Global civil society says no to binding rules on Trade Facilitation in WTO, FTAs and EPAs

Delivery date: 
6 June, 2013

Global civil society statement on TFA (English - pdf) - June 6, 2013

Dear Members of the World Trade Organization,

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, representing hundreds of millions of members across the globe, urge you to abandon the negotiations towards a binding agreement on Trade Facilitation in advance of the upcoming 9th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Bali. Binding rules on Trade Facilitation should not be promoted either inside the WTO through the proposed Trade Facilitation (TF) agreement, nor through other avenues such as bilateral or regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) or Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). Developing countries should have the policy space to adopt, at their discretion, higher levels or standards and customs–related procedures as and when capacity exists to do so, taking into account their development context.

No empirical evidence of benefits to developing countries: Proponents of the TF negotiations have argued that developing countries would benefit even more than developed countries from an agreement on Trade Facilitation. However, there is little empirical basis for this claim. Quite the contrary, the proposed binding agreement on Trade Facilitation is a key demand of the developed countries towards the Ministerial, because it will serve the interests of their corporations.

Better call it an “import-facilitating agreement”: A binding agreement on Trade Facilitation in the WTO would require developing countries to implement a set of rules reflective of the current trade facilitation practices of the developed countries. They would not address the urgent need to expand the productive and export capacities of the developing countries. Thus, while imports into developing countries would be facilitated by the new rules, it is difficult to imagine how exports from developing countries could be similarly facilitated. In fact, Trade Facilitation rules in the WTO should be more accurately called “import-facilitating rules” for developing countries. Hence, a TF agreement would likely result in the further worsening of the trade balance in many developing countries, leading to balance of payment problems that often further increase indebtedness.

A corporate-driven model: The proposed agreement on Trade Facilitation follows a model of corporate-driven globalization focused on increasing the volume of trade, rather than achieving globally-shared development goals through rules that facilitate countries’ use of trade policy for their own development needs, and in accordance with their levels of development. In fact, a Trade Facilitation agreement at the WTO would create new markets – in customs and shipment processing for multinational corporations. At the same time, it would likely lead to the further privatization of ports, customs operations, and shipment processing, which leaves little or no space for local operators, and which has already led to a loss of jobs, downward pressure on wages, and erosion of labor rights for public workers in these sectors. A TF agreement would increase trade, which is a significant source of carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change.

Costs un-accounted for: While developed countries promote the proposed agreement as a “win-win,” most of the costs of a TF agreement to developing countries are rarely included in projected impact assessments. For example, there are significant implementation, regulatory, human resources, and infrastructure costs associated with the proposed Trade Facilitation agreement, many of which are recurring, and would be siphoned from national budgets, diverting available resources from development needs.

Loss of budget support for development priorities: A potential Trade Facilitation deal is also expected to lead to irreplaceable loss of tariff revenue. Compared to developed countries, the share of customs revenue in the total tax collection is much higher in developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Foregone tariff revenue would have serious implications for national budgetary support for key development issues such as education, health, and poverty reduction. Reducing national budget support for addressing the Millennium Development Goals can in no way be referred to as a pro-development outcome.

Encroaching upon national regulatory and policy space: In addition, the provisions of the proposed Trade Facilitation agreement, as they are being negotiated, would undermine the regulatory capacities of developing countries. The proposed rules would expand the opportunities of multinational corporations to lobby in national and local legislative processes. Furthermore, the rules that would be enforced through a TF agreement would provide ample grounds for challenging regulations, laws, and procedures in member states.

Eroding the rights of developing countries and LDCs: Further eroding any claim to benefits for developing countries is the fact that there remain significant imbalances and incoherence within the text being negotiated. The new Trade Facilitation rules, being pushed by developed countries, have advanced significantly, and are set in binding language. Negotiations on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building, which are central to the original agreed Trade Facilitation negotiations mandate (2004), have been stalled by developed countries, and are currently framed in non-binding language.

The needs-assessment exercises of developing countries are likewise being utilized as a ‘compliance assessment’ tool in order to pressure developing countries into accepting the Trade Facilitation agreement rather than to encourage developed countries to increase their technical, and particularly financial assistance.

A WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement differs from unilateral and voluntary processes: Developing countries can benefit from more efficient and transparent trade procedures. But unilateral voluntary implementation of non-binding customs-related guidelines, and/or the Revised Kyoto Convention of the World Customs Organization, in accordance with national priorities and needs, is of a different nature and brings different implications compared to a binding TF agreement that could be enforced through the Dispute Settlement procedures of the WTO. Worse, the latter could lead to sectoral cross-retaliation among countries, the effects of which are expected to be more pernicious to the much smaller economies of developing countries and least developed countries.

What we need to see being advanced: Instead, any discussions at the WTO should focus on rectifying historical imbalances and asymmetries in the WTO, in order to provide more policy space for countries to implement solutions to the global economic crises. A starting point would be agreeing to the important proposal of the “G33”group of 46 developing countries to allow developing countries to promote domestic Food Security, and delivering on the LDC package at the upcoming Ministerial. In addition, a real advancement on the Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) and Implementation Agenda issues, long advocated for by developing countries, is long overdue. The WTO Turnaround Agenda of the Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS) network also provides an outline of such needed policy changes, which are essential to start the process of transforming the global trade system into one that works for sustainable and inclusive development for all.

Sincerely,

 

International and Regional Networks

 

1

ACP Civil Society Forum

The Forum is a coalition of 80 not-for-profit organisations working on issues relating to ACP-EU development cooperation. It seeks to cater for the diverse range civil society development issues   within the wide geographic coverage of the ACP group.

2

Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN)

AEFJN is a Network present in all countries of Africa and most countries in Europe to promote fairer relations between Africa and Europe. AEFJN works on economic issues related to Africa in the European Union and International Organizations policies.

3

Africa Trade Network

The Political Economy unit (PECU) of TWN-Africa co-ordinates the Africa Trade Network which was established in 1998 by TWN-Africa, and has over 25 members from 15 countries in Africa. The ATN has observer status with the African Union, and has provided a means of increased interaction between civil society groups and African governments, including the annual Conference of African Ministers of Trade.

4

Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND)

ANND is a regional network, working in 12 Arab countries with seven national networks (with an extended membership of 200 CSOs from different backgrounds) and 23 NGO members.

5

Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)

A regional migrant centre working in the Asia Pacific and Middle East region.

6

Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN)

APRN is a network of leading research NGOs in the Asia-Pacific. It is active in promoting exchange, coordination and capacity building support in research.

7

Asian Peasants Coalition (APC)

Represent more than 15 million rural members (e.g. landless peasants, peasant women, dalits, agricultural workers, fisherfolks, pastoralists, and rural youth) from 33 organizations from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, and Sri Lanka, struggling for genuine agrarian reform and people's food sovereignty.

8

Caribbean Dawn

A regional network of scholars and researchers who work on the issues of political economy, trade, sustainable development; sexual and reproductive health and rights; governance and women's equal participation in power and decision-making.

9

Civile d’Afrique Francophone (OSCAF) International

Siège Bénin - Un réseau International qui couvre plus d’une vingtaine de pays en Afrique et dont les membres travaillent sur les questions liées au commerce international, à l’investissement, à la responsabilité sociétale des entreprises et à l’efficacité du développement

10

Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)

Dawn is a network of feminist scholars, researchers and activists from the economic South working for economic and gender justice and sustainable and democratic development.

11

Dignity International

Dignity International’s vision is of a world in which everyone enjoys human rights and lives in dignity; free from fear, poverty and discrimination. Dignity International advocates with, connects, and supports the empowerment of deprived and struggling communities in claiming their human rights, and creating social justice around the world.

12

IBON International

IBON initiates and implements international programs, develops and hosts international networks, initiates and participates in international advocacy campaigns, and establishes regional and country offices. IBON strengthens links between local campaigns and advocacies to international initiatives.

13

International Grail Justice and Trade 
Agreements Network

A coalition of groups working for peace and justice in 20 countries worldwide.

14

International Presentation Association

The mission of IPA is to channel our resources so that we can speak and act in partnership with others for global justice.

15

International Women's Alliance (IWA)

Global alliance of anti-imperialist grassroots-based women’s organizations, institutions, alliances, networks and individuals committed to advancing national and social liberation.

16

LDC Watch

LDC Watch is a global alliance of national, regional and international civil society organisations (CSOs), networks and movements based in the LDCs.

