Extract from the Mauritius Strategy (Chapter XIII, paras 66-69)
66. Most small island developing States, as a result of their smallness, persistent structural disadvantages and vulnerabilities, face specific difficulties in integrating into the global economy. Trade liberalization and globalization present opportunities and challenges to small island developing States, including in terms of the erosion of trade preferences. The potential benefits from trade liberalization and globalization can be best realized if the specific limitations and vulnerabilities of small island developing States are addressed at all levels.
67. A universal, rule-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system, as well as meaningful trade liberalization, can substantially stimulate development worldwide, benefiting countries at all stages of development. In that regard, we reaffirm our commitment to trade liberalization and to ensure that trade plays its full part in promoting economic growth, employment and development for all.
68. The decision taken on 1 August 2004 by the World Trade Organization members, which emphasizes their resolve to conclude the negotiations launched at Doha, and the renewed commitment by World Trade Organization members to fulfilling the development dimension of the current round of World Trade Organization negotiations, which seeks to place the needs and interests of developing countries at the heart of the Doha work programme, is a welcome development. We recognize the importance of intensifying efforts to facilitate the full and effective participation by small economies, notably small island developing States, in the deliberations and decision-making process of the World Trade Organization. Many small island developing States either are not represented at World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva or are still grappling with the process of accession to World Trade Organization membership. Most small island developing States also experience serious capacity constraints in meeting World Trade Organization obligations.
69. In seeking to integrate into the global economy, there are a number of issues of special concern to small island developing States, including:
- The World Trade Organization accession process;
- Graduation and smooth transition from the United Nations list of least developed countries;
- Capacity constraints;
- Harmonized, coordinated and sustainably financed technical assistance;
- Structural handicaps and vulnerabilities of small island developing States;
- Erosion of preferences;
- Structural adjustment;
- Relationship between trade, environment and development;
- Trade and food security;
- Lack of adequate representation at World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva.