Explanation of Vote following the Adoption of the UNGA72 Second Committee Resolution on the Role of the UN in Promoting Development in the Context of

Marji Christian
International Relations Officer
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 30, 2017


Thank you, Chair.

We cannot join consensus on this deeply problematic text and would like to highlight our concerns on issues that should trouble all Member States committed to the preservation of fundamental civil and political rights and genuine economic freedom.

With regard to this resolution’s references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, we addressed our concerns in a General Statement delivered on November 17.

The United States is unable to accept the references whereby the UN General Assembly would seek to shape or influence the agenda of the WTO, or that suggest a need to strengthen coherence and cooperation between the WTO and other independent organizations to attain priorities of the UN. The priorities and objectives of the WTO—an independent organization with a different membership, mandate, and rules of procedure than the UN—are set by WTO Members. We do not accept the UN’s voice in calling for greater coherence and coordination among these independent organizations. Such decisions are left to the members of those organizations.

The United States also rejects any attempt to interpret the language in preambular paragraph 8 to promote state ownership in the economy, or to suggest that governments may deprive private interests of wealth or resources without compensation that is in accordance with international law or may otherwise fail to observe a State’s legal obligations.

Regarding preambular paragraph 10, the United States believes that Members should work toward a global economy that is free and fair, and in this vein more efforts must be made to fight unfair trade practices, including dumping, discriminatory non-tariff barriers, forced technology transfers, non-economic capacity, industrial subsidies, and other support by governments and related institutions that distorts markets.

The United States cannot join consensus on the reference to “inward-looking policies and protectionism.” WTO-consistent trade remedy measures and enforcement actions taken to protect our economies from the unfair and market-distorting trade practices of others are not “protectionist.” The United States does not advocate protectionism, but we also see no utility in reaffirming stale calls to avoid protectionism, a pledge that others routinely violate with impunity.

The United States cannot support the UN General Assembly committing itself to strengthening regional trade agreements. That is a matter for the parties of each regional trade agreement to decide. The UN is not a forum for regional trade agreements or negotiations.

The United States cannot join consensus on language that promotes technology transfer that is not voluntary and on mutually agreed terms. For the United States, any such language will have no standing in future negotiations. The United States continues to oppose language that we believe undermines intellectual property rights.

Finally, it is worth noting that this resolution offers an additional example of a Member State’s attempts to impose its national view of multilateralism and world geopolitics on the international system. The United States cannot support this language, but looks forward to working with others in the months and years ahead to sustain and strengthen the international norms on which the global system is based.

Thank you.