WTO: Govt dissatisfied with process

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, September 08, 2009

By Claire Wanja/kna

The Kenyan government has expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiation process.

Trade Permanent Secretary Dr. Cyrus Njiru said the negotiations that began as early as 2002 would have been concluded by the year 2005 but to date this had not happened because of entrenched interests by key players in the global economy.

Speaking during the opening of the Economic Commission for Africa Workshop at a Nairobi hotel, the PS cited USA, Japan and the European Union as part of the cause for the delay of the negotiations.

Njiru at the same time urged African countries to own the WTO negotiation process and intensify their efforts in trade by diversifying instead of relying solely on exports.

The PS said African countries should be vigilant and prepared to engage in meaningful trade negotiations particularly in areas of interest to them to tap the benefits of their large market in international trade.

Dr Cyrus Njiru also said that African countries should identify key issues and positions objectively which should be articulated towards the conclusions of the Doha trade talks.

He said that Kenya as a country has a substantial interest in seeing the successful conclusion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations to restore confidence in the world and strengthen the multilateral trading system for promoting development and reducing poverty.

He reiterated that the workshop will provide a timely opportunity for the members to deliberate on a range of important issues currently being considered in the context of the Doha work programme.

The meeting comes after the adoption of the Doha Ministry Declaration which was launched and formed the basis of a new comprehensive Round of Negotiations in Qatar in 2001.

“A successful Development Round will also partly depend on how we implement the outcome. Technical assistance in capacity building is therefore critical in the implementation of the outcome of the Doha Round,” Said the permanent Secretary.

He said that the participants will use the workshop to assess the potential benefits that Africa stands to achieve from this Round of Trade negotiations.

He said that the Doha ministerial declaration has not been adopted despite being initiated in 2005 with the negotiations stalling due to entrenched interests on key issues under the negotiations.

Addressing the same meeting, Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General of an international NGO, CUTS International said that each country should focus on its relative advantage to enhance sustainability.

Mehta was presenting a paper on Trade Development and Poverty reduction project that aims to reduce poverty in Third World Countries.

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