Explanation of Position on a Second Committee Resolution on International Trade and Development

Jason Lawrence
U.S. Adviser for the Second Committee
New York, New York
November 20, 2023


Thank you, Mr. Chair. On behalf of the U.S. Government, I would like to extend our thanks to the facilitator for shepherding this resolution. The United States enjoys strong and growing trade relationships across the globe. We welcome efforts to bolster those relationships, increase economic cooperation, and advance prosperity for all people through a fair and open trade and international economic system. We support the core themes of this resolution and joined consensus this year.

However, we joined others in voting against operative paragraph 28. I would like to highlight a few important concerns with this paragraph. The United States believes that economic sanctions are an appropriate, effective, and legitimate tool to achieve national security and foreign policy objectives. In cases where the United States has applied sanctions, we have done so consistent with international law and with specific objectives in mind, including as a means to promote a return to the rule of law or democratic systems, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, or to respond to threats to international security.

We underscore our position that trade language, negotiated or adopted by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council or under their auspices, has no relevance for U.S. trade policy, for our trade obligations or commitments, or for the agenda at the World Trade Organization, including discussions or negotiations in that forum.

While the UN and the World Trade Organization share common interests, they have different roles, rules, and memberships. Similarly, this includes calls to adopt approaches that may undermine incentives for innovation, such as technology transfer that is not both voluntary and on mutually agreed terms.

Additionally, this resolution does not adequately capture all of the carefully negotiated and balanced language in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health of 2001, and instead presents an unbalanced and incomplete picture of that language.

Thank you.