The proponent groups, each representing many WTO members, and encompassing participants from developed, developing and least-developed countries, unveiled their plans to move forward with discussions in the three areas.
Seventy-one members said they would initiate exploratory work towards future WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce, with participation open to all WTO members. Proponents said a first meeting will be held in the first quarter of 2018. Together, the group accounts for around 77 per cent of global trade.
The Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce is available here.
On investment facilitation, 70 WTO members, recognizing the links between investment, trade and development, announced plans to pursue structured discussions with the aim of developing a multilateral framework on investment facilitation. The proponents, who account for around 73 per cent of trade and 66 per cent of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), agreed to meet early in 2018 to discuss how to organize outreach activities and structured discussions on this topic. Signatories also encouraged all WTO members to actively participate in this work.
The Joint Ministerial Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development is available here.
On MSMEs, 87 WTO members accounting for around 78 per cent of world exports issued a joint statement declaring their intention to create, multilaterally, an Informal Working Group on MSMEs at the WTO that would be open to all members.
The discussion would address obstacles related to foreign trade operations that represent a significant burden for MSMEs interested in participating in international trade.
The Joint Ministerial Statement: Declaration on the Establishment of a WTO Informal Work Programme for MSMEs is available here.