The UNCTAD Commission on Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, at its first meeting (6-8 November) held since its establishment at UNCTAD IX, in May this year, agreed on a focussed work programme, the overall results of which" should provide a deeper understanding as to where various policy options would lead and how they could affect the development process at large." "In foreseeing the changing policy environment in many countries," the Commission also agreed that its "work should be oriented towards providing a more solid analytical underpinning to, and empirical evidence for, understanding of the developmental impact of further trade liberalization." This work programme sets analytical and pragmatic tasks for the UNCTAD Secretariat, as well as the themes for two expert meetings.
The secretariat is requested to undertake country-specific studies that should cover the impact and dynamic effects of the Uruguay Round Agreements on development and the transitional and long-term development impact of trade liberalization. It should also examine the supply capacity, trade policy, and capacity-building for strengthening the participation of developing countries in the international trading system.
Priority areas set for UNCTAD´s technical cooperation, which should pay high attention to the concerns of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), are:
- Capacity-building to assist developing countries to prepare for negotiations in the context of the built-in agenda of the Uruguay Round multilateral trade agreements and improve the understanding of the implications of new and emerging issues;
- Accession to the World Trade Organization and problems of non-WTO members;
- Human, institutional and legislative capacity-building to benefit from the opportunities arising from the participation in the multilateral trading system to exercise the rights and to comply with the obligations within the Uruguay Round Agreements;
- To promote South-South cooperation in the area of capacity-building;
- Horizontal and vertical diversification in commodity-dependent countries.
The Commission decided to convene two expert meetings. The first on vertical diversification in the food-processing sector in developing countries; the second on opportunities/difficulties which may confront developing countries in strengthening their capacity and expanding their exports drawing upon the situation in the health service sector.
In a summary presented in his capacity as President, Ambassador Daniel Bernard of France stated that notwithstanding the difficulty of undertaking an exhaustive assessment of the effects of the implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements, only two years after the conclusion of the Marrakesh Agreements, the Commission had endeavoured to identify the main options for action by UNCTAD in this field. All delegations had recognised the need to carry out a systematic analysis of the consequences of the Marrakesh Agreements for development, and stressed the need to help developing countries, in particular the LDCs, to meet their obligations and to take advantage of their rights, so as to draw maximum advantage from the opportunities provided by these Agreements for their development strategy.
For more information, please contact:
Jagdish Saigal, Senior Programme Manager
Division on Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities
T: +41 22 907 5731
F: +41 22 907 0044
Carine Richard-Van Maele, UNCTAD Press Officer
T: +41 22 907 5816/28
F: +41 22 907 0043