World Trade    WT/MIN(96)/ST/3/Add.1

    9 December 1996




Singapore, 9-13 December 1996


Statement by H.E. Mr. Enda Kenny, T.D.

Minister for Tourism and Trade of Ireland on behalf of the Presidency

of the Council of the European Communities


Position of the European Union on the Involvement of the

Least Developed Countries in the WTO System

    The European Union considers that trade and development policies of the international community should give a higher priority to the least developed countries (LLDCs). Action is needed to help these countries to adapt to and take advantage of the new trading environment established by the Uruguay Round. Such action, covering strengthened domestic policies in LLDCs, market access and the improvement of infrastructure and output, should enable them to increase export earnings.

    In this context, the European Union considers the plan of action submitted for approval to the WTO Ministerial Conference and contained in the report of the WTO Committee on Trade and Development to be a useful instrument for initiating further efforts to improve market access of LLDCs. The European Union for its part is ready to make commitments with a view to opening further its market to imports from all LLDCs and, in this regard, will study in a constructive spirit with all its partners the different options advanced in the plan of action with a view to defining in a coordinated way, in the WTO, concrete contributions by all involved for an early implementation. It will work for the approval of the plan by the Ministerial Conference.

    Furthermore, the European Union is prepared to exploit fully, in close cooperation with its ACP partners, the possibility to concentrate trade and development action, agreed in the framework of the revised Fourth Lomé Convention, on the aims identified by the WTO Committee on Trade and Development. This action provides for financial cooperation under the new Financial Protocol of the Lomé Convention, the support of the definition of coherent trade policies and strategies corresponding to the needs of the countries concerned, the strengthening of their infrastructure for trade and private investment with a view to enhancing the competitiveness of the ACP countries, notably in international markets.

    The European Union is of the view that LLDCs should be the priority beneficiaries of effective market access and technical assistance and welcomes the guidelines adopted by the WTO Committee on Trade and Development in this regard.

    The European Union calls upon other developed and advanced developing partners to take similar and effective action. The European Union also believes that the more advanced developing countries could assist the LLDCs, for example by passing on the experiences of their successful development and providing more favourable treatment to imports from LLDCs.