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EU and China Roles in the UNCTAD Framework

Antonella Forganni

The global crisis seriously affected the economic growth of numerous countries and, consequently, the mandate of the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has been strongly reaffirmed during the last intergovernmental conference, UNCTAD XIII, which was closed in Doha on the 26th of April 2012. As a matter of fact, the economic instability urged for further commitments of the member states to achieve the development goals and to reach a satisfactory outcome of the negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This paper aims to investigate the role played during UNCTAD XIII by two of the major global actors, the EU and China, through the analysis of the official statements and the representatives’ behaviours during the intergovernmental conference, as well as through a comparison with their respective positions in the WTO. Moreover, the paper will consider the conclusions of UNCTAD XIII in light of the Accra Accord (concluded in 2008 during UNCTAD XII), to verify whether an evolution can be outlined and to determine the scenario for the forthcoming UNCTAD XIV, which will take place in Peru in 2016. The USA asked for a severe expenditure review, in light of the critics addressed to UNCTAD by the UN Joint Inspection Unit. Which were the positions of the EU and China to this regard? Were they able to contribute in renewing the UNCTAD and in strengthening its role? The paper will address these questions and its conclusions will offer some remarks about the EU-China dialogue in the framework of this international forum.

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