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Trade measures to push on debt, aid & development

EU Trade Commissioner proposes trade measures to complement G8 push on debt, aid and development

In a speech tonight at the London School of Economics, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson will set out a plan of concrete actions to put the weight of international trade policy at the service of development in 2005. With G7 Finance Ministers from France, Germany, Italy and Britain also meeting in London to discuss aid and debt relief, the Commissioner will offer a firm message of support and argue that trade is “the third leg of the development triad”. He will call for more co-ordination between EU Member States in targeting aid, and argue that beyond simply opening their markets to developing countries, developed countries must help them build their capacity to trade.

Speaking before the speech, Commissioner Mandelson said: “One can feel a gathering of international political will. This meeting of G7 Finance Ministers is a crucial milestone in mobilising aid and tackling debt. I am encouraged that European leaders are rallying behind proposals for new financing and debt relief initiatives. With a coherent package of WTO, EU and G8 measures I believe that we can take the power of the global trade agenda and put it at the service of development. 2005 represents a once-in-a-generation chance for change.”

In his speech, entitled “Trade at the Service of Development” the Commissioner will call for:

• Europe to deliver on its promise to end all agricultural export subsidies within the Doha Round, so long as its international partners show equal ambition.

• A new focus on development in the Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific regions. Last month the European Commission proposed a new set of development benchmarks for the EPA negotiation process (see IP/05/74).

• The US, Japan and Canada to offer tariff and quota-free market access to Least Developed Countries on the model of the EU’s ‘Everything but Arms’ initiative.

• -Support for reform of the EU’s Rules of Origin, so that the same rules apply in all markets and that market access is not unfairly limited for developing countries.

• A new push for greater international regulatory convergence in professional and industrial standards to help remove non-tariff barriers to trade. The EU also needs to help developing countries export to the EU by assisting them in meeting its health and consumer standards.

• New funds for aid to help the poor trade more effectively through capacity building – investment in the infrastructure that helps developing countries take advantage of preferential market access. Aid also needs to help ease the social costs of adjustment in vulnerable economies.

• -Better co-ordination between the EU and Member States on trade and aid measures.

• -Simpler EU trade procedures to help exporters in developing countries by reducing the cost and time of doing business. Today the EU launches a new Helpdesk Service for developing countries exporters (see IP/05/142)

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