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

Courtney Nemroff
Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 30, 2018


Mr. Chairperson, the United States has had to vote against this resolution for the second year in a row because of problematic language we highlighted last year that remains in this year’s resolution.

The United States enjoys strong and growing trade relationships across the globe. We welcome efforts to bolster those relationships, increase economic cooperation, and drive prosperity to all of our peoples through free, fair, and reciprocal trade. However, we are unable to join consensus on the UN’s attempt in operative paragraphs to prescribe the appropriate characteristics of international systems that are independent of the UN system.

As we have noted in our General Statement delivered on November 8, the United Nations must respect the independent mandates of other processes and institutions, including trade negotiations, and must not involve itself in decisions and actions in other forums, including at the World Trade Organization. The UN is not the appropriate venue for these discussions, and there should be no expectation or misconception that the United States would heed decisions made by the General Assembly on these issues. This includes calls that undermine incentives for innovation, such as technology transfer that is not voluntary and on mutually agreed terms.

In addition, the United States cannot join consensus on the reference to “combat protectionism” in OP10. 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.” We do not advocate protectionism, and we will not accept veiled criticisms of our policies.

Regarding unilateral economic measures, the United States believes economic sanctions can be an appropriate, effective, and legitimate alternative to the use of force. We believe 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 security and foreign policy objectives.

Finally, we once again refer you to our General Statement delivered on November 8, 2018, which covers a number of additional concerns, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and inclusive economic growth. Thank you.