Statement on Supporting the Multilateral Trading System and the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference
1. We join in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Asia Pacific has been one of the fastest-growing trading regions, benefiting significantly from the stability and predictability of the multilateral trading system. In this regard, we reaffirm the value, centrality and primacy of the multilateral trading system under the auspices of the WTO. We will continue to work closely together to strengthen the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO.
2. The WTO’s achievements have contributed significantly to our economic dynamism and resiliency in the past twenty years. Within the established framework of the multilateral trading system, we commit APEC to continuing to support the effectiveness of the WTO and the further promotion of its objectives for the benefit of all.
3. We are committed to working together for a successful Nairobi Ministerial Meeting that has a balanced set of outcomes, including on the Doha Development Agenda, and provides clear guidance to post-Nairobi work. As on previous occasions, we will provide the necessary political impetus to achieve these outcomes. We instruct our Ministers to engage actively and constructively in the discussions, with the objective of achieving concrete, meaningful, balanced and development-oriented outcomes.
4 . The early entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which was approved as part of the 2013 Bali Package achieved at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, would make a significant contribution to the sustainability of global trade and highlight the value of the WTO to its stakeholders around the world. In this regard, we recognize the leadership of APEC Economies, with more than half of them having ratified the TFA to date. We call upon the remaining APEC Economies to do so as soon as possible, ideally before MC10.
5. We also welcome the decision by WTO Members, which clarifies the interim mechanism agreed by Ministers in Bali, to engage constructively to negotiate and make all concerted efforts to agree and adopt a permanent solution on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes by 31 December 2015. We are encouraged by the progress in the implementation of other Bali decisions, and engage to continue to pursue their full implementation.
6. Recognizing the importance of facilitating access to medicines as set out in the Paragraph 6 System, we urge all WTO Members to accept the Protocol Amending the TRIPS Agreement. Entry into force of the Protocol by MC10 would also demonstrate the potential of the WTO to deliver practical, development-oriented outcomes.
7. We reaffirm our pledges against all forms of protectionism, through our commitment to a standstill until the end of 2018, and to roll back protectionist and trade-distorting measures. We recognize the need to exert further efforts to comply with this commitment. We remain committed to exercising maximum restraint in implementing measures that may be consistent with WTO provisions but have a significant protectionist effect, and to promptly rectifying such measures, where implemented.
8. We acknowledge that bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade agreements can play an important role in complementing global liberalization initiatives. We will continue to work together to ensure that they are consistent with WTO agreements and contribute to strengthening the multilateral trading system.
- 8.1 We therefore welcome the agreement reached on product coverage in the Information Technology Agreement expansion negotiations, and we welcome the efforts by participating members to conclude the negotiations on staging timeframes before MC10. APEC ITA expansion participants agree to work together to achieve broader participation in this Agreement.
- 8.2 We also welcome the recent progress made in the Environmental Goods Agreement which include a number of APEC Economies and we welcome the efforts by participating members to achieve meaningful progress by MC10.
- 8.3 We likewise take note of efforts to explore possibilities of factoring into the multilateral negotiations possible contributions by participants in concluded plurilateral ITA expansion and EGA initiatives.
9. Under APEC’s theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World”, we welcome the successful 5th Global Review of the Aid for Trade Initiative. We urge the WTO to continue its work in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth, including through initiatives for the increased participation of MSMEs in regional and global markets. In the same spirit, APEC will continue to contribute to this objective building on the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs.
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