Important step towards global trade agreement

‘I am delighted that the WTO members have adopted the necessary decisions on food security issues and aspects of the Trade Facilitation Agreement so that the decisions made at last year’s Ministerial Conference can now be implemented. This is very good news for world trade and could breathe new life into the Doha negotiations on a global trade agreement,’ commented Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The decision on a Protocol necessary for the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) should have been adopted in the summer. However, disagreement about another decision adopted at last year’s Ministerial Conference stood in the way. The Protocol was finally adopted on 27 November, following a breakthrough earlier in the month in the deadlocked situation between India and the US.  

‘The Trade Facilitation Agreement is very important. It can lead to economic growth and create many jobs, particularly in developing countries, and it will also be important for countries like Norway. It is a milestone for the WTO. Now that the TFA is in place, we are an important step closer to reaching a global trade agreement,’ said Mr Brende. 

The Trade Facilitation Agreement is the basis for simplifying and standardising rules and procedures that will expedite border crossings. Norway has played an important part in the drafting of the agreement, and it was Norway’s proposal that formed the basis for the discussions that led to a decision being adopted on 27 November. 

‘Now that decisions on food security and trade facilitation have been adopted, WTO members will be able to implement the full package that was agreed in Bali last year. It is important that they make use of the present momentum and return to the negotiating table to reach a global trade agreement, which the WTO has been working for in the Doha round since 2001,’ said Mr Brende. He also emphasised the importance Norway attaches to the multilateral trade regime and the need to strengthen it.