EU meets with Least Developed Countries to discuss Trade, Growth and Development
EU Ambassador Angelos Pangratis and a team of EU trade and development experts met on 14 May in Geneva with fourteen Ambassadors of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to present and discuss the EU Communication Trade, Growth and Development. The EU elaborated on the thinking put forward in the Communication, which was adopted by the European Commission earlier this year.
An interactive debate took place on issues ranging from WTO accession guidelines for LDCs over Duty Free-Quota-Free market access and Trade facilitation to questions on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), i.a. WTO compatibility, impact on regional integration processes, Aid for Trade etc.
In his presentation to the group, Ambassador Pangratis highlighted that the EU considered a strong multilateral system vital to developing countries' long-term interests and that delivering on the development dimension of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) remains a priority for the EU.
On 27 January 2012, the European Commission adopted a Communication that outlines how the EU's trade, investment and development policies can work hand-in-hand to support poverty reduction as well as inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries for the next decade. On 16 March, the EU Council of Ministers adopted its conclusions on the Communication, supporting the objective thereof.
The Communication aims to reflect changes in the relative trade power of developing countries, notably with respect to the growing weight of emerging economies and the struggle that Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have in reaping the benefits of world markets. The Communication also takes stock of how the EU has delivered on its commitments and outlines the EU's trade and investment policies for development for the next decade.
In setting out the EU's trade and development priorities for the next decade, the Communication calls:
- for more differentiation among developing countries to focus on the poorest;
- to intensify efforts to look beyond tariffs and reduce the remaining barriers to trade;
- to improve the way our trade and development instruments deliver and to enhance their complementarity;
- for our partners to undertake domestic reforms necessary to a sustained trade- and investment-led growth;
- for other developed and emerging economies to match our initiatives to open markets to countries most in need; and
- for emerging economies to take up more global responsibilities for opening their markets to least developed countries.