17

Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG)

PANG is a Pacific regional network promoting economic justice in globalisation with specific attention to accountability and transparency in economic and trade policy processes, Poverty eradication, Equitable development and sustainable livelihoods (opportunity, access, impact), Food sovereignty and environmental sustainability.

18

Pax Romana-The International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA/MIIC)

Global network of Catholic leaders committed to justice, peace and creation.

19

Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD), Americas

La PIDHDD es un actor político, conformado por Capítulos Nacionales que articulan organizaciones sociales e instituciones de la sociedad civil, que promueve la plena vigencia y realización de los derechos humanos; Actualmente, se cuenta con capítulos nacionales constituidos y en funcionamiento en 16 países del continente americano: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Dominicana, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haití, Guatemala, México, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay y Venezuela.

20

Réseau des plates formes nationales des ONG des pays de l'Afrique Centrale (REPONGAC)

Sur les questions de développement et les processus d'intégration régionale ce réseau regroupe les plates-formes nationales des ONG des pays suivants: Angola, Burundi, Cameroun, République du Congo, Gabon, République Centrafricaine, la RD Congo, Rwanda et Tchad.

21

The Southern Africa Development Community Council of Non Governmental Organizations (SADC-CNGO)

SADC-CNGO is the lead and membership based apex body of non-governmental organizations operating in all SADC Countries.

22

South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)

An alliance to fight against poverty and injustice in South Asia comprising journalists, academics, trade unionists, human rights activists, NGOs and other civil society actors across the region.

23

Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)

An African initiative to strengthen Africa's capacity to take a more effective part in the emerging global trading system and to better manage the process of Globalization.

 

 

National Organizations

Country

24

11.11.11, Belgium

Belgium

25

3rd ACP Civil Society Forum

Jamaica

26

51% Coalition for Equality

Jamaica

27

Abibiman Foundation(AF)

Ghana

28

Action for Change and Progress in Africa

Kenya

29

Act Up-Paris

France

30

Agricultural Workers Union of TUC

Ghana

31

Alianza ONG

Dominican Republic

32

All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANPFa)

Nepal

33

Alliance Pour La Reconstruction Et Le Developpement Post-Conflit (ARDPC)

COTE D’IVOIRE

34

All Lanka Peasant's Front

Sri Lanka

35

Argentine Federation Of Commerce And Services Workers (FAECyS)

Argentina

36

Artisanal Mining African Network (AMAN)

Ghana

37

Association Commerciale, Agricole, Industriel et du Service - (ACAISA)

CAPE VERDE

38

Asociación de Iniciativas Populares Ditsö

Costa Rica

39

Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC)

Mexico

40

Asociacion Nacional De Industriales De Transformacion (ANIT)

Mexico

41

Attac

France

42

Attac Norway

Norway

43

Barbados Association of Non Governmental Organizations

Barbados

44

Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology

Belize

45

Berne Declaration

Switzerland

46

Bahrain Transparency Society (BTS)

Bahrain

47

Bharatiya Krishak Samaj (BKS)

India

48

Bia'lii, Consultancy and Research, AC (Mexico)

Mexico

49

Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organisations : BOCONGO

Botswana

50

Cacid-Reseau Enda Tiers Monde

Senegal

51

Campaign for a Life of Dignity for All (KAMP)

Philippines

52

Campaign for Climate Justice Nepal (CCJN)

Nepal

53

Central America Women's Network

UK

54

Central Unica de Trabajadores (CUT)

Colombia

55

Center for Encounter and active Non-Violence

Austria

56

Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD)

Zambia

57

Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales

Mexico

58

Centre for Alternative Research and Studies (CARES)

Mauritius

59

CILONG - TCHAD

République du Tchad

60

Civil Society Bahamas

Bahamas

61

Civil Society Forum of Tonga (CSFT)

Tonga

62

Civil Society Movement of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

63

Civil Society Organization Network for Development (RESOCIDE) - Cadre de concertation des OSC pour le suivi du CSLP (CdC/CSLP)

BURKINA FASO

64

Civil society Plat-form “Action Développement et Intégration Régionale” "ADIR"

