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Norway’s new Ambassador to the WTO and EFTA arrives in Geneva

Last updated: 11.09.2013 // H.E. Mr Harald Neple is Norway’s new Ambassador to the World Trade Organization and the European Free Trade Association.

- This is the beginning of a highly challenging and exciting period as Ambassador to the WTO and EFTA here in Geneva. The WTO is an important organization for Norway. As the custodian of the Multilateral Trading System, the organization is crucial to a small and open economy such as ours. The WTO is unique in the sense that the Dispute Settlement system actually ensures that the Members comply with the rules. The WTO Members also negotiate multilateral market access as well as strengthening of existing rules, Neple said.

The main focus this autumn will be the preparations for the Ministerial Conference in Bali in December.

- The aim is to reach concrete results on the three areas of Trade Facilitation, Development and certain elements of Agriculture. These areas represent only a small part of the Doha-round of negotiations, which have been running since 2001.

Trade Facilitation is in essence an agreement which aims to cut the “red tape” for exporters and importers and makes trade across borders easier, cheaper and faster. In Agriculture the WTO Members are trying to find a solution for developing countries on the verge of non-compliance with their WTO commitments, due to price increases in food staples. In addition the Members of the WTO are negotiating strengthened rules, including Special and Differential provisions, for developing countries, and LDCs in particular.

- I look forward to an intense and demanding period leading up to the Ministerial Conference, and I am confident that the results we can achieve will be of significant value to Norway, our industry, and for developing countries, and LDCs in particular, said Ambassador Neple. 

EFTA is another important organization for Norway. First and foremost this is a venue for negotiating free-trade agreements and thus creating market access for Norwegian industry.

- It is especially important that our industry obtains the same market access as our competitors from the EU. The EFTA States are also keeping a close eye on the EU-US talks on a free-trade agreement, Ambassador Neple said.






Norway’s new Ambassador to the WTO and EFTA, H.E. Mr Harald Neple, presented his credentials to the WTO’s new Director General Roberto Azevedo Tuesday 10 September. Photo: Fernando Perenzin/WTO

Please click here for Ambassador Neple’s CV


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