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International Gender and Trade Network (IGTN)

Draft ministerial text negates development
- News release -

International Gender and Trade Network (IGTN)

17 December 2005

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While a quick reading of the revised text would lead one to believe that the demands of the Grouping of 110 developing, least developing, African, ACP and small economy countries have been integrated - the truth is that these concessions are consistently linked with expanded developed country market access to developing country markets. The current draft text will have significant and adverse implications for women and marginalized groups.

Economic globalization and market liberalization has and will continue to exacerbate inequalities. It has led to the feminization of employment, intensified the exploitation of women's unpaid work in the care economy and has undermined the livelihood strategies of poor women, including migrant and farming women. The draft text, as currently written, will continue this devastating trend. A real development round must have women's rights and development central to the drafting, implementation, and outcomes.

We believe the current draft text negates development, including women's development. Specifically:

  • Services - Though bracketed, Annex C on services remains despite strong resistance from developing countries (para 25). Additionally para 24 does not allow advanced developing countries with significant poverty levels and development needs the policy space to give priority to development needs by rejecting or limiting services liberalization.

  • Agriculture

    • Cotton - We acknowledge the concessions given, but are concerned that they are being considered within the context of the overall agricultural negotiations (para 11);
    • Special Products - We acknowledge the recognition of SPs, but demand that their treatment be defined (para 8);
    • Agricultural Export Subsidies - The commitment on the elimination of all forms of export subsidies is a crucial step for development. However, paragraph 6 allows that the specific date for the elimination of all forms of export subsidies in Agriculture be confirmed only upon the completion of the modalities.
    • Domestic Support in Agriculture - The current three bands are insufficient and fail to account for the special and differential treatment required for developing countries. The band formula must allow for a clear distinction in the treatment afforded to developed, advanced developing, developing, and least-developed countries.

  • NAMA - The draft text explicitly adopts the SWISS formula for NAMA (para 14), thereby locking in the formula, despite leaving open the possibilities for multiple coefficients.

  • Level of Ambition in NAMA and Agriculture - Seeking a balanced and commensurately HIGH level of ambition between Agriculture and NAMA undermines the development objectives of this round (para 22).

  • Duty Free Quota Free Market Access - Para 45 still provides a loophole for developed countries to declare themselves not in a position to implement duty free and quota free market access for LDC products. This is unacceptable.
"Developing countries, can no longer lay our futures on the altar of the free market excesses of the North"
- Liepollo Lebohang Pheko, Gender and Trade Network Africa, December 17, 2005.

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