Apr 12, 1988


BELGRADE APRIL 8 (IFDA/CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN) The Belgrade Declaration to be adapted by the Ministerial Session of the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP) Negotiating Committee next week will set in motion the preparatory processes for the next round of negotiations under the GSTP.

A working group of Senior Officials, chaired by Shrirang P. Shukla of India, finalised Thursday night the terms of a draft declaration, which among other things would call for the start of this preparatory process.

The report of the working group, along with the recommendation On the terms of the draft declaration, are to be approved by Senior Officials at their final plenary Saturday, and passed on to the Ministers for adoption.

The declaration, when adopted by Ministers, will announce the opening of the GSTP agreement for signature at Belgrade and call upon all signatories to conclude expeditiously the ratification procedures to enable the agreement to be brought into force.

For entry into force, the agreement requires ratification of 15 signatories drawn from the three regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The agreement will enter into force 30 days after the 15 ratifications have been deposited with the Yugoslav government, the depository of the agreement.

While the Ministers, by adopting the declaration, would set in motion preparations fOr the next round of negotiations under the GSTP, the actual launching would be done by the "Committee of participants" under the agreement, when the agreement enters into force.

Under the terms of the proposed declaration, the preparatory work fOr the next round is to be open to all signatories of the agreement, and other "group of 77" (G77) members which signify their intention to participate in the next round.

The declaration suggests that the preparatory process should, to the extent possible, encompass the work of evolving the procedures of various components and modalities of the GSTP, and the rules and the guidelines concerning the extension of negotiated concessions.

"Upon entry into force of the agreement", the draft declaration says, "the committee of participants will further carry this task forward with a view to launching of the negotiations. The next round of negotiations will facilitate the process of accession and carry forward the exchange of trade concessions."

In the declaration, the Ministers would also urge G77 members "to further strengthen" the GSTP and to achieve maximum participation.

Participants would also be urged to fully implement all commitments regarding special treatment for and additional measures in favour of the least developed countries.

In the preambular parts of the declaration, the Ministers would:

--Express their conviction that exchange of trade concessions among their countries on a preferential basis constitutes "a major instrument" for the promotion of trade and overall ECDC (Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries), and contribute to a more balanced and equitable development of the world economy and international economic relations, and

--Recognise that the GSTP agreement, "being the first global endeavour of the developing country members of the Group of 77 to enhance mutual economic cooperation on a definitive legal basis, constitutes a historic development of great political and economic significance."In another operative part, the declaration would have the Ministers affirm their confidence that the collective achievements in Belgrade will:

--Contribute to accelerated growth and diversification of trade and production of third world countries,

--Enhance cooperation in complementary measures to support trade expansion among G77 members including financial arrangements, payments arrangements, exchange of technical skill, cooperation in the field of shipping and transport, as well as joint ventures among third world countries,--"Promote greater coordination among them in their interactions, negotiations and cooperation with developed countries", and--Contribute significantly to the growth and expansion of world trade and economy.