COMMUNICATION FROM NORWAY ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF LDC MODALITIES
STATEMENT BY NORWAY
CTS – SS JUNE 23 2006
It is with pleasure, Mr. Chairman, that I use this occasion to present a Communication from Norway on the implementation of the Modalities for the Special Treatment for Least Developed Country Members in the Trade in Services Negotiations.
We have on several occasions stressed the importance we attach to this element in the Services negotiations. Norway´s aim is to contribute to the process of achieving effective implementation of the LDC Modalities through the responses set out in the Communication.
In Norway`s view the issue of according “special priority” to the LDCs in order to facilitate their participation in international services trade has at least two, if not more, elements.
a) The first relates to the need to strengthen their domestic services capacity and their access to distribution and information networks. This element concerns the shaping and implementation of measures and contributions which will supplement LDCs` own efforts in developing an efficient and dynamic services sector. Access to technology and effective technical assistance measures are important in this respect. Developing appropriate tools for improving legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks is essential in order to achieve a well working services sector. I will revert to some comments about Norway`s contributions to this work.
b) A second element relates to the importance of facilitating effective access of LDCs` services and service suppliers to foreign markets in modes of supply and sectors that are of export interest to the them. Important questions have been raised with respect to developing appropriate mechanisms with a view to achieving increased participation by LDCs in services trade. I particularly have in mind the Communication from the Republic of Zambia on behalf of the LDC Group, TN/S/W/59, 28 March 2006. Norway supports further work to explore the feasibility of possible alternative appropriate mechanisms. This should be done with due regard to domestic laws and regulations.
As for Norway’s own initial and revised offers on Mode 4 Norway has made substantial commitments on the following categories: intracorporate transferees, business visitors and independent professionals. We are actively considering extending and clarifying our Mode 4 offer in a manner which should be of particular interest to the LDCs. We will maintain all requirements regarding entry, stay, wages, working conditions and social security benefits.
Regarding Mode 1 Norway`s offer include extensive commitments in several sectors, including but not limited to business services, telecommunications services, construction and related engineering services, financial services and maritime services, which provide a wide range of commercial opportunities. In particular, the combination of commitments in business and communication services would provide ample and predictable opportunities of outsourcing activities.
c) A third element under the issue of “special priority”could be the consideration of possible measures in order for the LCDs to draw maximum advantage of GATS` flexibilities. In that context we have in mind inter alia the contents of paragraph 26 of the Ministerial Declaration from the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting, where it is stated that LDCs are not expected to undertake new commitments. In Norway`s case we have thus formally withdrawn all requests to LDCs in the services negotiations. However, we would still very much look forward to an active participation of LDCs in the negotiations.
Norway has a strong focus on capacity building and trade-related technical assistance to the LDCs. I will refrain from going into all details which can be found in the communication, but let me highlight some of the programmes we find particularly relevant.
Norway has in its trade related technical assistance given priority to the multilateral trust funds. According to the 2005 Joint WTO/OECD Report on Trade-Related Technical Assistance and Capacity Building, Norway was the largest bilateral donor to these funds in 2004 (6,8 mill. USD). The contributions to these funds are of a general nature and normally not linked to particular areas of work like services. However, through support to UNCTAD and ITC, the services area has been assisted.
Norway is a major contributor to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund. Including the allocation of 10 million NOK for 2006 the total Norwegian contribution to the DDAGTF has reached NOK 42 million.
For Norway, the Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance for Least Developed Countries (IF), stands out as a very valuable instrument. The framework included at the beginning of 2006 40 LDCs, 20 of which have undertaken an analysis with a view to integrating trade in their national strategies (DTIS). Norway has participated in the task force that has proposed a considerable enhancement of the IF from 2007. Our intention is to increase our contributions considerably in line with decisions on the enhancement of the IF.
Let me finally thank you Mr. Chairman, for your efforts to advance the work on the LDC Modalities. Complicated as many of questions may be, I note from Annex C in the Hong Kong declaration that we all share the same objective, i.e. “..the beneficial and meaningful integration of LDC`s into the multilateral trading system”.