By Franklin Alli
NIGERIAâ€™s Minister of Commerce andÂ Â Â Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa, has charged the World Trade Organization (WTO) to conclude the Doha Development Agenda Negotiations (DDA) by 2010.
The Minister, who led the Nigerian delegation to the 7th World Trade Organization Ministerial conference in Geneva, asserted that the harmonisation of the trade policies under the Doha Round by WTO is the way forward for trade and investment between the country and her trading partners.
According to him, members of WTO have resolved to avoid protectionist measures following the financial crisis that is being witnessed globally.
He disclosed that among the conclusions reached at the conference were: the Doha negotiations had a strong convergence on the importance of trade and the Doha Round to economic recovery and poverty alleviation in developing countries.
In that context, we called that the development dimension should remainÂ central to the Round;
According to him the Conference reaffirmed the need to conclude the Round in 2010 and for a stock taking exercise to come up in the first quarter of 2010.
Consequently, the senior officials in Geneva have been directed to work towards that point; while ministers supported building on the progress made so far, and not to reopen Agreed and PerfectedÂ Texts.
On the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) specific issues, the Conference he disclosed underlined the need for such issues to be given particular attention, such as Duty Free, Quota Free market access, Cotton and LDCs waiver for Services, while the need for Small and Vulnerable Economies (SVEs) were also emphasized.
The Ministers he said agreed that the growing number of bilateral and regional trade agreements is an issue for the Multilateral Trading System and therefore, underscored the need to ensure that the two approaches to trade openings continue to complement each other.
The round he further disclosed stressed the importance of accession in broadening and strengthening the WTO, while technical assistance at all stages of the accession process was also agreed to be strengthened.Â
The Conference, therefore, called for increasing and stepping-up of the momentum on Aid for Trade including the Enhanced Integrated Framework (Trade Related Technical assistance provided by the World Bank, IMF, UNCTAD, WTO, ITC and UNDP).