Statement by ACP Group Coordinator on WTO issues, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica Hon. Arnaldo Brown at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, 5 December 2013, Bali – Indonesia
Mr Chairman, Ministers, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, I wish to thank the DG for the leadership in this ministerial meeting. I am pleased to join in welcoming new members who have acceded since MC9, and look forward to welcoming the Republic of Yemen, who will become the 160th WTO member during the course of this ministerial conference.
I am privileged to deliver these remarks as coordinator of the ACP Group. We reaffirm our ministerial declaration and communiqué on MC9 issued in October 2013 and our commitment to pursue a successful outcome here in Bali. We consider this to be of vital importance to the ACP member states and the WTO as a whole. We see a successful outcome in Bali as a catalyst towards a post-Bali work programme that reinvigorates the multilateral trading system and takes fully into account the development dimension.
The road to Bali was paved by a collective decision to pursue outcomes in agriculture, trade facilitation, development, and LDC issues. We have come to Bali with significance convergence on texts across all areas, but with gaps that have delayed the consensus necessary to finalise these issues. We are committed to solutions seeking engagement in order to close remaining gaps and make this ministerial truly a success for all.
Progress in key aspects of the texts before us has been achieved in part by the AC Group working with all members, especially developing countries and LDCs to build convergence particularly on Section Two on the Trade Facilitation Agreement where the special and differential treatment provisions are built in line with the mandate contained in annex d and the outcome declaration. The ACP group fully support the agreements reached on elements in the LDC package. We look forward to their incorporation in the collective decisions we will adopt at this meeting.
With respect to the post Bali agenda, our position is clear. We must reaffirm our commitment to completing the DDA and to work on the issues of special and differential treatment and development that we did not seek to address in the context of the Bali outcomes. We insist that these be given priority together with built in agenda in agriculture and LDC issues.
It is true that we have consistently allowed success to elude us when advancing the Doha Development Round, but we need not repeat that history here at MC9. While there are differing views on the consequences of not securing a package here in Bali, everyone recognises that the consequences for negotiating functions of the WTO will be significant. As developing countries commit to multilateralism and a rule-based trading system, we stand to be the most seriously affected by any setback to the system.
Bali is a watershed for the WTO. We have within our grasp an agreement and a package that could provide significant impetus for concluding the round and strengthening and enhancing the credibility of the WTO and the multilateral trading system. In keeping with our declared commitment as ministers of the ACP states we will therefore spare no effort to achieve a successful outcome here in Bali.
Mr Chairman, I request that the ACP declaration be entered into the record of this ministerial conference. I take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of the session and the people of Indonesia for the splendid hospitality they have extended to us. Thank you.
– As transcribed from WTO webcast http://mc9.wto.org