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African Union Asks Developed Nations to Restart Doha

In a recent statement, the African Union says that developed nations' inflexibility on certain trade issues is hurting African citizens by preventing a Doha Round agreement.

The African Union asks for renewed Doha talks and criticizes larger trading powers for being inflexible in negotiations in a statement dated Oct. 20.

The statement, being circulated at the request of the Delegation of Benin, expresses the importance of a restructured international trading system for developing nations. Africa contains the most under-developed nations of any region; "Consequently, it is on Africa that the continuing international trade distortions are taking the heaviest toll," the statement says.

"For millions of our citizens, the Doha Development Agenda represents the hope of improving their living standards and freeing themselves from absolute poverty."

However, the statement goes on to say, developed nations in the WTO have not lived up to what the African Union calls "a duty, a responsibility, and a moral obligation not to disappoint the African countries and their belief in the multilateral trading system." Developed nations' inflexibility on certain issues during trade negotiations are harming Africa by blocking Doha Round talks, the statement says.

The statement says that "Agriculture is at the heart of the Doha Development Agenda," pointing out that most Africans depend on agriculture for survival, especially the very poor. This means that agricultural market access barriers harm poor populations the most, the statement says.

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