Alexey Ulyukaev: Negotiations of the WTO are at the critical juncture


Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Director-General, fellow Ministers, Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen!

I would like to thank President of Kenya Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta and people of Kenya for their warm welcome to this admirable place and excellent arrangements for this meeting.

I find it symbolic that the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference is held in Africa. The WTO was born in Africa, in Marrakesh 20 years ago. And 20 years after we are back to Africa to deliver and decide on how to advance.

We are at the critical juncture. For two decades the WTO served as a unique forum for multilateral negotiations. However, the negotiations without tangible outcome are unsound. “T” in the “WTO” stands for “trade”, not just for “talking”. The system has to deliver.

But actually the only tangible result we have on the 15th year of Doha round is the Trade Facilitation Agreement. So, we delivered just one agreement for so many years. How many arrangements we are mandated to produce by the DDA?

We need to redouble our efforts. I want rather to see WTO delivering by my own eyes than to hope for success of the grandchildren of mine. Every generation needs their own goals and their own victories.

Some of us say we have to give up on Doha and give new start to the process. Others call upon full adherence to the Doha mandate. Positions are not just very divergent but often completely contrary to each other.

We also fail to understand the logic of some Members, who are unwilling to join consensus on the urgent issues that they do not object on the substance. The only reason for such unwillingness is linkages.

Russia doesn’t want to be a judge to this process. It all started and stalled when we were at the accession gates. Russia as a very recently acceded member has made a big contribution to the liberalization upon the accession. We inspire Membership to show wisdom and prudence. All of us including those who want to restart the process and those who advocate 100% of Doha.

The diplomacy is always a compromise. We need to be inspired by our past and need to be future-oriented.

Despite of the developments in the course of this Conference, we need to leave Nairobi with a clear design of the WTO future and should take into account the whole range of new challenges in world trade and economy. And should not consume energy on the issues that are already overmature.

I would like to confirm our full-hearted determination to support the multilateral trading system and, in particular, to delivering tangible results in Nairobi. We have to work against the clock. We hope it will help the WTO negotiation function to be reborn and to rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

Thank you!