Friday, 2 December 2016

DG Azevêdo: After a year of constructive debate at the WTO, work must intensify into 2017

In World Economy News 02/12/2016

‘A number of common points have emerged from my recent discussions and consultations. First, there seems to be a shared desire among members to deliver concrete results at the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11). Second, members see the importance of sustained ministerial engagement throughout the preparatory process for MC11. Third, outcomes are more likely to be achieved through incremental progress rather than major leaps. And fourth, everyone agrees on the importance of advancing the development and LDC components of any of the issues that are being discussed. I think that these elements – and others – would provide useful guidance for our work here.
‘We can look back on a very constructive year of discussion and debate. As I have said before, I can’t easily recall when we last saw this kind of dynamism and engagement at the WTO. Longstanding issues are being discussed in new ways. Other issues are also being debated. We can be pleased with the progress made and positive about the way forward. But, in order to make further progress, and with MC11 in mind, we will clearly need to intensify our work in the New Year.
‘As discussions evolve, I am hearing divergent views in many areas. I am also hearing convergent views in many areas, but with different approaches. Therefore, when we resume in 2017, I intend to start facilitating exchanges among proponents as well as delegations that have shown particular interest in specific issues. The idea would be to share views and see how we might be able to move forward.
‘I will do everything I can to help members and to facilitate this work. It’s important to stress, however, that any progress will need to be driven by members. It is up to proponents to get traction and convergence behind their priority issues. Deliverables for MC11 will be defined by how much traction and progress is achieved by proponents. So I urge members to continue talking to each other. Remain pragmatic. Remain open-minded. And be ready to intensify work in the New Year.’
Many members took the floor at the meeting to give their views on a variety of issues and on potential ways forward. As some members were still waiting to speak, the meeting will reconvene on Monday 5 December to allow the discussion to continue.

Source: WTO – World Trade Organization