Canada Applauds Developing Country Initiative to Reduce Trade Barriers

(No. 369 - December 3, 2009 - noon EST) The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today applauded the initiative of 22 developing countries to reduce by at least 20 percent tariffs on some 70 percent of goods traded between these countries. The announcement was made at a ministerial meeting of the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP) of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“This is a positive step toward reducing trade barriers. By lowering tariffs, this initiative will increase south-south trade and boost prosperity among developing nations,” said Minister Day. “I urged all members to be more proactive. The move by developing countries will, I hope, serve as a catalyst for the rest of us in concluding the Doha Round in 2010.”

Minister Day was in Geneva this week for the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, where he talked about the benefits of the multilateral trading system for developing countries in the WTO. He pointed to the successes of the WTO over the last 15 years, but also stressed that more needs to be done, and that it was critical to conclude the Doha Round by the end of 2010.

The group of 22 countries, which includes key players such as Argentina, Brazil and India, has agreed to conclude an agreement on tariff reductions by September 2010.

The GSTP provides a framework for preferential tariff concessions and other cooperation to stimulate trade between developing countries. Such concessions may take place under the “enabling” clause of the WTO, which allows developing countries to offer one another tariff rates lower than those granted under most favoured nation status.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade
and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-6186

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000