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Africa, Caribbean and Latin America protest no democracy in WTO

WTO members from the Latin American and Caribbean region, and African members, in separate statements on 2 December night, protested the host country's tactics and the way the negotiations were being conducted at the Ministerial Conference. We publish below the protest statements issued by the respective trade ministers.


African Trade Ministers' statement

'WE, the Ministers of Trade of Member States of the Organisation of African Unity/African Economic Community wish to express our disappointment and disagreement with the way in which the negotiations are being conducted at this Third WTO Ministerial Conference.

'There is no transparency in the proceedings and African countries are being marginalised and generally excluded on issues of vital importance for our peoples and their future. We are particularly concerned over the stated intentions to produce a ministerial text at any cost, including at the cost of procedures designed to secure participation and consensus.

'We reject the approach that is being employed and we must point out that under the present circumstances, we will not be able to join the consensus required to meet the objectives of this Ministerial Conference. We therefore expect our concerns as consistently articulated by African countries in separate statements to be adequately addressed.

'We therefore urge the chairperson of the conference to address the concerns expressed by many members to ensure that we reach consensus required to meet the objectives of the Ministerial Conference.'

Caribbean Community Communique

'1. CARICOM Ministers declare to the Authorities of the Conference and the WTO Secretariat their profound disagreement with some procedures that have been used in conducting the Ministerial Conference allowing for lack of transparency in the preparation of very important texts. We are particularly concerned over the intentions to produce a Ministerial text at any cost, including the modification of procedures designed to secure participation and consensus.

2. CARICOM Ministers express their strong conviction that, as long as due respect to the procedures and conditions of transparency, openness and participation that allow for adequately balanced results in respect of the interests of all members do not exist, we will not join the consensus to meet the objectives of this Ministerial Conference.'

Latin American and Caribbean countries' joint communique

'THE undersigned Latin American and Caribbean countries, represented by their respective ministers to the WTO as heads of delegations attending the 3rd Ministerial Meeting that is held in Seattle, wish to declare as follows:

1. 'To the host country, the profound concern that has been caused by the lack of organisation and of due diligence for providing the high dignitaries and delegates attending this Ministerial Conference with minimum conditions of security, and allowing, in some cases, physical and verbal aggressions against its distinguished guests.

2. 'To the authorities of the Conference and the WTO Director-General office, their express disagreement with some procedures that have been used in conducting the Ministerial Conference allowing for lack of transparency in the preparation of very important texts. We are particularly concerned over the intentions made public by authorities, to produce a ministerial text at any cost, including the modification of procedures designed to secure participation and consensus.

3. 'To all WTO members, their strong conviction that, as long as due respect to the procedures and conditions of transparency, openness and participation that allow for adequately balanced results in respect of the interests of all members do not exist, we will not join the consensus required to meet the objectives of this Ministerial Conference.'

 


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