Issued by the Ministers Responsible for Trade
APEC Ministers Determined to Bring a Conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda
Arequipa, Peru, 31 May 2008
Delegates at the APEC meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) expressed their collective will to bring the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) to a successful conclusion this year. "[We] reiterate our determination to bring the Doha Development Agenda to a successful conclusion this year," they said in a statement, issued today.
While negotiations have been in progress for seven years, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General, Pascal Lamy encouraged Ministers: "The time is ripe for this final push. We are now at the tipping point. The elements are essentially there, but they need further clarification, further refinement."
APEC has been a consistent supporter of a multilateral trading system as a vehicle through which to achieve its own agenda for free trade and investment liberalization.
In addition, Ministers are convinced that "a prompt, ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Round will be one of the important factors in overcoming the serious international situation caused by the recent food price escalation."
They are however emphatic that a genuinely successful conclusion should address all modality issues, such as real improvements in market access and economic development that leads to higher standards of living - particularly for those in developing economies.
Lamy describes APEC as "a window of opportunity" and a means to addressing these modalities by June. MRT Chair, Mercedes Araoz agrees, "The DDA moving forward will support the views of APEC economies."
Substantial progress on key issues can be observed since the last meeting of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting last year in Sydney. For example, the recent release of revised negotiation texts on agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA) and Chairs' reports on services and rules are significant developments that have facilitated movement of the Round.
According to Lamy, it is the actual pace of work that is critical at this particular phase. "This needs to be seriously accelerated," he said and exhorted APEC Ministers, "... it is in your hands to send the signals needed for Doha to come to a closure now."
Ministers asserted in their official statement, "We will continue to engage actively and constructively in the negotiations in Geneva. We APEC Ministers are ready to engage to deliver expeditiously a modalities agreement. We urge other WTO Members to do the same."
The APEC MRT Statement on the DDA can be found at: http://www.apec.org/Meeting-Papers/Ministerial-Statements/Trade/2008_trade/dda_statement.aspx
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