Azevêdo invited to participate in informal meeting of African ministers
At the invitation of Egypt’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo participated in an informal meeting of African ministers on 18 January in Cairo to discuss the WTO’s work in 2015. At the end of the meeting, the ministers issued the following press statement.
Ministers from Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Senegal met in Cairo to discuss the multilateral trading system and the path forward in 2015 to the 10th Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation that will be held in December 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Ministers welcomed the presence of the WTO Director General, Ambassador Roberto Azevedo, invited to participate at the meeting.
Ministers agreed that current conditions in the global economy underscore the vital importance of the multilateral trading system as an engine for economic growth and development. Africa is a key beneficiary of a strong and functioning multilateral trading system.
Ministers agreed that to strengthen the system the Doha Development Agenda remained a critical element in the work of the WTO. They committed to work towards the development of a work program by mid-year that would consolidate the outstanding issues in the Bali agenda and establish a Road Map to ensure the conclusion of the Doha Round. Agriculture and development issues, including for LDCs and cotton, would be critical in defining a path forward – but all issues in the DDA need to be part of the discussion.
Ministers called for all members to be open-minded and show the necessary political commitment to ensure positive and substantive results, including on issues of interest to Africa. Development, after all, remains the key driving force behind the Doha negotiations.
To advance work, Ministers agreed it would be necessary for all WTO members to show the necessary flexibility to move work forward.
Ministers welcomed the dialogue with the WTO Director-General and agreed that this should continue as work progresses. The Director-General briefed Ministers on developments in Geneva, including the work to advance all Doha issues as well as to implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and to advance work on the WTO decision on public stockholding and all other Bali decisions.
The Ministers agreed to also reach out to other African countries to brief them on this meeting and to encourage all of Africa’s engagement on these important issues.
Ministers reiterated their strong support to the Government of Kenya as Chair of the 10th Ministerial Conference. They were determined to work with Kenya to ensure that the Ministerial Conference, the first to be held on the African continent, will be a “roaring” success that delivers strong outcomes for Africa and for development.
Ministers also thanked the Government of Egypt and in particular the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour for hosting the meeting.