Jul 25, 1987

UNCTAD-VII: PLENARY RESUMES, NEGOTIATIONS STALL IN COMMITTEES.

GENEVA, JULY 23 (IFDA/CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN) - The Plenary of the Seventh Session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development resumed Friday its general debate, even as G77 sources said negotiations in various Committees were either stalled or making no progress.

According to the original schedule, the Committees are to wind up their work by Friday night, but the Conference President Bernard Chidzero has told the four chairmen that they should wind up their work and report to the presidentís contact group latest by Saturday.

The presidentís contact group held its first formal meeting Friday. Chidzero has said that he would utilise the presence of Ministers here next week, and try to sort out in the presidentís contact group any "knots" in the work of the various committees, including recommendations and conclusions on policies and measures.

A number of group B delegations, several of them at level of Ministers, are due to speak in the Plenary next week.

The Conference is due to wind up on July 31.

G77 sources said that consultations and negotiations in the various Committees are at an impasse due to what they consider as the stalling tactics of the Group B.

They said this has been particularly evident in the Committee on International Trade, while in the Committee on Commodities the Group B is opposed to any reiteration or reaffirmation of the 1976 Nairobi integrated programme for commodities or reiteration of UNCTADís negotiating and lead role in the commodity area.

In the Committee on Trade, G77 sources said, there has been a general discussion of the paper put forward by the chairman, but the Group B countries would not make any detailed responses to the various elements and parts of the paper, merely asking the chairman to come up with a new paper.

In effect, the Group B are saying, everything related to trade should be left to GATT and the Uruguay round, and UNCTAD should merely function as some kind of technical assistance agency in this field to promote what the Group B want to achieve in GATT.

The chairman reportedly told them Thursday night that without detailed comments on the various paragraphs on his paper, he had very little material for revising this paper.

He was due to hold some informal consultations separately Friday morning with regional groups.

In the Committee on resources, the G77 found the narrative and assessment portions of the paper on debt unacceptable, implying as it did among other things that the current strategy was evolving and working.

The G77 found some of the elements in policies and measures useful, though they felt they needed further refinement, and include some policy commitments from the creditor industrialised states.

The chairmanís text on external resources, the G77 complained was very specific on actions by the third world countries, speaking of what they "will need" to do Ė expansion of domestic production and investment, adoption of economic structures to changes in world markets, increasing mobility of resources, adopt more advanced technologies and improve efficiencies of their economies.

But the paper was vague, and provided no equivalent commitments form the industrialised countries on the acknowledged need for increasing external resource flows.