Statement by Minister of Trade of Indonesia. H.E. Mrs. Mari Pangestu, at the Plenary Session of the 7th WTO Ministerial Meeting
November 30, 2009 Posted under Trade/WTO
Chairperson and Distinguished Colleagues,
We are meeting here in Geneva to renew our commitment and confidence in the WTO and the multilateral trading system under the current global economic environment.
The WTO and its predecessor, the GATT, have been successful in providing a stable environment for its members. It has nurtured a rules-based multilateral trading system that has secured economic growth, development and employment throughout the past decade.
Indonesia has benefited from this stable trade environment and its domestic reforms have also been shaped by the WTO framework. Therefore, in this current uncertain global environment, Indonesia and I hope all the member countries in this room, remain committed to reaffirming and strengthening global confidence in the multilateral trading system.
The current global crisis and the current situation of weak recovery, have indeed been challenging to say the least. Trade has plummeted with world trade expected to contract by some 10 percent and with many countries experiencing double digit contraction of exports. As a result jobs have been lost. No doubt developing countries have been the hardest hit. We have limited fiscal space and social safety nets, and we are also facing increased protectionism against our products. Under these conditions all of us face domestic political pressures. What is important is that we have to exercise leadership in resisting not taking any action to move in the right direction or even worse undertaking inappropriate actions which take us away from the path of necessary domestic reforms.
Chair, Distinguished Colleagues
We are here to ensure that the WTO and multilateral trading system can meet the challenges of an uncertain global environment and limit protection to benign actions taken within WTO rules and disciplines. We welcome the monitoring exercise of the WTO and speaking from Indonesia’s experience, it has provided the peer pressure to ensure that pressures for protection can be limited to real need and in compliance with WTO disciplines. In light of ensuring the integration of developing countries in the international trading system, we also support the need to promote a more effective and expanded aid for trade and trade financing which has helped and will continue to help, developing countries.
Most importantly the changing landscape of the world economy has demanded the multilateral trading system and the WTO to respond quickly and appropriately to the new situation. The failure by members to conclude DDR after years of intensive negotiations is the most fundamental problem that the WTO is facing.
The Doha round is a fundamental part of our stake to maintain confidence in the multilateral trading system, reduce threats of rising protectionism and stimulus to global recovery. The benefit of the agriculture and non agriculture market access (NAMA) negotiations that have been agreed on and which is on the table, with the centrality of agriculture, as estimated by various studies point to increasing trade flows at between US$ 120-160 billion. Once services and trade facilitation are included, the benefits can be as high as US$ 520 billion (Peterson Institute, 2009). Furthermore, the benefits are balanced between developed and developing countries. There are also benefits in removal of subsidies and agriculture support related to less excessive polluting production methods.
There is a great deal of consensus, as well as political support at the highest levels, for the necessity to conclude the eight-year negotiations of the Doha Development Round. We all agree, and what more can be said that has not been said regarding how to achieve this necessary outcome. There is in fact nothing different that can be said than what has already been said in the last few months and re-emphasized in the last two days. In the last two days groups such as G20, G33 and the Informal Group of Developing Countries (which make up 70% of WTO members), have restated the same key messages. In sum these key messages are:
First, an early and successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round based on the development mandate and what is already on the table.
Second, let us not give up hope for concluding the negotiations by 2010.
Third, let us all transform political will into action so that we can have an effective stock take by early 2010, which will be the basis for the way forward to concluding the negotiations before the end of 2010.
Fourth, to get there we must all utilize all available processes. This includes constructive and real engagement to address remaining issues as part of the technical processes undertaken by senior officials in Geneva in the coming months. The G33 has been working on this front and stands ready to engage constructively on one of the remaining issues, SSM. It also includes ongoing informal, bilateral and plurilateral processes at all levels to seek greater understanding and transparency, as long as the process is then multilateralized.
As the Director General, Pascal Lamy said, unity is strength. These key messages demonstrate this, that is unity in the major of members delivering the same strong messages in a loud, clear and resounding way. We hope that these messages will be heard and responded by action and real engagement not just by the message bearers, but by all. There must be political will so that the weight of the costs to development from the delay in concluding the Round, can be addressed sooner rather than later. The millions of subsistence farmers, poor and hungry cannot wait too long.
Chair, Distinguished Colleagues
Apart from the global financial crisis, concluding the Round is also important so that other profound global challenges, which require global attention and a more responsive WTO can be addressed. This includes food and energy security as well as climate change. These are the challenges, which require rapid, comprehensive and sustainable responses, and will necessitate capacity building and technical assistance for developing countries. Developing countries need to be able to conduct their trade–related activities in a manner that is consistent with environmental goals and sustainability and we must also ensure that there will be consistency and coherence between the WTO framework and the emerging international climate change regime.
To conclude, let me appeal my fellow Ministers and Heads of Delegates that we conclude this Conference with a clearer sense of how to move forward in light of the current global situation and on where the Doha Development Round stand. We should also be able to deliver a decisive support to the WTO’s effort in providing assistance to its Members with regards to enhancing their capacity and integration in the multilateral trading system and in developing policies that complement their development agendas.
I thank you.
Geneva, 30 November 2009