December 1, 2009

Statement by Minister of Trade of Indonesia. H.E. Mrs. Mari Pangestu, at the Working Session I of the 7th WTO Ministerial Meeting – “Review of WTO Activities, including the Doha Work-Programme”

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

Throughout the past months we have taken note of calls for the review of the effective functioning of the WTO, which include the efficiency, transparency and possible improvements of its multilateral trading system. The rapidly changing global economic environment also requires the WTO to be responsive in exercising its role.

It is therefore pertinent that we pursue the mandate provided on each sector and carry out negotiations in a manner that enhances the relevance and competence of the WTO in regulating the multilateral trading system.  In addition, we reiterate the importance of the balanced outcome of the Doha negotiations and that development is a key aspect of such outcome.

With regards to development, and to ensure that it caters to the needs of all Members, we believe that transparency in the negotiating process shall be maintained to all extent.  Exchanges among Members should be inclusive and takes into account every concerns brought forward. We appreciate the consultation processes which have been conducted in an effort to speed up negotiations, however, they need to inform and engage all Members as part of its overall process.

In order to maintain its relevance, and in light of possible improvements, the WTO needs to evaluate its system and make the necessary adjustment to address the changes as well as challenges of the global economic environment. We agree with that such would include issues ranging from monitoring and surveillance to disputes, accessions, Aid for Trade, technical assistance and international governance.

Thus, as we gather here today, it is an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to the effective functioning of the multilateral trading system, and to provide our insights on how the organization could carry its activities forth. We should also explore the possibility of setting up an agenda to address economic issues which may pose challenges to the system, and evaluate the strategies and performance by which the organization exercise its role in governing the multilateral trading system.

With regards to the DDA, we take note of the progress made in the Doha negotiations, even if diminutive, and that it demonstrates the significance of its role to the Members.  It should be taken into account that Members remain faithful in their engagement and efforts to reduce trade barriers and trade-distorting effects.  It is therefore important that we continue to build upon this progress with a view to expeditiously close the Doha Round.

In order to conclude the Round, major players are expected to exercise leadership as flexibility and pragmatism are expected from all Members. Future negotiations shall also be conducted based on the draft modalities texts of December 2008 and not deviate from this path as it would complicate and delay rather than simplify and facilitate the process of conclusion. In this regard, we appeal for all Member’s utmost political will and readiness to conclude the Round as soon as possible.

Lastly, it is our hope that we conclude this Conference with a clearer sense of how to move forward in light of the current global situation and where negotiations stand.  We also support the WTO’s effort to continue providing assistance to its Members with regards to enhancing their capacity and integration in the multilateral trading system and to develop policies that complement their development agendas.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman


 Geneva, 1 December 2009

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