Ministers and senior officials of Parties to the Agreement on the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP) renewed their determination to bring the São Paulo Round results to effective application by expediting national ratification procedures.
The Parties issued a joint communiqué Monday saying that through this partnership they will seek to create conditions necessary for their economies to harness the benefits from dynamic South-South trade. “We are convinced that, by injecting a further impetus to South-South cooperation, this will also contribute to the growth of world trade, thereby benefiting the overall global economy,” said the communiqué.
The 43 GSTP participating economies represent nearly 20 per cent of total world trade and a market valued in 2010 at US$11 trillion.
GSTP members will also look into how participation in the São Paulo agreement can be extended to more participants to bring about a meaningful South–South trade partnership.
The group called for strengthening development solidarity in South-South cooperation. For least developed countries (LDCs), members proposed to provide concrete preferential measures. “The LDC Participants would not be required to make any concessions on a reciprocal basis.
The communiqué is provided below in annex.
The GSTP was established in 1989 as a framework for preferential tariff reductions and other measures of cooperation between developing countries. Three rounds of negotiations have been conducted among Parties with the third round or “the São Paulo Round” launched in 2004 on the occasion of UNCTAD XI in São Paulo Brazil. The round was concluded among 11 countries in 2010 marking a major milestone in the history of South-South trade cooperation,
The 43 GSTP participants are Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe, and the Mercosur group (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay).
Twenty-two participants took part in the São Paulo Round, 11 of which signed the São Paulo Round Protocol. These were Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay (forming Mercosur), the Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, and Cuba.
GLOBAL SYSTEM OF TRADE PREFERENCES AMONG DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (GSTP)
Committee of Participants
23 April 2012, Doha, Qatar
GSTP High-Level Meeting
1. We, senior officials and representatives of Parties to the Agreement on the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP) met on 23 April 2012, in Doha, Qatar, on the occasion of the thirteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to take stock of the operation of the GSTP and examine the way forward to strengthen its potential to boost South-South trade.
2. Developments in the world economy since we met in Accra, Ghana, in 2008 on the occasion of the twelfth session of UNCTAD, have posed major challenges and created opportunities for South-South trade. Dynamic expansion of developing countries’ trade has proven to be a major locomotive of trade expansion and growth, and trade among developing countries has come to represent promising economic opportunities and a tool for strengthening of world trade. The opportunities for the South must be harvested at a time when the world economy faces heightened uncertainties on account of sovereign debt crisis and emerging challenges that adversely affect our economies.
3. We reaffirm our strong commitment and engagement to the GSTP as a common platform for South-South trade cooperation and partnership. Through this partnership, we seek to create conditions necessary for our economies to harness the benefits from dynamic South-South preferential trade for inclusive and sustainable development. We are convinced that, by injecting a further impetus to South-South cooperation, this will also contribute to the growth of world trade, thereby benefiting the overall global economy.
4. The successful conclusion of the São Paulo Round in 2010 marked a major milestone in the history of South-South trade cooperation. We renew our determination to redouble efforts in order to operationalize the São Paulo Round’s results into effective application as soon as possible by expediting national ratification procedures. We instruct our officials to expedite technical work in the Sub-Committee of Signatories to the São Paulo Protocol and the Working Group on Rules of Origin, which will contribute to this end.
5. In view of the fact that twenty-two Participants took part in the São Paulo Round negotiations and some of them were in an advanced stage in their preparation of tariff concession offers, we will continue to work towards expanding the participation in the São Paulo Protocol, bearing in mind the differential treatment and flexibilities given to acceding countries to WTO as provided in paragraph 8 of the Protocol in order to create new trade dynamism and export diversification opportunities, while also recognizing a balanced and a win–win situation to the participants in this Round. In this regard, we consider it important to identify how participation could be encouraged and extended to other participants that are yet to take part in the Round, to bring about a meaningful South–South trading cooperation among the participants.
6. Going forward, we will endeavour to further enhance the value of the GSTP for our economies as a platform for South-South trade cooperation. We would encourage the active participation of the signatories of the Protocol both in its review two years after its entry into force, as well as the voluntary negotiations through request and offer. We will strive to firmly anchor development solidarity in our cooperation. We recognize the special needs of the least developed country (LDC) Participants and the need to provide concrete preferential measures in their favour. The LDC Participants would not be required to make any concessions on a reciprocal basis.
7. We welcome the Committee’s decision of 8 March 2012 to amend Article 23 of the GSTP Agreement to designate the Kingdom of Morocco as the new depositary of the GSTP Agreement. We express our sincere appreciation to the Moroccan Government for its valuable offer to assume the responsibilities of this important function.
8. We reaffirm our commitment to striving towards enhancing financial and technical resources available to the GSTP Project in order to ensure predictability of finance and sustainability of the relevant activities to enable the UNCTAD secretariat to support the operation of the GSTP with greater predictability and stability.
9. We avail ourselves of this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General of UNCTAD and the UNCTAD secretariat for continuous support of our endeavours to further enhance cooperation among our economies under the GSTP.