"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Statement on Supporting the Multilateral Trading System and the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference

[Date] November 18, 2015
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

1. We join in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Asia Pacific has been one of the fastest-growing trading regions, benefiting significantly from the stability and predictability of the multilateral trading system. In this regard, we reaf- firm the value, centrality and primacy of the multilateral trading system under the auspices of the WTO. We will continue to work closely together to strengthen the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO.

2. The WTO's achievements have contributed significantly to our economic dynamism and re- siliency in the past twenty years. Within the established framework of the multilateral trading system, we commit APEC to continuing to support the effectiveness of the WTO and the fur- ther promotion of its objectives for the benefit of all.

3. We are committed to working together for a successful Nairobi Ministerial Meeting that has a balanced set of outcomes, including on the Doha Development Agenda, and provides clear guidance to post-Nairobi work. As on previous occasions, we will provide the necessary polit- ical impetus to achieve these outcomes. We instruct our Ministers to engage actively and con- structively in the discussions, with the objective of achieving concrete, meaningful, balanced and development-oriented outcomes.

4. The early entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which was ap- proved as part of the 2013 Bali Package achieved at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, would make a significant contribution to the sustainability of global trade and highlight the value of the WTO to its stakeholders around the world. In this regard, we recognize the lead- ership of APEC Economies, with more than half of them having ratified the TFA to date. We call upon the remaining APEC Economies to do so as soon as possible, ideally before MC10.

5. We also welcome the decision by WTO Members, which clarifies the interim mechanism agreed by Ministers in Bali, to engage constructively to negotiate and make all concerted ef- forts to agree and adopt a permanent solution on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes by 31 December 2015. We are encouraged by the progress in the implemen- tation of other Bali decisions, and engage to continue to pursue their full implementation.

6. Recognizing the importance of facilitating access to medicines as set out in the Paragraph 6 System, we urge all WTO Members to accept the Protocol Amending the TRIPS Agreement. Entry into force of the Protocol by MC10 would also demonstrate the potential of the WTO to deliver practical, development-oriented outcomes.

7. We reaffirm our pledges against all forms of protectionism, through our commitment to a standstill until the end of 2018, and to roll back protectionist and trade-distorting measures. We recognize the need to exert further efforts to comply with this commitment. We remain committed to exercising maximum restraint in implementing measures that may be consistent with WTO provisions but have a significant protectionist effect, and to promptly rectifying such measures, where implemented.

8. We acknowledge that bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade agreements can play an im- portant role in complementing global liberalization initiatives. We will continue to work to- gether to ensure that they are consistent with WTO agreements and contribute to strengthening the multilateral trading system.

8.1. We therefore welcome the agreement reached on product coverage in the Information Technology Agreement expansion negotiations, and we welcome the efforts by partic- ipating members to conclude the negotiations on staging timeframes before MC10. APEC ITA expansion participants agree to work together to achieve broader participa- tion in this Agreement.

8.2. We also welcome the recent progress made in the Environmental Goods Agreement which include a number of APEC Economies and we welcome the efforts by partici- pating members to achieve meaningful progress by MC10.

8.3. We likewise take note of efforts to explore possibilities of factoring into the multilateral negotiations possible contributions by participants in concluded plurilateral ITA ex- pansion and EGA initiatives.

9. Under APEC's theme of "Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World", we wel- come the successful 5th Global Review of the Aid for Trade Initiative. We urge the WTO to continue its work in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth, including through initiatives for the increased participation of MSMEs in regional and global markets. In the same spirit, APEC will continue to contribute to this objective building on the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs.