The Director-General said:

“We are doing all we can to support efforts to ease tensions, avoid further escalation and identify potential solutions. Bilateral efforts will be important here – but so too is pursuing resolution at the global level, through the WTO. It is positive that members remain strongly engaged here and are using the system to discuss concerns and bring disputes where necessary. I urge members to use all means at their disposal to help work through existing differences. This is in the interests of all our economies, businesses and citizens. We need to see more dialogue, at all levels.”

“It seems that 2019 is going to be a very busy year for all of us,” he said, setting out that in the New Year members would be stepping up preparations for the 12th Ministerial Conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, and seeking to push forward negotiations in all areas, and particularly where there are pending deadlines, such as fisheries subsidies.

He added:

“We must keep pursuing all of this work, even as we respond to the systemic issues before us. We have begun to respond to these issues in a very concrete way, but there is still much to do. We need to redouble our efforts on this front. And we must aim to turn the challenges that we face into an opportunity to renew and to strengthen the WTO for the years to come.”

DG Azevedo also updated members on efforts to resolve the impasse in the appointments to the Appellate Body. He urged members to urgently address this systemic risk, and said that he would be further increasing his own efforts to help members find solutions.




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