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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
10 January 2018
Volume 634

Written Statement

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Foreign Affairs (Trade): Post-Council Statement

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The EU Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) met twice in Buenos Aires during the 11th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The first meeting of the FAC (Trade) took place on 10 December before the formal opening of the WTO ministerial. The second meeting of the FAC (Trade) took place on 13 December just before the conclusion of the ministerial. At both meetings, the Council adopted conclusions. Both sets of conclusions are available as an attachment online.

At the ministerial conference WTO members committed to securing a deal on disciplining certain forms of fisheries subsidies by the end of 2019. They also committed to improve the reporting of existing fisheries subsidy programmes. In addition, Ministers decided to extend the practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions for another two years, and to continue negotiations in all areas. In addition, WTO members agreed to the creation of the working party on accession for South Sudan.

The ministerial met key UK objectives by setting the foundation for discussions on a number of new issues. A significant number of WTO members agreed to advance discussions on: digital trade, domestic regulation in services, SMEs, and investment facilitation. The UK will work closely with the EU and other WTO members to ensure that the momentum behind these initiatives is maintained in 2018.

At the 11th WTO ministerial conference, 118 WTO members adopted a joint declaration on trade and women’s economic empowerment, committing to promote women’s economic empowerment through trade. The UK supported this initiative.

Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-01-10/HCWS396/

[HCWS396]