Cablegate: Additional Gsl Response On Unctad Xi

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A



1. Per Ambassador's letter (Ref A), post received a response
from Trade Minister Ravi Karunanayake regarding the inclusion
of Doha Development Agenda (DDA) issues at UNCTAD XI.
Karunanayake's response, repeated in full below, mirrored
Trade Secretary Wickremesinghe's response (Ref B) that the
GSL will support US desires to avoid reopening sensitive DDA
topics as part of UNCTAD. In particular, Karunanayake notes
"we have already advised our representatives in Geneva not to
support G-77 position (sic), which may lead in any way to
re-interpretation of the DDA." The following is the text of
Karunanayake's letter:

Begin Text:

Dear Ambassador Lunstead,

I thank you for your letter of 9th March 2004, sharing
thoughts of your Government on the preparatory work being
undertaken in Geneva for the 11th Session of the UNCTAD to be
held in Brazil in June this year.

I agree that following the initiative taken by Ambassador
Zoellick to address Trade Ministers of the WTO members,
negotiations of the Doha Development Agenda has gathered
momentum and that we should collectively endeavour to work
towards agreeing to a framework agreement on important
negotiating issues, viz. agriculture, NAMA (Non-Agricultural
Market Access Negotiations) and services by July this year.
Therefore, given that the DDA negotiations are at a sensitive
stage, preparatory work being undertaken for the UNCTAD XI to
be held in Brazil, should send a positive political message
to complement and advance the DDA. At this point, therefore,
UNCTAD engaging in a negotiating process to interpret the DDA
or re-construe the Doha Ministerial Declaration may not
facilitate such a process.

However, given the fact that the main theme of the UNCTAD XI
Conference has already been agreed to after an extensive
debate, viz., "enhancing the coherence between national
development strategies and global economic processes towards
economic growth and development, particularly of developing
countries," the sub themes should now support the overall
theme without much rhetoric or re-writing the DDA.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for
sharing the non-paper that was delivered in Geneva, on
parameters and themes for the Ministerial text on trade, as
well as on the sub themes covering Inter-connection of trade
and development, special attention to poorer countries, and
UNCTAD contribution. On inter-connection of trade and
development, we share the view that it is in everyone,s
interest to work together toward the objective of full
integration of all countries into multilateral trading
system; we also accept that growth rates have accelerated for
those developing countries that have experienced an increase
in the ratio of trade to GDP. We ourselves have reduced
tariffs (more) significantly than many developing countries
and experienced increased in the ratio of trade to GDP.
Therefore, we agree that the Ministerial text should
underscore the theme of enhancing the synergies between trade
and development.

As regards the theme on UNCTAD institutional contribution, we
believe that UNCTAD contribution should include providing
technical assistance to developing countries and supporting
their efforts for national policies that are aimed to enhance
the synergies between trade and development. We agree, that
in advancing UNCTAD,s institutional contribution in these
areas, we should focus on the paragraphs that you have
referred to in the non-paper in the preparatory work for

As highlighted in the non-paper we recognize that there are a
large number of paragraphs in the draft text that covers DDA
in its entirety. The inclusion of almost all the Doha Agenda
issues in the UNCTAD draft Ministerial with different
interpretations in effect would amount to renegotiating the
Doha Declaration and creating a parallel process of
negotiations in another arena, which we should avoid at this
stage of negotiations as progress is being made in the WTO.

I may add that taking into account the concerns expressed in
your letter and having studied your non-paper, we have
already advised our representatives in Geneva not to support
G-77 position, which may lead in any way to re-interpretation
of the DDA. I may also mention that Director-General of
Commerce Mr. K.J. Weerasinghe and his team of officials will
monitor closely the preparatory process, and the draft text
and will provide necessary guidance and instructions to our
representative in Geneva

Yours Sincerely,

Ravi Karunanayake
Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

End Text

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