Norway's Statement at WTO Ministerial Conference

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Mr Chairman, Ministers, Excellencies – Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Ministerial comes at a crucial juncture – with the global economy, multilateral cooperation and the Doha Development Agenda all at crossroads.

The multilateral trading system has served Norway well as a bulwark against protectionism and as a basis for growth and welfare. We are fortunate to have this architecture firmly in place as the global economy is thrown into disarray.

Turning to protectionist measures in this situation would be a major mistake – with devastating consequences for multilateral cooperation, economic growth and development, not least for the poor. Ten years after Doha, in the midst of complexities, let us recall that the prime purpose of this round is development.

We are pleased that all Members underscore the vital role of WTO in the fight against all forms of protectionism while recognizing the rights and obligations of Members. In this spirit, Norway is pleased to join a group of Members in a strong pledge against protectionism.

Norway reaffirms its commitment to the rules, obligations and decision making authority of the WTO. We welcome Russia, Montenegro, Samoa, and Vanuatu into this organisation.

Mr Chairman,

Ten years of negotiations without agreeing means ten years of not delivering on the development promise. While members remain committed to the Doha mandate, we differ on how much, how fast and for whom.

The key question is how a changing world should be reflected in the distribution of rights and obligations between Members.

Norway stands by the Doha mandate, and wishes to see the single undertaking succeed. This should not dissuade us to consider whether several smaller steps rather than one giant leap could build momentum. We are ready to explore new approaches to overcome stalemates in market access negotiations.

WTO should continue to be a place for ambitious endeavours. Let me mention a few:

We need to step up our efforts to deliver on our promises to LDCs.
We must maintain Aid for Trade commitments. Norway will increase its contribution to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund by 50 percent.
We need to address food price volatility and food security; starting with how export restrictions create challenges for humanitarian food aid.
We need to develop ambitious, effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies that contribute to the depletion of marine resources.
We must see to it that the multilateral trading system and agreements on climate change remain mutually supportive.
We will look forward to the moment when issues related to the social dimension and decent work will be put on our post-Doha agenda.

 
Colleagues,

Succeeding will require political dedication. This is a ministerial responsibility. My last remark is this; we should adapt our decision-shaping to realities of a multipolar world. Most of us organize part of our interest in interest groups – we are a collection of G-affiliations. I believe we need to work across the trenches – beyond groups of G-4, -5, -20, -33 and -90 - to build trust and explore how much we have at stake together.

The history of this organisation is filled with examples of courage and leadership. We will all have to do our part, but we also expect the major players to provide leadership at this crucial juncture.

 

 

 

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