Explanation of Vote following the Adoption of the UNGA72 Second Committee Resolution on International Financial System and Development

Jay M. Kimmel
Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 30, 2017


Thank you, Chair.

We regret that we cannot join consensus on this text and would like to highlight our concerns.

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 would like to clarify that the call for “scaling up” international tax cooperation should not be interpreted as a call for upgrading the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters. The Committee serves as a sufficient venue for UN discussions on tax.

The United States is unable to agree to language that calls for enhancing, ensuring, or strengthening the coherence and consistency of international financial, monetary, and trading systems and policies. This language 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 is unable to join consensus on the UN’s attempt in operative paragraph two to prescribe the appropriate characteristics of international systems that are independent of the UN system. This is not a matter on which the UN General Assembly should opine.

With respect to operative paragraph 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. Following through on this recommendation is not financially sustainable. The concessionality of assistance should be determined by the governance bodies of the IFIs and limited concessional resources should be allocated 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.

While we acknowledge that the term “illicit financial flows” has been utilized in prior resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, the United States generally opposes its inclusion as a term with no agreed-upon international definition. In the absence of any common understanding of what constitutes illicit financial flows, we should be clearer about the specific underlying illegal activities that produce or contribute to this threat, such as embezzlement, bribery, money laundering, other corrupt practices, or other crimes.

Regarding unilateral economic measures, the United States believes that 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.

Thank you.