Statement by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment of Cuba at he 10th Ministerial Meeting of the WTO, Nairobi, Kenya.
STATEMENT BY THE DEPUTY MINISTER ILEANA NÚÑEZ MORDOCHE, HEAD OF THE CUBAN DELEGATION TO THE 10TH MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE OF THE WTO.
17 DECEMBER 2015
Distinguished Director General,
Ministers, delegates and guests,
First of all, I want to thank on behalf of my country to the Government and people of Kenya for the generous hospitality that we have received.
We also want to welcome Afghanistan and Liberia as new members of the Organization and reaffirm our support for the early conclusion of the accession process of the remaining 19 developing countries and LDCs.
It is regrettable that the expectations about the Post-Bali Work Program have not been fulfilled and that progress has not been made in the last two years in respect to the Doha Agenda for Development. And what is worse, that we come to this Conference without an agreement on the continuation of the Doha Agenda.
As we alerted, the approval of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which broke with the principle of single undertaking, brought a marked lack of interest of the major developed countries to advance in the negotiations of the current Round, once their interests were accommodated. In the pre-Bali work, we were told that by approving the Agreement on Trade Facilitation, the Round continuity would be ensured. Now they argue that the world has changed and that we should adopt more realistic approaches, in short, to conclude, precisely in Africa, the Doha Round. They talk about reducing the level of ambition, be pragmatic and to set aside the negotiated texts over the years. At the same time, they aim to incorporate new issues on the work agenda of the organization, without concluding the unresolved ones. Interestingly, these are members who have focused on negotiating bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements.
The apparent lack of political will of the developed countries has been in breach of all ministerial mandates, from the decisions taken in Bali on development, and the issues related to the least developed countries, among others, on rules of origin, the implementation of the exemption relating to the Special and Differential Treatment for services and service providers, and access to markets free of duties and quotas for the least developed countries.
They have been constantly called for more flexible positions, but precisely these members, who are outnumbered by those who defend the continuation of the Doha Agenda, have so far shown no flexibility.
It is alarming the intention of some developed countries to limit the Special and Differential Treatment in terms of indicators such as the per capita income, when the essential part of this Organization is to ensure the participation and integration in the world trade.
The Doha Round must continue to achieve the result for which the Ministers, by mutual agreement, decided in 2001 to launch these negotiations. Otherwise, the credibility of the WTO would be jeopardized. The needs and interests of the developing countries, especially the least developed, should be the focus of the Work Program and what we need today is to reaffirm the continuity of Doha.
Cuba does not favor the introduction of a new agenda to replace or divert the attention from the negotiations of the Doha Round. We must conclude the Doha Agenda for Development, before starting discussions on new issues in the WTO.
Cuba is a small and vulnerable economy, not only for its low participation in global trade or as a small island state, but also because it has suffered for more than 50 years of the most fierce economic, commercial and financial blockade that has taken place in the history of humanity, which is the greatest violation of the principles and rules of the multilateral trading system. This policy remains in force despite the restoration of relations between the United States and Cuba, and the mutual interests of normalizing our relations.
Policies such as this, which hamper and hinder the development of peoples, should have no place in today's world, much less within an organization that promotes free trade for the welfare and development of its members. It is therefore important to have clear multilateral rules that leave no room for this kind of actions.
Cuba will continue to pursue multilateralism and safeguard of a multilateral system of fair, equitable and non-discriminatory trade, so as to reduce existing imbalances and promote sustainable development of our peoples, based on the new Sustainable Development Goals recently agreed, convinced that a better world is possible.