Doha Development Agenda Nairobi, 14 December 2015
10th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Nairobi – 15-18 December 2015
The 10th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC10) marked the 20th anniversary of the organisation and was the first to be held in Africa.
It was a decisive crossroads for the multilateral rules-based trading system and delivered a landmark deal that is good for fairer global trade and good for development. The Ministerial also saw the finalisation of the review of the 1996 Information Technology Agreement, which when implemented will remove duties on €1.2 trillion in trade.
The work concentrated on:
Selected issues of the Doha Development agenda
Preparations for MC10 focused on a selected number of issues that are part of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), the multilateral round of negotiations launched in 2001. In particular, they concentrated on export competition in trade in agricultural products and a number of other issues important to least-developed countries (LDCs).
DDA issues on which agreement was reached include:
- Stopping the use of subsidies and other schemes unfairly supporting agricultural exports
- Ensuring that food aid for developing countries is given in a way which does not distort local markets
- Seeking to simplify the conditions that exporters from the poorest countries have to meet, so that their products benefit from trade agreements (so-called rules of origin)
- Giving more opportunities for businesses from the poorest countries to provide services in the WTO's 164 member countries.
Future WTO work
The Ministerial Declaration issued at the end of the Conference included elements to set the direction of the WTO’s work. Divergences of view amongst Member made it impossible to agree on a firm basis for work in 2016.
The EU remains committed to keeping the multilateral trading system at the centre of international trade policy. In order to maintain and strengthen the relevance of the WTO as a trade negotiating forum, it will be necessary to rethink the way in which the WTO takes decisions and possibly discuss fresh approaches and new topics in the near future.
Accessions to the WTO
MC10 was also be the occasion to formalise the accessions of two least-developed countries – Liberia and Afghanistan – to the WTO. This will bring the total number of WTO members to 164, and reconfirmed the relevance of the WTO.
Financial support to the poorest trading nations
The EU and some EU Member States also announced their pledges for the phase II of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), the multi-stakeholder partnership aimed at supporting LDCs to mainstream trade into their national development plans and implement priority trade projects.
Implementing new and existing WTO rules
The EU presented its commitments on technical-assistance for implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement agreed two years ago at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali. The EU ratified the Agreement in October 2015 and is encouraging other WTO Members to do so as swiftly as possible so that the Agreement can become operational without delay.
WTO members took decisions on:
- extending the e-commerce moratorium. In other words, they will commit themselves not to impose customs duties on electronic transmissions
- the moratorium on so-called ‘non-violation and situation complaints’ related to intellectual property rights.
During the Conference, representatives of EU civil society organisations received daily updates on the state of play of negotiations.