Ladies and gentlemen of the press,

Good morning.

For those of you who have travelled here to Kenya for this, the Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference, welcome to Nairobi.

For my friends from the Kenyan press, it is a pleasure to have you here today. I hope you are equally as excited as I am for the week ahead.

I am proud and honoured for Kenya to be hosting this, the Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference. I would like to welcome the Director General of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo and the WTO Secretariat to Nairobi and thank them for all their hard work in the weeks and months leading up to MC10.

The Multilateral Trading System (MTS), as represented by the World Trade Organisation, must be recognized for the valuable contribution that it has made to the growth and stability of many of the world’s economies over the past 20 years of the WTO’s existence.

2015 has been a momentous year for multilateral engagement. The recent success in Paris to agree a global deal to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change must provide the WTO Membership with inspiration to end 2015 on a high note.

MC10 offers an opportunity for the WTO Membership to reflect on how to further strengthen and preserve a system that has served us so ably.

I believe Nairobi offers a unique opportunity that we must seize.

As Chair of the Conference, I have strongly urged all Members to further reflect upon their positions and show flexibility for a positive outcome here in Nairobi.

I will continue to work tirelessly to do so.

Being the first WTO Ministerial Conference on the African continent, the Nairobi Ministerial Conference must be a success, for Africa, for development, for all Members and for the global economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe that the WTO is at a crossroads.

Over the coming days, this gathering of Trade Ministers has a decision we need to collectively make. We face a clear choice.

Whether we will reinvigorate the negotiating function of the organization and work to progress with issues of interest to all Members or have the stasis which has plagued the Doha negotiations for the past 15 years becomes further entrenched.

Either way, the character of the Organisation will be fundamentally changed after this Ministerial Conference.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must recognize that the structure of global production is being transformed – a single finished product often results from manufacturing and assembly in multiple countries and with many associated services. Each step in the process adds value to the end product. Global value chains have therefore created enormous trade opportunities for both developed and developing countries and have become a powerful driver of productivity growth, job creation, and improved living standards.

This is not to say that the core issues which have been under negotiation as part of the Doha Round are not important: Agriculture, NAMA, Development, Rules and Services et cetera.

They remain important and they will continue to be. Indeed, agriculture plays a fundamental role in many of the world’s economy and we must do all we can to ensure that these issues are addressed.

But the world isn’t waiting for our organization.

It is my sincere hope that all WTO Members will be able to come together and map a way forward for this organization which plays such an important role in the global economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We also need to embrace, with a sense of urgency, the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement as it will streamline customs processes. I am extremely proud that Kenya has signed its Instrument of Acceptance just one week ago, it demonstrates the determination Kenya has to strengthen the Multilateral Trading System.

I continue to urge our partners to join us in making advances that will see the speedy entry into force of the TFA.

Thank you.


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