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Alexey Likhachev: We have to make every effort to maintain and strengthen the negotiating function of the WTO

09.07.16

In Nairobi, we reaffirmed the central role of the WTO and the complementary nature of the Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs). The latter wouldnever substitute the WTO system and are not designed to create unified rules on a multilateral level. However, we cannot afford ourselves to confine with mere statements on the WTO role.

We have tomake every effort to maintain and strengthen the negotiating function of the WTO in practical terms.

Despite the practice of the last minute decisions that seems to be well established now in Bali and reconfirmed in Nairobi, the safety factor of the next Ministerial might be less strong than we expect.

We urge to launch the negotiation process on the issues that might be delivered by the next Ministerial in the limited time we have, bearing in mind the search for solutions for more fundamental issues. Same priority should be given to implementation of the Bali and Nairobi outcomes – entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement and practical implementation of the export competition arrangements.

We encourage the remaining G20 members to finalise the necessary internal procedures for TFA ratification before 1st September, 2016 and all WTO members do the same by the end of this year.

In Nairobi we also agreed to work towards the transformation of the current provisional Transparency Mechanism for regional trade agreements into a permanent one. Therefore we call for G20 members and all WTO members to conduct this transformation as soon as possible.

At the same time, we see potential for further improvement of this mechanism by introducing a system of evaluation of the impact of RTAs on the multilateral trading system and by agreeing on common rules and principles for such RTAs, so that they rather contribute to the multilateral trading system than substitute the latter.

We believe that the G20 can serve as a platform for discussions to find common positions towards the way to advance the WTO negotiations.

The time before the 11th Ministerial Conference is running out relentlessly. We have to identify a list of issues for negotiations with a high potential of reaching agreement.

The improvement of existing and the formulation of new rules would allow us to address long-standing challenges in the trade we face taking into account up-to-date terms of the international trade.

In our view, the issues for future negotiations may include rules in antidumping and subsidies, domestic regulation in services, transparency in RTAs as well as evaluation of the impact of RTAs on the multilateral trading system, e-commerce and environmental aspects of trade.

We are also interested in the discussions and inclusion of investments-related issues in the list of negotiating tracks. We observe the need to reform the respective investments regulation and the WTO can be one of the platforms for conducting such work. Especially taking into consideration that the WTO already contains a basis for further discussions on this issue.

Regarding protectionist measures in trade, Russia has to admit that the situation with protectionist barriers in the world is unsatisfying. We need to find ways to reverse this trend.

Thus, we would like to express our support for the extension of the G20’s commitment on a standstill and roll back of protectionist measures till the end of 2018.

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