, PARIS, France, Jun5 – Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has urged negotiators in the ongoing World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks to maintain pragmatism and transparency in order to ensure the outcome of the main conference in Nairobi contains benefits for all WTO members.
The Cabinet Secretary was speaking on Thursday in Paris, France, where she co-chaired the informal meeting of WTO Trade Ministers with Australian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Ciobo.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Council meeting.
“We need to establish a process that inspires confidence with the clear understanding that the outcome of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC10) in Nairobi must reflect pragmatism and realism and not anyone’s wish list,” said Mohamed.
The Cabinet Secretary urged African countries to be actively involved in the ongoing negotiations and to support trade multilateralism in order to ensure the success of the first WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Africa.
“Africa must accept and share the responsibility of multilateralism and own MC10. They must not find themselves on the outside looking in,” she said.
The CS stressed Africa’s fundamental commitment to trade multilateralism saying that the Nairobi preparatory process should be used to advance multilateralism and strengthen the WTO as the engine of the rules-based multilateral trading system.
“For Africa, for us, it is multilateralism first and last. We want to see the WTO more relevant, stronger and the first point of reference in writing non-discriminatory multilateral trade rules,” added Mohamed.
The Cabinet Secretary said a successful outcome in the Conference to be held in Nairobi in December should include a post-Bali/Nairobi work programme that is realistic, balanced and which modernizes the WTO negotiating agenda and puts the WTO back in centre field.
“The work programme should be substantively robust, reflect the fundamentals in the Doha agenda as well as issues that will ensure that the WTO is relevant and adaptable,” said Mohamed.
“The outcome of MC10 should include an outcome on cotton and an understanding on food security; services; NAMA; trade and environment; fishery subsidies; an expanded information technology agreement and a package for LDCs,” added the CS.
The Cabinet Secretary further stressed the need for countries to mobilize in order to meet the 2/3 membership threshold required to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement by end of November this year.
The CS who is chair of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference by virtue of being the host assured Ministers of the safety and the well-being of all participants once in Nairobi in December.