Ambassador Chenggang Li of China, the Chair of the meeting, commended the progress made in finalizing the revised ministerial statement and the factual compilation document, which consists of trade-related practices already being adopted to tackle plastics pollution. The text demonstrates the co-sponsors' collective commitment to ensuring that MC13 achieves an important milestone in the Plastics Pollution Dialogue, he said.

Ambassador Li further called for solidarity and cooperation among members in the lead-up to and after MC13 to enhance the WTO's contributions to addressing the global challenge of plastics pollution. Additionally, he announced that the Ministerial Statement will be issued at a press conference at MC13.

Ambassador Omar Zniber of Morocco, a coordinator of the talks, reiterated the importance of WTO members addressing the 21st-century challenge of plastics pollution, given that the UN estimates 19% of greenhouse gas emissions will stem from plastic by 2040. He stated that the revised statement carefully reflects all suggestions from over 600 comments made by more than 50 members. The statement underscores the enhanced cooperation between the Dialogue and ongoing international processes, notably the synergy with the work at the United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastics pollution.

Rebecca Barton, Counsellor of the Australian Mission, also a coordinator, reviewed the substantial technical discussions conducted by the Dialogue in 2023, including multiple workshops and surveys. These activities laid the foundation for the factual compilation to be issued alongside the statement. She also drew attention to the Dialogue's engagement with the World Customs Organization on amending the Harmonized System (HS) used for the classification of traded goods to enable better tracking of trade in plastic goods.

Daniela Garcia, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Ecuadorian mission, another coordinator, emphasized the delicate balance struck by the new text. This reflects tremendous work and an inclusive consultation process engaging all participants of the Dialogue, she said. The text sends a clear signal that trade could be a significant contributor to concrete solutions in the face of the pressing challenges of plastics pollution, she added.

Ambassador Zniber and Ms Barton highlighted some key changes made in the new version of the text. Notably, there is clarification on certain language to avoid misinterpretation, and the compilation document is recognized as a “living” document subject to further changes.

Co-sponsors and stakeholders participating in the meeting, including representatives of international organizations, welcomed the progress made in the latest version of the statement, praising the very good balance of the text. WTO delegations welcomed that the text captured “the perspectives of members.”

Some members pointed out the need to maintain the high level of ambition of the Dialogue and one member asked for future work to take account of the needs of land-locked developing countries. There was also a call to intensify work after MC13, including the design of a work plan for concrete actions in the follow-up to the MC13 Ministerial Statement. Stakeholders praised the intense, inclusive and constructive work of the Dialogue, highlighting that it showed the way for the WTO to make concrete contributions to addressing plastic pollution.

Concluding the meeting, the coordinators expressed appreciation for the encouraging feedback and constructive engagement by delegations and stakeholders. They declared the current text as “stabilized” following extensive consultations. Further guidance on the path towards MC13 will be provided soon.

Currently, 76 WTO members are participating in the Plastics Pollution Dialogue, representing 85% of global trade volume. Additional information about the Dialogue can be found on its dedicated webpage here.




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