Permanent Mission of the European Union to
the World Trade Organization (WTO)

 

EU Statement by Ambassador João Aguiar Machado at the Informal TNC and HoDs meeting, 14 October 2019

Geneva, 14/10/2019 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 191014_13
Local Statements

·    Thank you, Director-General, and the Chairs of the special sessions for their reports.

· The European Union remains extremely concerned. The WTO crisis is set to further deteriorate without a strong and swift reaction by its Members.

·    Discussions in the Public Forum again demonstrated that the WTO needs to adapt to a rapidly-changing global trading environment. The EU believes that we should do this through three strands of work.

·    First, as of tomorrow, with Ambassador Walker’s presentation of his report to the General Council, we will have an opportunity to lay down the ground for a reformed Appellate Body and for resuming nominations. We need to focus our work on the future of the organisation. This is an opportunity to seize and would be a first step to put the WTO back on track.

·    A second strand would be to ensure that we deliver on the negotiating function of the WTO. This means a successful and substantial 12th Ministerial Conference. The EU believes that what the WTO needs are substantial outcomes, no fig leaves.

·    A successful MC12 could among other include outcomes on fisheries subsidies, agriculture, progressing in the context of the Joint Statement Initiatives and improving also  our regular work:

 

  • Starting with the Fisheries Subsidies, we need to switch to a true negotiation mode, and to this end, the EU is first of all calling on all those blocking the appointment of a new Chair to reach a compromise. We should not put in danger the substantive negotiations with a proxy debate on the new Chair.
  • With respect to agriculture, positions have not yet changed since Buenos Aires and without a substantial change of position by Members, any outcome for MC12 beyond transparency issues looks difficult. The EU remains ready to engage with those who are ready to contribute to an outcome.
  • The progress achieved since the summer break by the ongoing Joint Statement Initiatives is encouraging. More particularly, the EU wishes to encourage all participating Members to come forward with updated services schedules containing the Domestic Regulation disciplines by end of October. This would allow us to put Services Domestic Regulation on the right track for a finalization by MC12.
  • The EU continues its efforts to make regular work in the WTO more effective, in particular as regards with notification requirements and the way Members address each other's trade concerns. While this is by no means intended to distract from the bigger challenges we face, it is important to show that WTO members can improve the way in which they conduct their daily business. Together with the respective groups of co-sponsors of the notification proposal and the trade concerns proposal and all Members, we are maturing the proposals further for eventual adoption. We count on the continued engagement and political will of all Members.

·    A substantial outcome at MC12 would pave the way for a more structural and comprehensive reform of the organisation - this is the third strand. We need to reflect on the functioning of the organisation, on rules to level the playing field and on how development and special and differential treatment can contribute to development.

·    Mr. Chairman, we should not waste time. The EU is ready to engage.

 

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