The World Trade Organization's (WTO) African Group unanimously re-elected Egypt as the liaison point for the African group in agriculture and in non-agricultural market access (NAMA) negotiations, Egypt's Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil announced in a statement on Monday.
The re-election is in line with the Egyptian government's strategy which prioritizes African interests on political and economic issues, Minister Kabil said.
Egypt is one of 43 members of the African group, which itself is one of 16 groups formed by WTO member states engaged in agricultural negotiations.
“Egypt’s election to lead the African group at this time is a renewal of the trust Africa grants to Egypt, especially with the changes within the multilateral trading system and the rise of the protectionist tendencies among developed countries,” Kabil said.
Such protectionist tendencies will complicate the next round of negotiations, especially when it comes to favoring developing countries, Kabil said.
The latest round of WTO negotiations began in Doha in November 2001 with the aim to reforming international trade by lowering lower trade barriers and revising trade rules to advance the interests of developing countries.
“We seek to place developing countries’ needs and interests at the heart of the work programme adopted in this declaration,” declareed the representative ministers who launched the Doha round, according to the WTO website.
“We shall continue to make positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries, and especially the least-developed among them, secure a share in the growth of world trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development," the added.
On agriculture, countries are negotiating “more market access, eliminating export subsidies, reducing distorting domestic support, sorting out a range of developing country issues, and dealing with non-trade concerns such as food security and rural development,” according to the WTO website.
Egypt is a member of several WTO groups involved in agricultural negotiations, including the 43-member African group, the G-20 and the G-90.
The G-20 consists of developing countries pressing for agricultural reforms in developed countries to alleviate constrictions on developing countries.
The G-90 consists of the African group, the ACP and the least-developed countries.
Egypt is also one of ten members in the NAMA group, which seeks to help developing nations gain a foothold in global markets.