Recent economic progress could be sustained by more multilateral
1. This second Trade Policy Review of Nicaragua has been both thorough
and informative; it has allowed us a better understanding of
Nicaragua's trade policies and practices, of their evolution since
1999, and of their outlook. The reports by Nicaragua and the
Secretariat, and the responses of the delegation of Nicaragua to the
questions by Members, have served as a valuable resource and have made
a significant contribution to transparency. We owe the high quality of
this review to the participation of the Nicaraguan delegation, led by
H.E. Mr. Alejandro Argüello, Minister of Development, Industry and
Trade, and to the active involvement of Members. Our thanks are also
due to our discussant, H.E. Mr. Juan Antonio March, for his insightful
contribution to our meeting.
2. Members welcomed Nicaragua's positive overall economic performance
over the last few years, with moderate GDP growth, and improvements in
the fiscal and current account deficits. They noticed that the ongoing
reforms are contributing to the establishment of a competitive market
economy, and encouraged Nicaragua to continue its structural reforms,
so as to reduce widespread poverty and achieve social progress. The
reforms, together with increased investment in infrastructure and in
human capital, would help to further stabilize the economy.
3. Members appreciated Nicaragua's firm commitment to the multilateral
trading system, including the Doha Development Agenda. They noted,
however, that an increasing part of its trade was taking place under
preferential regimes. While Members congratulated Nicaragua for the
steps taken to further liberalize its trade and investment regimes,
they encouraged it to reverse the increase in its applied MFN tariff
of the last few years, partly as a result of Nicaragua's commitments
under its regional trade arrangements. Members also encouraged
Nicaragua to reduce the gap between applied and bound tariff rates.
One Member raised a concern regarding a tax imposed by Nicaragua on
goods and services coming from or originating in that Member.
4. On sectoral issues, Members noted Nicaragua's high dependence on
exports of agricultural and agricultural-processed products. They also
commended Nicaragua for the steps being taken to address
inefficiencies, particularly in mining, energy, and manufacturing,
including through the enactment of new laws. Members noted that
further liberalization of services may improve the efficiency of
Nicaragua's economy and the competitiveness of its exports, especially
by reducing costs related to financial services, telecommunications
5. Members sought clarification on a number of issues, notably:
customs procedures and valuation; internal taxation; import and export
licensing; contingency trade remedies; standards and SPS measures;
free zones; public enterprises and privatization; government
procurement; and protection of intellectual property rights.
6. Members expressed their appreciation for the comprehensive
responses to their questions as provided by the Nicaraguan delegation.
7. In conclusion, Members value Nicaragua's efforts to improve its
economic environment. As a small economy that is highly dependent on
foreign trade, Nicaragua has a lot to gain from a free and open trade
environment. I encourage Nicaragua to continue improving its
multilateral commitments, both on goods and services, with a view to
further improving its transparency and predictability. I urge Members
to support Nicaragua's reforms by providing greater market access to
its goods and services.