WTO Trade Negotiations Committee (November 2021): Statement by the United Kingdom
Thank you for your inspiring and honest words this morning. Hopefully your presence – as it did in Glasgow – along with Ambassador Peralta’s now famous magical act, will get a rabbit out of the hat. Or maybe another creature since Jaime once produced a rabbit. Because right now it’s not a half-full glass. It is much more worrying than that.
Let’s start with the positives. They are few in number, but they are important. And these are the JSI. Regulation of domestic services – which could reduce the costs of world trade in services by 6-7%, which, as you said, is so vital to world trade. And I particularly welcome the innovative provisions on gender. Let me also welcome the Joint Ministerial Declarations on Trade and Gender and MSMEs and encourage as many signatories as possible from other members. And we’re making good progress on e-commerce and investment facilitation – and by the way, I can’t imagine anything more likely to expose this organization to global trade ridicule than the suggestion that we might not renew. the moratorium on electronic commerce.
I want us to make similar progress at the multilateral level for all the reasons you cite. And allow me to pay tribute to the efforts of our colleagues who have led and assisted these negotiations. Like others, we simply cannot avoid two of the biggest challenges of the moment: our response to the pandemic and our response to the climate crisis. We have been and will continue to be realistic – but we will not give up our belief that this organization can and must contribute to these issues of global commons.
On trade and health, the simple repetition of pre-existing rules and pre-existing commitments does not cut the mustard. No longer insist on tearing apart the intellectual property framework that enabled our response to the pandemic, rather than focusing on what will actually speed up vaccine delivery. On climate, days after the Glasgow Climate Pact, we simply cannot fail to recognize the role this organization needs to play in the transition to net zero / a greener global economy. Like you, I just don’t understand why we can’t agree on the language of service. And hardly anyone would understand if we weren’t able to support our oceans and the communities that depend on them after 20 years of negotiations.
Madame President. With apologies to my American colleagues, let this be the city that never sleeps. At least for the next week. My delegation, like so many others here, will work this weekend and the days to come to demonstrate that this organization still matters, that we can make deals that matter to our citizens and our businesses, even when it means moving on. ‘forward plurilaterally, rather than multilaterally, and that our ministers will return from Geneva with something more than some of the best chocolates in the world. You and the President of the General Council have our support in this noble endeavor.