11 November 2015

Complex draft sent to Paris from climate talks

A week of multilateral talks in Bonn, Germany on a universal emissions-cutting regime saw familiar divisions between so-called “developed” and “developing” parties re-visited. Negotiators agreed to forward a ">51-page text” for consideration at an annual climate meet, the Twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP 21) scheduled this year from 30 November-11 December in Paris, France. 

The document includes both a 35-page “agreement” followed by 16 pages of “decisions” designed to give effect to the former. Together, these would in theory cover all manner of details relevant to the functioning and operationalisation of the new climate regime. Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed in 2011 to conclude a global climate deal for the post-2020 period, taking effect upon the expiration of the current Kyoto Protocol, in time for the COP21.

WTO talks: Developing countries propose reforms 

Three separate developing country groups have tabled negotiating proposals all raising issues central to the 2001 Doha Round of talks at the WTO ahead of the MC10.

One group of mainly agricultural-importing developing countries, the G-33, has tabled a proposal calling for a special safeguard mechanism for raising tariffs temporarily in the event of a price depression. Another group, the C-4 group of West African cotton-producing countries, has tabled a draft decision on cotton. Finally, the African Group at the WTO has tabled a set of “elements on agriculture” which they argue must be delivered in the Doha talks. 

The proposals came after WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo recommended that the trade body’s members explore options for a mini-package for the Nairobi ministerial.

ACP countries adopt text on the WTO MC10

Following a two-day meeting in Brussels, Belgium, trade ministers from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries adopted a declaration outlining their positions ahead of the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference, which is due to be held in Nairobi this December.

The ACP declaration encourages WTO members to take “concrete steps to conclude the remaining issues in the DDA, with development as a key component.” 

The document further specifies that WTO members should ensure that all unresolved issues in the DDA on the development mandate should be addressed in a  post-Nairobi context with a view of concluding the DDA “as soon as possible.” 

ACP ministers will meet as a group in Nairobi on 14 December, the eve of the Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference, to take stock of the situation and agree on a final position.

EU redefines relationship with Africa 

The European Commission (EC) presented on 14 October its new trade and investment strategy. Entitled “Trade for all: towards a more responsible trade and investment policy”, it is based on three key principles  efficiency, transparency, and promoting European values. 

The new strategy prioritises major projects that are currently on the table of European trade diplomacy, like the Doha Round of WTO talks and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and opens the door to new negotiations, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, and plans the modernisation of the existing Free Trade Agreements. Finally, it aims to deepen the EU’s relationships with its partners on the African continent.

The EC strategy highlights the key role of regional integration on the African continent, pointing out the high costs for Africa of having fragmented markets and multiple barriers between countries while insisting on the significance of economic partnership agreements (EPAs).

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