promotion of such trade and economic cooperation. The secretary-general of UNCTAD is also asked to carry out necessary consultations with relevant governments on possibility of initiating process of negotiations to further strengthen trade and economic cooperation between third world and socialist countries of Eastern Europe. The socialist countries are requested to take measures to contribute fully and effectively to efforts of third world countries to diversify and intensify their trade, and provide a growing share of their imports, including semi-manufactures and manufactures, from third world countries. Socialist countries are also requested to further improve their GSP schemes, improve terms and conditions of credit to third world countries, enlarge economic assistance and increase share of convertible currencies in resources made available for financing projects in the third world, develop a flexible and efficient payment mechanism in trade operations, and pay special attention to needs and requirements of LDCS. The secretary-general of UNCTAD is asked to prepare an analytical report on interdependence of different flows of international trade, with reference to inter-system trade flows and on policy implications of this interdependence.