Trade: Developing Countries

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 8th November 2011.

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Photo of Rushanara Ali Rushanara Ali Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to (a) ensure that the Doha Round talks are completed and (b) secure an agreement on trade for developing countries by the end of 2012 .

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

While it is now clear that the full Doha Development Round will not be concluded in 2011, the Government are continuing to press for the best possible outcome at the 8th World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial conference in December this year. We are working closely with the European Commission, EU member states and other WTO members to ensure that there is a clear way forward for the Doha Round in 2012 which delivers trade liberalisation, strengthens the multilateral system and advances the interests of poor countries.

The Government have always been clear that development is a key priority of the Doha Round, and we have consistently emphasised this where possible.

We are disappointed that the proposed “early harvest” package focusing on issues for the least developed countries failed earlier this year, but we will continue to press for the best outcome possible for poor countries, including at the forthcoming WTO ministerial. We also continue to press for agreement for countries to live up to commitments made to advance the interests of poor countries, including by providing duty-free, quota-free access for least developed country exports.

The UK is supporting the poorest countries to achieve more balanced outcomes in international trade negotiations through the Trade Advocacy Fund. This major initiative will provide high-quality legal and technical advice, training and logistical support, and will help the poorest countries secure development outcomes in the Doha talks.

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