DOHA, Qatar, April 25, CMC – Jamaica is urging the international community to expedite the reform of the global financial environment saying recent global crises have shown there is need “for a careful re-examination of the way in which the global economic system is managed”.
Addressing the 13th Ministerial Conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister A.J Nicholson said re-forming the system would require dispensing with the business as usual approach.
“Jamaica, therefore, calls upon the international community to expedite the reform of the international financial architecture, whilst ensuring the greater inclusion of developing countries in the management of the Bretton Woods institutions given their increasing role in the stability and viability of this system.
“It is for these and other reasons…that Jamaica is a firm supporter of UNCTAD. Jamaica applauds the ongoing efforts of UNCTAD to enhance all forms of cooperation, provide timely technical assistance, capacity building and training to developing countries, as well as to facilitate the sharing of best practices on key issues on the international agenda.
“Jamaica remains resolute in the belief that UNCTAD, through its integrated approach to trade and development, has an indispensable role in the execution of our collective development vision,” Nicholson said.
He told the conference that UNCTAD must remain as the focal point of the United Nations for the treatment of trade and development and its attendant issues, such as investment and sustainable development.
“Its role should be strengthened through more effective multilateral cooperation achieved by augmenting traditional North-South cooperation mechanisms; and enhancing South-South and triangular cooperation,” he said, adding that the need for all cooperation initiatives to be demand driven, inclusive, transparent and based on equitable partnerships.
“This will ensure greater ownership over their implementation and improved responsiveness to the specific needs of developing countries. In this regard, UNCTAD should also seek to enhance and expand its work on countries with special needs, such as, small, open, highly indebted, middle income countries,” Nicholson added.
He said that in seeking to achieve development linked-globalization, UNCTAD will need to be better supported if it is to continue to execute its mandate and to provide policy research and analysis on important topical issues affecting developing countries.
“It is Jamaica’s firm belief that UNCTAD must also contribute to the international policy discourse on issues of critical importance such as development financing and economic diversification and transformation. “
In his address, Nicholson said that more than10 years after the launch of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round, it has “fallen far short of expectations failing, so far, to achieve the delicate balance between trade liberalization and development.
“The Doha Development Round should enable us to unleash our comparative advantage in export trade in services and higher value-added manufactured goods. This dream can only be achieved, if we successfully integrate trade and development by not deviating from the Round’s development mandate.”
Nicholson said that with weakened confidence in the multilateral trade governance, there now exists a prevailing situation of the frantic negotiation of a plethora of bilateral trade agreements which are costly, time consuming and involve WTO-plus commitments for developing countries.
“If developing countries do not have the productive capacity, they will be unable to benefit from the market access secured through elimination of customs duties. Indeed oftentimes, various creative non-tariff measures remain.
“It is a concern that development is now being seen mainly in the context of market access. For Jamaica, emphasis has to be on developing the national and regional productive capacity, and strengthening our infrastructure to be able to compete and effectively participate in the global trading system,” Nicholson said.
He said that the meeting “therefore, enables us to emphasize the critical link between trade and development and to call for greater urgency, cooperation and strategic thinking in the governance of our global economic affairs”.
He told the conference that given the current state of the global economy, it is clear that many persistent challenges remain, such as poverty, hunger, unemployment and inequity.
“Indeed, countries such as mine continue to be hamstrung by inherent structural problems and capacity constraints, which are a deterrent to achieving meaningful gains from trade, and, by extension, increased economic growth and development.
“This is compounded by the volatility of commodity prices including critically, the cost of energy, the threats posed by natural disasters, the negative effects of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.