European Union Delegation to Singapore

EU Statement at the Trade Negotiations Committee/Heads of Delegation meeting, 19 November 2021

Geneva, 19/11/2021 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 211119_12
Local Statements

Statement delivered by Ambassador João Aguiar Machado

This is the last TNC before MC12. There is a lot on the agenda. On some files, positions are very close. On others, they are quite far apart. Meaningful results are still attainable, but progress requires all Members to be realistic and willing to compromise. We hope Members will approach the Ministerial in this spirit. We need to restore confidence in the rules based global trading system, with the WTO at its core.

Starting with fisheries, reaching an agreement is important for the sustainability of the oceans and fish stocks, as well as to show that the WTO can deliver multilateral rules and address sustainability issues.

The EU is committed to find common ground in the coming days, and nights indeed. The EU has shown flexibility on a number of key areas and we call on all Members to engage in constructive discussions.

On the WTO response to the pandemic, it is urgent to take immediate political action. We must respond to stakeholders’ call when it comes to export restrictions and transparency. We should be open to a dialogue with any member that considers that a given measure affects its access to essential medical goods. It’s the least and as much as we can do.

We are living in a situation that is not business as usual. Therefore we cannot have business as usual. Discussions remain very difficult on intellectual property with no breakthroughs. We will continue actively engaging and discussing with Members in the lead up to the Ministerial. With so little time left, we still believe that a landing zone can however be reached. However, all Members must be ready to compromise and clearly indicate the parameters within which a solution can be found. The current pandemic is a human tragedy. We are committed to solutions that make a substantive difference on the ground, not based on ideological posturing such as “TRIPs waiver or else nothing”.

The EU continues to engage constructively in the agricultural talks. We are disappointed to see positions remain still far apart. The EU pleads for realism in order to increase the chances of successful outcomes in agriculture. We believe it is still possible.

Last but not least, we all agree that reforms are needed in this organization. It is essential that at MC12, Members give political priority to WTO reform and agree to set up an efficient and structured process of discussion in the WTO on how to make the WTO work better across its three functions.

We also need to show that the WTO is not detached from reality and acknowledges the existence of global environmental challenges and climate change. It is important Ministers reaffirm mutual support between trade and environmental policies.

Finally, we welcome the progress made on the Joint Statement Initiatives, notably the one on services domestic regulation that will come to a fruition at the MC12.

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