Minister Freeland welcomes progress on multilateral trade negotiations at 10th WTO Ministerial Conference

December 19, 2015 - Nairobi, Kenya - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, today concluded her participation in meetings at the 10th Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Nairobi, where she underlined the importance of the multilateral trading system and met with a number of her international counterparts to advance Canada’s trade interests.

Canada supported the WTO's adoption of an expanded Information Technology Agreement that will eliminate tariffs on 201 information technology products that account for 10 percent of global trade.

Canada also supported a package to help least-developed countries better integrate into the global trading system.

On agriculture, the WTO agreed to the elimination of export subsidies, tougher rules on international food aid and stricter rules on export credits and guarantees. While Canada was prepared to support a more ambitious outcome, it is pleased with the commitment on negotiations to address all remaining distortions to agricultural trade.

While at MC10, Minister Freeland urged members to consider new approaches to WTO negotiations and to address emerging trade issues, including investment, competition policy and the digital economy.

Minister Freeland also reiterated the importance of the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism, which ensures enforcement of international trade rules covered by WTO agreements. Yesterday, the United States passed a bill to repeal Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) for beef and pork, which discriminated against Canadian livestock. The WTO ruled that COOL was a violation of the United States’ international trade obligations.

While at MC10, Minister Freeland met with a number of trade counterparts, including those from the European Union and key member states, to discuss next steps towards ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

At MC10, WTO members welcomed Kazakhstan as its 162nd member and concluded accession negotiations for two more future members—Liberia and Afghanistan.

Quotes

“Canada is a big proponent of the multilateral trading system and sought an ambitious outcome in these WTO negotiations. We welcome the progress made at MC10. Building on this success, we encourage members to reflect on the Nairobi results and to consider how the WTO can best keep pace with the needs and challenges of today's trade realities.”

- Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade

Quick facts

  • MC10 is the first WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Africa.
  • On the margins of the conference, Minister Freeland made several funding announcements to help developing countries, including:
    • $10 million to help developing countries implement the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement;
    • $13.6 million to help small and medium-sized enterprises in Ukraine access Canadian and global markets;
    • $15 million to provide opportunities for Tanzania’s poorest and most vulnerable people by fostering a better environment for small and medium-sized enterprises; and
    • $19.5 million to help Kenya’s poorest and most vulnerable people benefit from the country’s growing resource-based economy.

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