During the review of the EU’s trade policy conducted by the WTO this week, the EU will stress its role in strengthening the multilateral trade system and in pushing ahead the on-going WTO negotiation under the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). Key developments in the EU’s trade policy will also include integration of ten new EU Member States in the EU’s trade system as well as a major overhaul of the EU’s agricultural policy with positive effects for the other WTO members and in particular developing countries.
“Since the last WTO Review two years ago, there have been major developments in the EU’s trade policy’” said EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy. “We have enlarged to 25 Members and integrated those economies into our trade regime, with major benefits for our partners. We have reformed the common agricultural policy and thus strengthening our position in the WTO negotiations. We have continued to lead the Doha Round which made significant progress in July. We have also in these years put trade at the service of sustainable development. I expect all these developments will be reviewed this week by WTO. I look forward to the results of this weeks review.”
The WTO Trade Policy Review Body reviews every two years the EU’s trade policy, the previous review being in July 2002. The review is done on the basis of a report drawn up by the WTO Secretariat. The report prepared by the WTO Secretariat for this occasion underlines the predominant position of the EU in the WTO, and recognises the EU’s instrumental role in advancing the Doha Development Agenda. The WTO Report also explains that the EU has not only sought further trade opening, but has supported stronger international trade rules and used trade to achieve sustainable development.
The Trade Policy Review in WTO is an opportunity for the EU to demonstrate its commitment to multilateral institutions and solutions. The EU’s primary objective in the Doha Round remains the strengthening of rules and further opening markets for goods and services around the world, so as to benefit workers, consumers and businesses. Equally, the WTO review will demonstrate how the EU’s open and dynamic market economy relies upon high levels of social provision and human capital, and promotes sustainable development.
The WTO Review will also focus on the EU’s regional and bilateral trade initiatives, aimed at helping developing countries trade more and enjoy economic growth. In parallel with the Doha Development Agenda, the EU has provided even greater access to the EU market through regional and bilateral agreements as well as the extensive use of its system of unilateral preferences (Generalised System of Preferences – GSP) for developing countries, and the provision of duty- and quota-free access to exports from the world’s 50 poorest countries under the Everything-But-Arms initiative.
In addition, the EU is fostering regional integration within the developing world, notably through the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiations with ACP regions. Negotiations on the EPA’s began during the period covered by this Trade Policy Review. These agreements aim first and foremost at fostering regional integration of ACPs countries, thus creating economies of scale capable of fostering South-South trade and investment. These and other regional negotiations complement the WTO agenda.
The EU’s support for the multilateral system is rooted in its experience of integration in Europe. The creation and consolidation of the Internal Market is itself a model for how globalisation can be better managed through international cooperation and the setting of common rules. The major enlargement to 25 Members on 1 May 2004 expands those rules and a common trade policy to a wider Europe. The WTO Review this week will show that EU enlargement has also created major opportunities and benefits for the EU’s trading partners: by providing them with a bigger EU market anchored on common commercial policy, by lowering tariffs in the new Member States, and by expanding arrangements for developing and least-developed countries.
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