Norway has participated actively in formal and informal discussions under para 31(i), with a basis in our own submission TN/TE/W/25 from 20 February 2003. Our latest formal statement under this agenda point in the Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Environment was made on 18 July 2007:
First of all, the Norwegian delegation would like to congratulate you on your appointment of chairman to CTE-SS, and look forward to a fruitful and constructive cooperation.
We have discussed this agenda item for several years. Norway agrees with those who feel that our discussions should now be concluded. Preferably this should take the form of a ministerial declaration setting out conclusions that have emerged from our
Norway has always been of the opinion that any outcome of negotiations on 31(i) must be based faithfully on the Doha mandate. Important points in this regard are that the mandate is limited to the applicability of WTO rules to specific trade obligations as among parties to an MEA. Furthermore, the negotiations are not to prejudice WTO rights of non-parties to the MEA in question. These elements of the mandate impose some limitations on what can be achieved under our present negotiations.
There are other aspects of the WTO/MEAs relationship that could also be interesting to explore. Some of these aspects were discussed during pre-Doha deliberations of the CTE. At the present stage, however, we have to focus on fulfilling our task in the Doha round according to the present mandate.
In a ministerial declaration, Norway feels that we should be reaffirming such basic principles as no hierarchy and mutual supportiveness. The WTO agreements and MEAs are equal bodies of international law. They are responsible and competent for issues falling within their respective primary areas of competence. They should also be mutually supportive and contribute to agreed goals set by the international community, including the objective of sustainable development, as also stated in the preamble to the agreement establishing the WTO.
A ministerial declaration could also confirm that the relationship between these agreements seems to be working well. To ensure that this continues to be the case, and in order to enhance the mutually supportive relationship between them in order to achieve sustainable development, a declaration could emphasize the importance of dialogue at all levels between trade and environment officials and institutions, in particular at the national level.
Finally, a ministerial declaration could reaffirm that disputes between MEA parties over specific trade obligations are unlikely to occur in the WTO, and that while WTO members have the right to bring such disputes to the WTO, they should try to resolve them through the dispute settlement mechanism available under the MEA in question.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.