Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies on Tuesday called for outcomes to be developed for the outstanding issues of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA).
Davies was in Morocco attending the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Informal Ministerial Gathering, which was attended by Ministers from the 164 WTO member countries to provide guidance to the officials in Geneva on possible outcomes at the upcoming eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December.
The outstanding work of the DDA includes addressing the trade-distorting domestic agricultural support subsidies being provided by mainly developed countries.
South Africa’s priorities are aligned to those of the African Group and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group.
“These will remain [significant] priorities for many developing countries and for Africa, and these priorities were re-emphasised at a recent trade Ministers meeting at the African Union in Addis Ababa, in September,” Davies said.
He further noted that many proposals on the different issues had been discussed at the WTO, but that there seemed to be very little convergence. There are also different views on how the outstanding DDA issues should be addressed, with some countries challenging the agreed development framework under the DDA.
“We need to be realistic and make a call soon on which issues sufficient convergence has been achieved to be taken forward as possible outcomes at MC11,” Davies stated.
He also reiterated the importance of the development integration agenda of the African continent and stated that outcomes at the multilateral level should not limit the policy space needed to industrialise and advance the developmental objectives of the continent.
South Africa and Africa’s engagement in the WTO aims to, besides others, conclude the DDA on the basis of its development mandate, advocate for a permanent solution for public stockholding, which aims to promote food security, eliminate trade distorting measures especially on agriculture trade and eliminate trade distorting measures on cotton.
Further, the bloc aims to protect policy space to promote Africa’s structural transformation agenda and ensure the right to regulate in the public interest, promote sustainable development, including through addressing illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and advance issues of interest to least developed countries.