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Regional officials prepare for WTO ministerial conference

1 November 2017

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) in collaboration with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Secretariat have jointly organised a Regional Preparatory Workshop in Nadi, Fiji, from 1-3 November 2017 for the six Pacific WTO Member countries, namely - Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

“This Workshop provides a valuable opportunity for the Pacific WTO Members to enhance their understanding of the negotiations and to engage constructively, and prepare for upcoming WTO 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) in December, to ensure meaningful outcomes” Mr Shiu Raj, Director Programmes & Initiatives at the PIFS said.

At the MC10 in Nairobi in 2015, WTO Members made a commitment to advancing negotiations in the remaining areas of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations which include Agriculture, Non-Agriculture Market Access (NAMA) or industrial goods, Services, Rules (which include Fisheries Subsidies), Development and Trade -related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The MC11 is expected to make decisions and give further guidance on the DDA negotiations.

“The Fisheries Subsidies negotiation is amongst the most advanced, and is considered one of the important deliverables for MC11. Fisheries is a significant economic sector for the Pacific Island Countries who need to ensure that decisions taken at MC11 support their fisheries development and management efforts,” Mr Raj added. “MC11 will be an important Conference for the Pacific Island Countries given the likely outcome on fisheries subsidies and the importance of meeting the SDG target 14.6.” Mr Raj said.

Experts from the WTO Secretariat, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and PIFS are supporting the Members in their discussions and deliberations to establish Pacific position on various areas of negotiations for the MC11.

Participants at the workshop comprise senior government officials from the Ministries of Trade, Agriculture, Fisheries, and E-Commerce.

The WTO Members are intensifying negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland, to prepare final negotiating elements for Ministerial consideration at MC11.

Regional officials will discuss the main areas that are under active negotiations namely, Agriculture, Fisheries Subsidies, Development and Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT), and Emerging trade issues such as Digital Economy and E-commerce of direct relevance to the Pacific region.

The full statement delivered at the opening of the workshop by Mr Raj is on the Forum Secretariat website: www.forumsec.org

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