WTO head presses for implementation of Bali, Doha agreements
GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 9, CMC – The director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Roberto Azevêdo, has urged member-states to make 2014 the year to implement “Bali and put Doha back on track” for the benefit of all, including Caribbean countries.
At the first meeting of WTO ambassadors after the 9th Ministerial Conference, Azevêdo told the Trade Negotiations Committee that “Bali represents not just a huge achievement for all of us but also a huge opportunity.
“There is real political momentum, and we must build on it,” he said, referring to the meeting in Indonesia.
He said he had asked the chairs of the negotiating groups to “start a dialogue with members on (Doha Round) issues that we may be able to take forward”.
“After an 18 year drought, Bali proved that the WTO can deliver negotiated outcomes,” Azevêdo said.
“It delivered significant gains for the global economy and particularly for our developing and least-developed members,” he added. “And it moved the spotlight back onto us here in Geneva.”
But the WTO director general warned that “Bali has not finished the job,” stating that “we have two very significant tasks before us.
“First and foremost, we need to implement the decisions and agreements reached in Bali,” he said. “Second, the Bali Declaration instructs us to prepare a clearly defined work program on the remaining Doha Development Agenda issues by the end of 2014.
“And we should remember that the Bali Declaration instructs that those areas where decisions were non-binding in nature must be a priority in our post-Bali work,” he added. “We must keep a relentless focus on these issues.
“We must work together to keep up the momentum and the pressure that allowed us to reach a successful outcome in the first place,” Azevêdo continued.
He said the Bali decision on Trade Facilitation calls on the Committee to carry out three immediate tasks – undertaking a legal review of the agreement; drafting a protocol of amendment to include the Trade Facilitation Agreement in Annex IA of the WTO Agreement and receiving notifications of Category A .
“2014 should be the year that we implement our first negotiated outcomes — and the year that the Doha Round is put back on track,” he stressed. “It will not be easy, but it is achievable.
“We all have a role to play. Every voice will be heard. And I hope that together we can capitalise on the success in Bali, and seize the opportunity that it has provided,” Azevêdo added.
FOR MORE STORIES WATCH: