Explanation of Vote following the Adoption of the UNGA72 Second Committee Resolution on International Trade and Development

Jay M. Kimmel
Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 30, 2017


Thank you, Chair.

We regret that we cannot join consensus on this text and would like to highlight our concerns.

Regarding the reference to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, AAAA, in Paragraph 3, we note that much of the trade-related language in the AAAA outcome document has been overtaken by events since July 2015 and is immaterial. That language has no standing for ongoing work and negotiations involving trade. Indeed, some of the intervening events happened just months after the release of the outcome document.

We are also unable to join consensus on the UN General Assembly’s attempt to prescribe the appropriate characteristics of international systems that are independent of the UN system. This is not a matter on which the General Assembly should opine. The World Trade Organization is an independent organization with a different membership, mandate, and rules of procedure.

The United States rejects Paragraph 7. We do not accept the UN General Assembly’s statement on such economic, financial or trade measures. Nor will we accept the UN General Assembly implying that such trade measures may be inconsistent with the basic principles of the WTO. The United States believes that each Member State has the sovereign right to determine how it conducts trade with other countries and that this includes restricting trade in certain circumstances. We are within our rights to utilize our trade and commercial policy as tools to achieve national objectives. By passing this resolution, the General Assembly in effect purports to limit the international community’s and Member States’ abilities to respond effectively and by non-violent means against threats to democracy, human rights or peace and security.

Thank you.