Trade conference: Uganda to push own agenda

Wednesday March 30 2016

By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Kampala. Despite returning home without tangible concessions from the World Trade Organisation conference held in Nairobi, Kenya last year, Uganda is set to return to the same venue, this time to try and force the country’s trade priorities into the global agenda.

Speaking yesterday in a meeting discussing stakeholders’ participation in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and to input into the draft negotiating text, ministry of trade senior official, said preparations are underway for the country’s “effective” participation in the conference to be held between July 17 and 22.
In his presentation, the Ministry of Trade senior commercial officer, Mr Siragi Wakaabu, said Uganda should ensure its trade and development agendas are captured in the UNCTAD conference or wait for another four years when the next high-level meeting happens.

He said: “Some of our interests are in value addition and how our Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) will fit in the grand scheme of things without being disadvantaged. And the conference, which happens to be the UNCTAD highest decision making organ, is important in influencing that outcome.”
Uganda is facing challenges of a rising unemployment rate, growing trade deficit, and low levels of industrial development, among others.
“Whereas UNCTAD can assist Uganda in addressing these issues, it is important for Uganda to make sure that these issues are included on the agenda, the conference negotiating text and the final declaration,” Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute press statement, reads in part.

Mr Alex Ijo, a trade analyst, said the positions to be presented at UNCTAD conference in Nairobi should be informed by research.
Prof Mwambutsya Ndebesa said in a meeting that while positions are being formulated it should not be forgotten that trade in services is an important aspect of global trade and Uganda should not be left out in the cold in that area.

Trade body
UNCTAD was established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body with a mandate of promoting equitable integration of developing countries into the world economy.
This will be the 14th session of UNCTAD.

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com

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