SPEECHES — DG ROBERTO AZEVÊDO

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  • New book highlights key outcomes from WTO Ministerial Conferences

  

Remarks by DG Azevêdo

Good morning everybody.

I am pleased to be here today for the launch of this important publication. I only have a few minutes, but I wanted to have the chance to say a few words.

This publication compiles the key outcomes of the WTO Ministerial Conferences held so far, spanning a period of close to twenty-five years - from the first Ministerial Conference in Singapore to MC11 in Buenos Aires in 2017.

This is the first time that these documents are put together in a single compilation. It is undoubtedly a very useful resource for all those with an interest in the WTO and in international negotiations.  

I also think this publication offers a unique look into the history of the WTO.

Each of the Ministerial Conferences has represented a unique milestone for the multilateral trading system. Ministers have debated the value of the system, voiced their agreements and disagreements, given guidance for future steps, and also agreed on new rules and disciplines.

All this is reflected right here in this book. 

And I also think that this publication is extremely timely. Our 12th Ministerial Conference will be held next Spring in Kazakhstan. Members are discussing how to make progress on a number of issues. I have no doubt that the results of that conference and subsequent conferences will cause us to issue many future editions of this publication.

There are many challenges in trade today, and in the trading system.

In these circumstances it is important to remember that the system has been under strain before, and each time it has emerged stronger and more responsive. Publications like this can only help in those efforts.

Personally, I've had the chance to participate in almost all of the WTO Ministerial Conferences.

I have a fond memory of these events – even the sleepless nights and long negotiations. So I'm glad to see all that work compiled in a single volume – particularly including the documents arising from Bali, Nairobi and Buenos Aires.

So let me thank everybody who has contributed to the project, including colleagues in the Council and TNC Division, the Legal Affairs Division and the WTO Publications Unit.

As we look to MC12 and beyond, I hope that we will keep adding to this volume and continue to build a story of an increasingly strong and vibrant trading system.

I look forward to working with all members to that end.

Thank you.

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