BURUNDI

65

Comhlámh

Ireland

66

Comité 1968 por las Libertades democráticas

Mexico

67

Comité du Forum Social Lémanique, Geneva

Switzerland

68

Comisión Nacional de Enlace (CNE)

Costa Rica

69

Concertation Nationale Des Organisations paysannes et des Producteurs (CNOP)

Gabon

70

Confederation of Labor and Allied Social Services (CLASS)

Philippines

71

Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

South Africa

72

Conseil de Concertation des ONGs de Développement (CCOD) du Congo Brazzaville

République du Congo Brazzaville

73

Conseil des ONG AGREES DU CAMEROUN (CONGAC)

Cameroun

74

CONSEIL INTER ONG EN CENTRAFRIQUE (CIONGCA)

Central Africa Rep.: Modeste GONDA

75

Conseil National des ONG de Développement (CNONGD)

RD Congo

76

Consumer education trust

Uganda

77

Consumers Protection Association(CPA)

Lesotho

78

Cook Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (CIANGO)

Cook Islands

79

Coordination Southern Africa (KOSA e.V.)

Germany

80

Council for NGOs (CANGO)

Swaziland

81

Council of Canadians

Canada

82

Development Service Exchange (DSE)

Solomon Islands

83

Diverse Women  for Diversity

India

84

Eastern and Southern Africa Small-scale Farmer’s Forum (ESAFF)

Zambia

85

Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA

 South Africa

86

Economic News Africa (EcoNews Africa)

Kenya

87

Ecuador Decide Adhiere

Ecuador

88

El Sindicato de trabajadores del Instituto Nacional para el Desarrollo de Capacidades del Sector Rural (STINCA)

Mexico

89

EQUATIONS

India

90

Equity BD - Equity and Justice Working Group

Bangladesh

91

Fairwatch

Italy

92

Federation de Femmes Enterpreneurs et Affairs de la CEDEAO (FEFA)

GUINEA CONAKRY

93

Federación De Trabajadores Del Agua Potable Y Alcantarillado Del Perú (FENTAP)

Peru

94

Federacion Sindical Obrero Campesina De Quintana Roo

Mexico

95

First African Bicycle Information Organization ( FABIO)

Uganda

96

Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos (FOCO)

Argentina

97

Fórum das Organizações Não Governamentais Angolanas – (FONGA) Forum of NGOs in Angola (FONGA)

Angola

98

Forum das Ong de São Tomé e principe (FONG-STP)

Sao Tomé & Principe

99

Forum des ONG pour le Développement Durable (FONGDD)

Eq. Guinea

100

Foundation for Research in Science Technology & Ecology

India

101

Foundation pour le Developpment au Sahel (FDS)

Mali

102

Friends of the earth

Ghana

103

Fronteras Comunes A.C.

Mexico

104

FSM Alliance of NGOs - FANGO

Micronesia

105

Governance Links Tanzania

Tanzania

106

Grassroots Organisations of Trinidad & Tobago (GOTT)

Trinidad & Tobago

107

Green Ghana Initiative(GGI)

Ghana

108

Groupe d'Action et de Reflexion sur l'Environnement et le Développement (GARED)

Togo

109

Groupe de Recherche et d'Action pour la  Promotion de l'Agriculture et du Développement (GRAPAD)

BENIN REPUBLIC

110

Grupo Sin Cuenta (G50)

El Salvador.

111

Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS)

Philippines

112

Initiative for Health & Equity in Society

India

113

Institute for Global Justice (IGJ)

Indonesia

114

Instituto Justiça Fiscal

Brazil

115

Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisa (INEI)

GUINEA BISAU

116

Integrated Social Development Effort (ISDE)

Bangladesh

117

Inter Agency Group of Development Organizations (IAGDO)

Grenada

118

Iyanola (St.Lucia) Council for the Advancement of Rastafari Incorperated (I.C.A.R.)

St.Lucia

119

Jóvenes Frente Al G20 México

Mexico

120

Kalingo Carib Council

Dominica

121

Kenya Debt Relief Network (KENDREN)

Kenya

122

KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP)

Philippines

123

Kiribati Association of Non-Governmental Organisation - KANGO

Kiribati

124

La Alianza Social Continental Capitulo Perú.

