GIS –December 6, 2013: Market opening and multilateral rule making based on consensus are essential elements of good economic governance which guarantee balanced and equitable outcomes, stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Dr Arvin Boolell, on 4 December 2013 in Indonesia.
The Minister was speaking at the 9th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference being held from 3 to 6 December 2013 in Bali, Indonesia.
In his address, Dr Boolell stressed the need to ensure that the WTO remains the global trade rule making body. We must adopt flexible approaches and look at the common good rather than at individual benefits if we are to succeed, he said.
Minister Boolell recalled that agreement has been reached on the three pillars of a balanced outcome, namely development, agriculture, and trade facilitation. For him, the achievement of this balance must ensure that development partners take binding commitments to provide financial assistance and capacity building to implement trade facilitation measures.
On food security, the Minister regretted the fact that this issue is not being addressed in a manner that will lead to a comprehensive and permanent solution. Food security impacts directly on poor farmers and on net food importing developing countries many of which are small island developing states, he pointed out. The proposal of the G33 on public stock-holding will neither divert trade nor have a trade distorting effect and therefore we need to find a permanent solution that will address realities on the ground, stated Dr Boolell.
The Minister also expressed the deep concern of Mauritius as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) over the lack of progress on the work programme for small and vulnerable economies.
He called for intensification of work, including on the issue of a dedicated aid for trade envelope for SIDS and also reiterated our request for the recognition of SIDS as a specific category at the WTO.
About the WTO and the Ministerial Conference
The WTO is a rules-based, member-driven organisation — all decisions are made by the member governments, and the rules are the outcome of negotiations among members.
The Ministerial Conference is the topmost decision-making body of the WTO which usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.
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