Current portal location

Website content

News archive

The EU and the WTO | Buenos Aires, Argentina, 13 December 2017

WTO meeting in Buenos Aires: A missed opportunity

Participating at the final session of the 11th biannual ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström expressed her disappointment at the failure of the Ministerial Conference to deliver any multilateral outcomes.

All WTO Members have to face a simple fact: we failed to achieve all our objectives, and did not achieve any multilateral outcome. The sad reality is that we did not even agree to stop subsidizing illegal fishing. Now, I hope that several WTO members, whose actions here in Buenos Aires prevented an outcome, will use the time following this Ministerial meeting for valuable self-reflection”, Malmström said.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, said:

From the agriculture perspective, It is very disappointing that a work programme could not be agreed post Buenos Aires. That means that important issues such as food security will not now be prioritised in the work of the WTO. This is not in the interest of farmers and rural people in the developing world, nor in the developed world for that matter. This is a lose-lose outcome for all involved - a negative-sum outcome. The WTO is not a zero sum game, it is a positive-sum game when everyone plays their part”.

Commissioner Malmström underlined that the work of the WTO continues and that many members recognised its central role to global trade and development.

Luckily, we still have the WTO's current agreements, its structures of cooperation, and its invaluable dispute settlement system. It is a global public good, and the EU attaches enormous value to it. In the coming months, we will do what is necessary to support it if it comes under further pressure. We also need to intensify efforts to find solutions to important issues in the international trading system, such as on e-commerce, working with all willing WTO members in an open, inclusive and transparent manner”, she said.

Running up to the conference, the EU challenged its WTO partners to plan for substantive outcomes in Buenos Aires, with text proposals in six areas of work.

Read Cecilia Malmström’s statement in the final meeting of the Heads of Delegations.