Show of Unity & Strength by G20 Countries, says Oxfam

Published: 1 November 2005

International agency Oxfam today welcomed the tough stand taken by a united G20 in demanding elimination of export subsidies within five years, at a Ministerial Meeting on March 18-19, 2005, in New Delhi.

International agency Oxfam today welcomed the tough stand taken by a united G20 in demanding elimination of export subsidies within five years, at a Ministerial Meeting on March 18-19, 2005, in New Delhi.

“Calling for countries to eliminate all forms of export subsidies within five years with front loading of commitments is a very positive move,” said Celine Charveriat, Head of Advocacy Office, Oxfam. “It is heartening that the G20 statement also calls on countries to abide by the spirit of the Doha mandate and desist from reintroducing export subsidies,” she added.

With regard to other trade distorting subsidies, the G20 ministers insisted on effective reductions and stressed they will not accept a mere repackaging of existing support. The ministers also called for provisions of Special and Differential treatment for developing countries to support livelihood and food security needs of the poor, two thirds of whom are dependent on agriculture in these countries. “It is crucial for the G20 to work towards delivering a round that benefits all poor farmers, including those who are too poor to compete in world markets.”

The two-day ministerial meeting also saw the participation of other developing country groupings such as G33, Africa Group, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the African Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACPs). Oxfam said this was a timely consolidation of a pro-development agenda in preparation for the WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong in December 2005.

“Oxfam welcomes the initiative of the G20 to work with other developing country groupings. However, such cooperation between developing countries needs to be intensified in the run-up to the Hong Kong ministerial so that issues of interest to poorer developing countries are concretely addressed.”

That the statement acknowledges that preferences of importance to developing countries are being eroded by both regional and multilateral liberalisation might help in building bridges with poorer developing countries. It also calls for improved market access for products of importance to developing countries, effective utilization of existing preferences, and financial assistance and capacity building support to address supply side constraints. However, LDCs might have reason to feel disappointed with the statement, as it does not make any mention of duty and quota free access for exports from LDCs.

“It is important that the third world sticks together on a pro-development agenda for the Hong Kong Ministerial and beyond. G20 needs to ensure that developing countries negotiate in unison to bring about a pro-poor outcome at Hong Kong.” Celine stated.

Contact Information

For more information contact:
Amy Barry in Oxford on 44 (0)1865 312254
Romain Benicchio in Geneva on 41-22 321 23 72
Aditi Kapoor in India on 91 9810 306 200
Fatimah Mello (REBRIP) in Brazil 55 219 97432408
Oxfam spokespeople at the G20 meeting are Celine Charveriat and Samar Verma. To contact them please call Aditi Kapoor on the number above.