G-20 Ministerial Declaration
We, the Ministers of the G-20, met on 14 December 2011 in Geneva, before the 8th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, to review the current state of play in the Doha Round and to discuss ways to enhance the coordination of developing countries.
Recognizing the challenges brought by the current economic outlook, we reaffirm our commitment to the WTO trade regime and to the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). We highlight the increased importance of a well functioning rules-based multilateral trading system in times of uncertainty. We underscore with concern that the continuation of the WTO trade reform process in agriculture is at an impasse and that the need for improving existing disciplines in agriculture remains unabated.
In this regard, we recall the long standing work and contributions of the G-20 for the agricultural negotiations of the Doha Round. Since its inception, in 2003, the G-20 has consistently voiced the need for the elimination of trade- distorting policies maintained by developed countries. It has also defended that results should live up to the development dimension of the Doha mandate.
We note with concern the current deadlock in the Doha Round. The DDA negotiations were launched with a clear mandate to address some of the challenges faced by developing countries, especially through the reform of agricultural disciplines. Unfortunately, due to lack of progress in the Round, distortions caused by high levels of protection in agriculture, including subsidies, continue to undermine the long-term development prospects of many developing countries, especially the least developed ones.
As a core element of its development dimension, we underline that agriculture is the center-piece of the Doha Round and that agriculture must determine the general level of ambition within the overall negotiations. We also underscore the need to preserve the 10 years of negotiating history, which reflects strenuously negotiated trade-offs and landing zones, if the Round is to be concluded any time soon.
We reaffirm our commitment to the single undertaking and to a truly transparent and inclusive multilateral negotiating process. The discussion on possible deliverables must not result in abandoning the Doha mandate. In addition, the G-20 underscores that if members were to reach provisional or definitive agreements earlier than the full conclusion of the single undertaking, agricultural issues, across the three pillars of agricultural modalities, must be the priority.
We agree that DDA outcomes related to agriculture which are of particular interest to the poorest countries, especially the LDCs - such as the full implementation of the Hong Kong mandate on export competition by the end of 2013 and on cotton - should be delivered as a priority.
The G-20 underlines that highly-volatile international food commodity prices raise concerns in many developing countries and that delivering the Doha mandate on agriculture would play a positive role in addressing concerns related to food security.
The G-20 agrees to follow closely developments, especially in Washington and Brussels, related to reforming the Farm Bill and the CAP, with a focus on assessing their likely impact on developing countries.
We express serious concern over the increase of protectionism in agricultural trade as a result of the adoption of measures without scientific or technical justification and not in line with the Agreements on Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures or on Technical Barriers to Trade. Such measures affect developing countries in a disproportionate way and constitute another unjustified trade barrier developing countries face in order to fully enjoy their market access rights under WTO disciplines. The G-20 notes with concern the increasing resort, largely in developed countries, to private standards and food labeling requirements that are not in full conformity with the abovementioned WTO agreements.
Finally, the G-20 expresses its gratitude for the valuable insights and contributions from the coordinators of the following developing country groups that attended the G- 20 Ministerial: the Least Developed Countries - LDCs (Bangladesh), the African Group (Kenya), the Small and Vulnerable Economies - SVEs (Barbados), the G-33 (Indonesia) and the Cotton-4 (Burkina Faso)."