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Unilateral trade measures to protect climate change violate climate treaty - say developing countrie PDF Print
Written by Third World Network   
Monday, 17 August 2009 11:59

In deliberations at an informal group meeting on the 'economic and social consequences of response measures' under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) held on 12 August, India proposed the inclusion of a draft paragraph for inclusion in the negotiating text. The suggested paragraph reads as follows -

"Developed country Parties shall not resort to any form of unilateral measures including countervailing border measures, against goods and services imported from developing countries on grounds of protection and stabilisation of climate. Such unilateral measures would violate the principles and provisions of the Convention, including, in particular, those related to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (Article 3, Paragraph 1); trade and climate change (Article 3 paragraph 5); and the relationship between mitigation actions of developing countries and provision of financial resources and technology by developed country Parties (Article 4, Paragraphs 3 and 7).”

India's proposal was supported by other developing countries including Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Brazil.

The informal group on 'economic and social consequences of response measures' is one of the sub-groups formed to further work under the mitigation building block of the Bali Action Plan.

Australia agreed to inclusion of the paragraph into the negotiating text but wanted it to be bracketed and said that it needed some more time to study the text as the WTO was the appropriate forum to discuss trade and found it problematic for such issues to be discussed in the AWG-LCA.

In response, India said that the proposal is about the impact of response measures by Parties to address climate change and that this was a matter for this working group not and not just the WTO.

Developing countries also said that developing countries faced economic and social consequences of some response measures by developed country Parties which are used to address climate change concerns.

Brazil on behalf of G 77 and China said that some actions have more impacts. For instance, the concept of “food miles” will have impacts on the exports of developing countries. Therefore, there must be convergence of efforts between tackling climate change and with the economic and social development concerns of developing countries.

Saudi Arabia said the Convention called on Parties not to use climate policy as disguised restriction on international trade, in particular, the exports of developing countries. It urged Parties to remember this principle. All developing countries will be affected by response measures, even the small island states. When greenhouse gas emission taxes are applied to air travel, this will affect tourism on these islands. Applying carbon tariff to goods will affect trade from developing countries. So this issue is very crucial and there must be a clear guidance to have a process on how to alleviate such an impact.

South Africa, speaking for the Africa Group said that Africa should be compensated for the environmental, social and economic consequences of climate change and loss of livelihood. All response measures also affect Africa such as reduction in exports due to concepts such as the “food miles.”

Argentina said that there must be concrete actions and measures so that developing countries have assistance to to overcome impacts of response measures. There was need to elaborate what kind of actions are needed to avoid the impacts of response measures on trade of developing countries and on the economic conditions of developing countries.

Australia said that there is agreement on the need for more information. The question is how better information can be forthcoming, through the national communications and other mechanisms.

Using the national communications to report about the impacts of response measures was also voiced by Japan and New Zealand. Canada said it is important to take a comprehensive approach, and consider the negative and positive consequences.

The European Union said there was a convergence of view that this was a complex issue and therefore the need better exchange of information. Attention must be given to the most vulnerable countries as they are least able to cope. Parties have to make the transition to a low-emission economy. This poses opportunities but also has socio-economic challenges but addressing response measures should not deviate actions from mitigation.


Source: TWN Bonn News Update No.7
13 August 2009
Published by Third World Network

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