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Dismay at lack of progress to conclude TF Agreement at WTO

Last updated: 24.07.2014 // We, a group of developed and developing Members strongly supportive of the WTO, are dismayed that today’s General Council meeting did not bring Members any closer to adopting the Protocol relating to the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) by the agreed deadline.

The Bali Ministerial Conference was crucial for the WTO but it was only the first step in convincing the world that WTO Members could, after nearly 20 years, agree on and then implement outcomes in the multilateral trading system.

The package of decisions reached in Bali was finely balanced.  It reflected a consensus on the part of all WTO Members. It would not be possible to reopen one of those decisions without unravelling the entire package.  That package is central to concluding the Doha negotiations and, ultimately, to the negotiating function of the WTO.

This is why we and many other Members, recognising the benefits of WTO negotiations, have been reaffirming the need to implement what Members agreed in Bali, in the time-frame Members agreed in December 2013.

All WTO Members have committed to work constructively on all elements of the Bali package. In our view that commitment would not survive a decision to step away from any element of the package approved by Ministers in Bali, such as the adoption of the Protocol relating to the TFA.
A decision to step away would be in no one’s interest. It would seriously undermine the ability of the WTO to deliver for the future.  In practice, it would also block the new capacity building initiatives to assist WTO Members implement the TFA. The new economic growth and jobs that are expected to flow from the implementation of the TFA would not become a reality. It would fundamentally undermine the prospects for progress on the post-Bali work program for the Doha negotiations and on the other decisions that Ministers took in Bali.

Against this background, we believe all Members must redouble their efforts to find a way forward in Geneva to adopt by 31 July 2014 the Protocol relating to the TFA, as agreed in Bali.  Doing so will allow us to press ahead with the other elements of the Bali package, and put Members back on track to concluding the Doha negotiations.

Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Hong Kong China, Iceland, Korea, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam

Geneva, 24 July 2014

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