Civil society groups urge caution ACP on WTO negotiations


<p style="text-align: justify;">Ministers and other high level trade officials from the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries were in Brussels last week for talks, leading up to a meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht last Friday.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The annual meet deliberated on central issues of interest and concerns, including a collective ACP declaration for the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in December, progress on the ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), and an EU initiative on mineral sourcing from conflict-affected areas. ACP-EU trade regime issues such as impact of EU trade deals with third parties on ACP trade, non-tariff measures, and commodities trade (sugar, bananas, tuna, tobacco and kava) were also on the agenda.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">But civil society groups like the ACP Civil Society Forum expressed concern about the current negotiations towards a binding agreement on Trade Facilitation in the World Trade Organization (WTO). This was particular in the context of recent concerns for the level of imports into the three regions of the ACP, especially as it relates to patent drugs, medical supplies, appliances, vehicles and food from Europe and the USA.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The groups urged ACP Governments to take a strong stance that ACP countries will not take binding commitments on Trade Facilitation, and that the Special and Differential Treatment mechanisms are strengthened and must be agreed to before any other rules are finalized.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"></p>