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Trade Foreign Affairs Council and WTO Ministerial Conference

Volume 571: debated on Thursday 28 November 2013

My noble Friend the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, has made the following statement:

The Trade Foreign Affairs Council will take place in Nusa Dua, Bali on 3 December 2013. The Council meeting is being held in the margins of the ninth WTO ministerial conference which is being held from 3 to 6 December 2013. I will be representing the UK at both and I will be acting as a vice-chair at the ministerial conference.

The Trade Foreign Affairs Council is being held in the margins of the WTO conference to allow any essential business pertaining to the conference to be finalised.

Negotiations are under way on a set of deliverables that could be agreed at the ministerial conference. Some of these form part of the Doha development agenda (DDA) and if agreed, would constitute the first multilateral agreement for 20 years. Some non-DDA issues are also likely to be agreed at the conference for example, the secession of Yemen to the WTO.

The Government’s objectives for the conference are to:

Reiterate our commitment to the multilateral trading system by pushing for an ambitious and balanced outcome to the conference.

Support a political understanding on the text of an ambitious and legally binding trade facilitation agreement.

Support agreement on a limited number of agricultural issues which would be of benefit to developing and least developed countries.

Support the establishment of the monitoring mechanism for special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries.

Support the WTO ministerial decisions on: the operationalisation of the services waiver for least developed countries; preferential rules of origin for least developed countries and cotton.

Support the extension of the moratorium on charging customs duties on electronic transmissions and the extension of the moratorium on bringing non-violation and situation complaints under the trade related aspects of intellectual property agreement.

Welcome the accession of Yemen to the WTO.