Min­is­ter up­beat af­ter trade ind­aba

Lesotho Times - - Business -

Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Joshua Setipa has hailed the 10th Min­is­te­rial Con­fer­ence of the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WTO) held in Nairobi, Kenya from 15-18 de­cem­ber.

The con­fer­ence cul­mi­nated in the adop­tion of the ‘Nairobi Pack­age’ — a se­ries of six Min­is­te­rial de­ci­sions on agri­cul­ture, cot­ton and is­sues re­lated to least-de­vel­oped coun­tries (Ldcs) as well as mul­ti­lat­eral trade.

The mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem al­lows coun­tries to or­gan­ise them­selves into re­gional trad­ing blocs and of­fer con­ces­sions amongst each other for as long as trade is not more re­stric­tive to non-mem­bers af­ter the for­ma­tion of the ar­range­ment.

Mr Setipa was chair­ing agri­cul­tural ne­go­ti­a­tions at the con­fer­ence, and said he was happy with the out­come not just of the dis­cus­sions but the en­tire con­fer­ence.

“We reached a deal on rules of ori­gin, which means it will now be eas­ier for Le­sotho to ac­cess mar­kets in coun­tries that have al­ready awarded con­ces­sion, in the form of duty-free and quota-free, to least-de­vel­oped coun­tries,” the min­is­ter said.

On agri­cul­ture, Mr Setipa said lo­cal farm­ers would no longer con­tend with those from coun- tries whose prod­ucts are sub­si­dized by the govern­ment.

“The mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem is of ut­most im­por­tance to small coun­tries such as Le­sotho,” said Mr Setipa, adding the de­vel­op­ment ful­filled a dream Le­sotho had been chas­ing since the in­cep­tion of the WTO in 1995.

The WTO reg­u­lates trade be­tween par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries, pro­vides a frame­work for ne­go­ti­at­ing trade agree­ments, and a dis­put­eres­o­lu­tion process aimed at en­forc­ing par­tic­i­pants’ ad­her­ence to its agree­ments.

Mr Setipa said Le­sotho joined the WTO hop­ing the mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem would boost the coun­try’s nascent econ­omy.

The min­is­ter said trust was of ut­most im­por­tance be­tween trad­ing part­ners as well as be­ing ac­count­able for com­mit­ments the coun­tries make.

“Turn­ing away from our obli­ga­tions will cer­tainly cast doubt over the se­ri­ous­ness of any new com­mit­ment by mem­bers,” said Mr Setipa.

The min­is­ter was also par­tic­u­larly happy with what least-de­vel­oped coun­tries like Le­sotho would ben­e­fit.

“It is in this spirit that I wish to an­nounce that Le­sotho has de­posited her in­stru­ment of ac­cep­tance with re­spect to the Trade Fa­cil­i­ta­tion agree­ment.”

’Marafaele Mohloboli

Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Joshua Setipa.

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