Kenya wants the world’s top seven economies to provide “political guidance” for negotiations ahead of a global conference on trade that is scheduled for Nairobi in December.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on Tuesday said the G7 countries are in a better place to offer direction especially on contentious issues of international trade.
“We must leave confrontation behind and work together respectfully and with sensitivity.
“The G7 can, therefore, give guidance that would shape the outcome of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference. As the leading economies, you have a special responsibility to make the Nairobi forum a,” she told an informal meeting of G7 trade ministers in Istanbul.
G7 countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Germany.
MC10 is the code name given to the tenth WTO conference set for Nairobi. At least 4,000 delegates from 160 member countries are expected to discuss how to resolve trade barriers.
Ms Mohamed met the ministers as part of Kenya’s campaign to ensure the meeting succeeds in reaching major international trade solutions.
Although G7 is a non-binding group, Ms Mohamed believes their commanding influence in global economic issues and foreign, security and development policies will come in handy during the WTO negotiations.
“Two months before MC10, we should start to place substantive cards on the table, collectively,” she said.
Kenya hopes for a new WTO document that will help address imbalance in trade, movement of goods deemed harmful to the environment and non-tariff barriers. It also wants issues of electronic commerce such as mobile payments and related investments to be discussed during the conference.
Kenya has also said a better agreement on agricultural exports would be a priority.
A draft policy statement on agribusiness to be presented during the meeting states that Kenya will take the position of African countries in pushing for a better agricultural agreement.
“African countries’ investments in agriculture have been sinking in a huge black hole, because they cannot compete with distorting subsidies derived from the current Agreement on Agriculture regime,” Ms Mohamed told Swedish officials recently when she met them in Stockholm.
Formally known as the WTO Ministerial Conference, the forum is a biennial summit that has been held since 1995, when the World Trade Organisation was established. The WTO is a forum where countries negotiate trade agreements and settle disputes resulting from international trade.
It officially has five functions of administering trade agreements, acting as a forum for trade negotiations, monitoring national trade policies, providing technical assistance to developing countries and acting as a link with other international organisations.
In spite of its promise to level the trading field, critics have accused the organisation of passing policies that favour developed countries.
For example, some critics have said rich countries maintain high import duties on products thus discouraging exports from poor countries. In addition, there are non-tariff barriers such as the insistence on age of goods as well as safety of agricultural products.