Second Committee Statement on Agenda Item 17 (b) “International Financial System and Development”

Jason Lawrence
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 26, 2019


Mr. Chairperson, the United States is disappointed to see there has not been sufficient change in this resolution this year, and we must therefore vote against it for the third year in a row. A significant number of the concerns we continue to highlight remain in the resolution.

On PP11, the United States does not agree with the reference to “increasing protectionism and inward-looking policies.” WTO-consistent trade remedy measures and enforcement actions against 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 when others are unwilling to do the hard work necessary to deliver on free, fair, and reciprocal trade. We reiterate the points raised in our November 21 statement – the UN is not an appropriate venue for this discussion.

Regarding operative paragraphs (OP) two and nine, calls for enhancing, ensuring, or strengthening the coherence and consistency of international financial, monetary, and trading systems and policies presumes that the current level of coherence and consistency is suboptimal in some way, and we do not necessarily share this view. In addition, the United States does not support the attempt to prescribe the appropriate characteristics of international systems that are independent of the UN system.

With respect to OP 14, we strongly disagree with the encouragement to provide “flexible, concessional, fast-disbursing, and front-loaded assistance” without regard to the financial sustainability of the institutions, the development impact and effect on poverty reduction of such assistance, or the presence of an appropriate macroeconomic policy framework. The concessionality of assistance should be determined by the governance bodies of the International Financial Institutions, which should allocate limited concessional resources with reference to income and creditworthiness. Furthermore, this recommendation could be read as encouraging multilateral development banks to refrain from adhering to the high social, environmental, and fiduciary standards that are essential to achieving sustainable development.

Regarding PP 18 and OP 23, the United States generally opposes the use of the term “illicit financial flows” as this has no agreed-upon international definition. In the absence of any common understanding of what constitutes illicit financial flows, the United States understands this term to refer to money or assets derived from specific illegal activities, such as embezzlement, bribery, money laundering, other corrupt practices, and other crimes.

Regarding unilateral economic measures in OP36, the United States believes that economic sanctions – as an alternative to the use of force – can be an appropriate, effective, and legitimate response to gross violations of human rights or to other widely-accepted norms and standards. We believe that each Member State has the sovereign right to determine how it conducts trade with other countries and that this includes unilateral economic measures such as sanctions. We are well within our rights to use our trade and commercial policy as tools to achieve national security and foreign policy objectives.

We would also like to raise our concerns with the workload of this committee. We believe we can improve our ability to consider more thoughtfully our work if we were to address the issue of periodicity and triennialize and biennialize a number of resolutions, including this resolution.

Finally, we would like to refer you back to our specific Global Explanation of Position delivered on November 21, 2019, which details a number of additional concerns also found in this resolution, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

Thank you.