Since the General Council on Tuesday 26 November, Members have been meeting to attempt to resolve specific outstanding issues before the Ministerial Conference in Bali next week (3-6 December).
In an initiative between the LDC Group and some key stakeholders significant progress has been made over the last two days. This morning they invited the Director-General, Robert Azevêdo, to join their meeting, where they informed him of this breakthrough. They told the Director-General that Section Two of the Trade Facilitation text is now largely stabilised and that this resolves all of their outstanding issues with the package. They said that the LDCs are now calling wholeheartedly for a deal to be reached in Bali and for other Members to resolve any remaining issues which stand in the way.
The Acting Coordinator of the LDC Group, H.E. Ambassador Mosé of the Solomon Islands, said:
“The Least-Developed Countries are looking up to the entire WTO membership to make all efforts to conclude the Bali package without delay, thus contributing to the development of the most disadvantaged peoples of the world”.
Welcoming the breakthrough the Director-General said:
“This is an important step forward. I am delighted that the LDCs and the other parties have come to an agreement. Section two of the Trade Facilitation text now has only very minor issues remaining. Of course the changes to the text will have to be brought to the wider membership for their approval, but I am confident that members will accept them on the basis that the LDCs are fully satisfied with this outcome.”
“Members are responding to the call to work together to resolve outstanding issues and to show political will. We should take heart from this. I have received messages today from the coordinators of the African Group and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group strongly supporting this progress and calling on Members to deliver in Bali. This package is not about developed versus developing – the overwhelming majority of the developing world is urging the Bali package across the finish line. Indeed, commitment to reach a successful conclusion exists throughout the Membership. ”
“Because of this progress we will arrive in Bali with better momentum and a positive spirit. I congratulate the LDCs for their work, and urge all Members to use every last minute between now and the Ministerial Conference to resolve the remaining issues.”
The coordinator of the Africa Group, H.E. Mr Omar Hilale, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, said:
“The Africa Group welcomes this good news and we reaffirm our strong commitment to achieving a Bali package.”
The coordinator of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group, H.E. Mr Wayne McCook, Ambassador of Jamaica, said:
“The ACP welcomes the agreement reached by LDCs and key partners on all outstanding LDC specific elements of the section two of the Trade Facilitation text. This clears the way for more determined efforts to close remaining gaps in the Bali package and ensure the success of the Bali Ministerial based on agreed outcomes in development, trade facilitation and agriculture.”
Together these three groups are known as the G-90. Full membership lists for each of these groups are available here.