Peru

125

La Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres

Peru

126

Labour,Health and Human Rights Development Centre

Nigeria

127

Les Amis de la Terre-Togo

Togo

128

Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN)

Lesotho

129

Lismore Presentation Sisters

Australia

130

Melanesian NGO Centre for Leadership (MNCL)

Papua New Guinea

131

Malawi Economic Justice Network (National NGO platform)

Malawi

132

Marshall Islands Council of NGOs (MICNGOS)

Marshall Islands

133

Mujeres para el Diálogo, AC

Mexico

134

Mauritius Council of Social Service (MACOSS)

Mauritius

135

Namibia Non-Governmental Organisations Forum Trust

Namibia

136

National Association Of Nigerian Traders (NANTS)

Nigeria

137

National Association of NGOs (NANGO)

Zimbabwe

138

National Council of NGOs

Kenya

139

National du Réseau des Ong de Développement et Associations de Défense des Droits de l'Homme et de la Démocratie (RODADDHD)

Niger

140

National Fisheries Solidarity Movement

Sri Lanka

141

National Forum for Mozambiquan NGOs and CBOs (TEIA)

Mozambique

142

Nauru Island Association of NGOs (NIANGO)

Nauru

143

Navdanya

India

144

Niue Island (Umbrella) Association of NGOs (NIUANGO)

Niue

145

Norwegian Trade Campaign

Norway

146

PANE & Cotonou Task Force

Ethiopia

147

Plateforme des Acteurs de la Société Civile au Bénin (PASCiB)

 

148

Plate-forme des acteurs non étatiques pour le suivi de l'Accord de Cotonou au Sénégal

Senegal

149

Plate-Forme Nationale des Organisations de la Societe Civile de Madagascar

Madagascar

150

Policy Analysis and Research Institute of Lesotho (PARIL)

Lesotho

151

Port Louis Maritime Employees Association (PLMEA)

Mauritius

152

Presentation Congregation Queensland

Australia

153

Presentation Justice Network Ireland

Ireland

154

Programme de Plaidoyer Pour une Intégration Alternative (PPIA)

Haiti

155

Red Afrodescendientes

VENEZUELA

156

Red De Accion Ciudadana Frente Allibre Comercio E Inversion

El Salvador

157

Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC)

Mexico

158

Red Nacional Género y Economía (REDGE)

Mexico

159

Resistance & Alternatives

Mauritius

160

Resistance and Alternatives to Globalization  (RAG)

Indonesia

161

Roj Women's Association

UK

162

Roots for Equity

Pakistan

163

Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN)

Nepal

164

Rwanda Civil Society Platform

Rwanda

165

Samoa Umbrella for Non Governmental Organisation (SUNGO)

Samoa

166

Serikat Perempuan Indonesia - Indonesian Women Union

Indonesia

167

Seychelles Civil Society Organisations (Liaison Unit of the non-governmental organisations of Seychelles (LUNGOS))

Seychelles

168

Shirkat Gah

Pakistan

169

Siembra, AC

Mexico

170

 SISTREN Theatre Collective

Jamaica

171

Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País.(Economic society of friends of the country)

Cuba

172

SOLIDARITÉ

France

173

South African NGO Council (SANGOCO)

South Africa

174

Stichting Projekta

Suriname

175

Tanzania Association of NGOs

Tanzania

176

Tchad Agir pour L'environnement (TCHAPE)

Chad

177

The Asia Foundation

Timor-Leste

178

The Association of Non- Governmental Organization (TANGO)

The Gambia

179

The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Centre (GARDC)

Antigua and Barbuda

180

The Green Economics Initiative

Pakistan

181

Tuvalu Association of NGOs (TANGO)

Tuvalu

182

Unidad  Ecológica Salvadoreña (UNES)

El Salvador

183

Vanuatu Assocation of NGOs (VANGO)

Vanuatu

184

Voice

Bangladesh

185

West African Women Association (WAWA)

Liberia

186

Windward Islands Farmers’ Association (WINFA)

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

187

Women Across Differences (WAD)

GUYANA

188

Women's Media Watch

Jamaica

189

Working group Food Justice

The Netherlands

190

Worldview

The Gambia

191

X minus Y

The Netherlands

192

Young Women's Leadership Initiative

Jamaica

193

Zambia Council for Social Development

Zambia