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Hong Kong, China - 2005


Country groupings

Increasingly, countries are getting together to form groups and alliances in the WTO. In some cases they even speak with one voice using a single spokesman or negotiating team.

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> Jargon buster, Country groupings
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This is partly the natural result of economic integration — more customs unions, free trade areas and common markets are being set up around the world. It is also seen as a means for smaller countries to increase their bargaining power in negotiations with their larger trading partners. It also means that a country with a small delegation might increase its participation, if it is part of an alliance with others with similar goals. In addition, countries with diverging interests may get together to narrow differences and help achieve consensus among the whole membership. In this case, sometimes groups are specifically created to compromise and break a deadlock rather than to stick to a common position.

Below are the compositions of some of the most active groupings in the WTO; and also some more formal regional and economic alliances (which are not necessarily present at WTO debates).

ACP African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. Group of 77 countries (56 members) with preferential trading relations with the EU under the former Lomé Treaty now called the Cotonou Agreement: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

African Group All African WTO members, currently 41 countries. It holds joint positions in many negotiating issues.

Andean Community Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

APEC Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Nineteen WTO members and two governments on accession negotiation: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States, Viet Nam.

ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Eight ASEAN members are members of the WTO — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The other ASEAN members — Laos and Vietnam — are negotiating WTO membership.

Cairns Group Group of agricultural exporting nations lobbying for agricultural trade liberalization. It was formed in 1986 in Cairns, Australia just before the beginning of the Uruguay Round. Current membership: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay.

Caricom The Caribbean Community and Common Market, comprising 15 countries.

EFTA European Free Trade Association comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

EU European Union, in the WTO officially called the European Communities.

European Communities Official name of the European Union in the WTO. It holds the responsibility for all 25 member states' trade policies. The EC is itself a member of the WTO as are all member states individually, and it always speaks as one (though delegates of individual members hold seats in meetings).

FANs “Friends of Antidumping negotiations”. Brazil, Chile, Israel, Japan, Korea, Norway, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and Hong Kong, China.

FIPs the “five interested parties”, also known as the Five or the Quint: Australia, Brazil, the EU, India and the US, meeting since 2004 to try to break deadlock in agriculture.

G-7 Group of seven leading industrial countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States.

G-8 G7 plus Russia.

G-10 Coalition of countries lobbying for agriculture to be treated as diverse and special because of non-trade concerns (currently 9 members): Chinese Taipei, Rep of Korea, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Norway and Switzerland. Not to be confused with the Group of Ten Central Bankers.

G-20 Coalition of countries (currently 21) pressing for ambitious reforms of agriculture in developed countries with some flexibility for developing countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe. Not to be confused with the Group of 20 finance ministers and heads of Central Banks.

G-33 Also called “Friends of Special Products” in agriculture, understood to comprise 42 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Botswana, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Rep. Korea, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe

G-90 Coalition of African, ACP and least-developed countries (currently 64 members of the WTO): Angola, Antigua-Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea (Conakry), Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, The Gambia, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

GRULAC Informal group of Latin-American members of the WTO.

ITCB International Textiles and Clothing Bureau — Geneva-based group of some 20 developing country exporters of textiles and clothing.

MERCOSUR Customs union comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement, comprising Canada, Mexico and the US.

RAMs Recently acceded members, a coalition of countries that recently joined the WTO, arguing for lesser commitments in the current negotiations because of the liberalization they have undertaken as part of their membership agreements. In the agriculture negotiations, six speak as a group: Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Jordan, Moldova and Oman.

SACU Southern African Customs Union comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.