G33 call for strong outcome on PSH and SSM
Published in SUNS #8594 dated 12 December 2017

Buenos Aires, 11 Dec (D. Ravi Kanth) - The G-33 coalition of developing countries led by Indonesia on Saturday (9 December) called for strong outcomes on the permanent solution for public stockholding programs for food security and the special safeguard mechanism (SSM).

After the meeting of G-33 trade ministers on Saturday, Indonesia's trade minster Enggartiasto Lukita told reporters that members in the coalition reiterated their commitment to ensure strong and effective outcomes on the two issues at the WTO ministerial meeting that will start on Sunday.

"The G-33 Members are committed to reaffirm the commitment of all WTO Members to a robust, fair, and predictable rules-based multilateral trading system."

Minister Lukita emphasized "the importance of the development dimension of agriculture negotiations and the necessity to deliver progress in an effort to reform current agriculture regime in the WTO, and the conclusion of the DDA [Doha Development Agenda] trade negotiations."

The G-33 Members remain united to ensure "a permanent solution for public stockholding for food security purposes, as mandated by Bali and Nairobi Ministerial Decisions," he said.

Further, the coalition underscored the need to "establish an effective SSM to safeguard the livelihood of farmers and to better pursue rural development."

"The G-33 Members are disappointed that, despite the reaffirmation of the mandate for negotiations on SSM at MC10 in Nairobi, there has not been adequate engagement shown by other Members," he said.

Minster Lukita expressed concern that the convergence on these two issues "has not been achieved on PSH and SSM."

"Nevertheless, the Group remains committed to work together along with other WTO Members to deliver meaningful outcomes on both issues in MC11," he said.

The G-33 Members want that "WTO Members shall sustain the effort to conclude the DDA after Buenos Aires, bearing in mind the special and differential treatment necessary for developing Members in the agriculture negotiations."

In the broader context, he said members must encourage other WTO members to "resume negotiation on the domestic support and market access pillars and continue to seek a level playing field in global agricultural trade."

Meanwhile, trade ministers of the African Union on Sunday (10 December) vowed to stick to their positions for strong outcomes based on the Doha work program while rejecting new issues such as tweaking the mandate for electronic commerce based on the 1998 work program, investment facilitation, and disciplines for micro, small, and medium enterprises.

But Kenya's cabinet secretary in charge of foreign affairs Amina Mohamed said that the African countries must consider participating in discussions on new issues because of long-term implications.

She said that even if African countries oppose the new issues, they must participate in the discussions, said an African trade minister who asked not to be quoted.