Statssekreterare Oscar Stenström på WTOs ministerkonferens i Nairobi

Publicerad Uppdaterad

Tal av statssekreterare Oscar Stenström på Världshandelsorganisationens ministerkonferens i Nairobi 17 december. Det talade ordet gäller.

Thank you Mr/Madam Chairman,

I would like to start by expressing my warm appreciation to Kenya and to Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed for hosting this conference.

We had all hoped for a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda. This will unfortunately not be the case.

After 14 years of negotiations, we must inject a certain dose of "constructiveness" into the multilateral negotiations.

If not, the number of bilateral and regional trade agreements will continue to increase. And multilateral agreements are better than bilateral and regional agreements. That is the reason why we are all members of this organisation. Our people and our companies prefer multilateral agreements.

For a trade-oriented country like Sweden, the WTO is the foundation of the multilateral trading system and its role and mandate an important pillar in a globalised world.

A strong, rules-based, transparent and predictable multilateral trading system is a precondition for global value chains and for functioning world trade.

We must not only defend this role and mandate but also manage and develop it.

The WTO must also be a beacon for free trade and continue to fight protectionism.

Another important task for the WTO is to support LDCs into the world trade system. They must be able to embrace and take advantage of the world trade system.

I am therefore very pleased that Sweden was deeply engaged in the accession of Liberia. For both Liberia and Sweden, this has been a very positive exchange of experiences.

In addition to Liberia, I would also like to welcome three other new members: Kazakhstan, the Seychelles and Afghanistan. Their accession proves that the organisation has a certain power of attraction.

Looking ahead, it is important that we can agree on how to use this multilateral forum as a platform for negotiation – and that we can also solve the difficult issues.

Sweden is a supporter of plurilateral initiatives that contribute to the modernisation and development of the global trade regime.

These plurilaterals must be open to new members and be compatible with the WTO with a view to future multilateralisation.

The updated Information Technology Agreement is one such good example, as well as an ambitious future agreement on environmental goods.

During the years of negotiations, the world has changed. And so has the pattern of world trade.

Do the present trade rules and agreements respond to current needs?

I think not.

This is why Sweden would like to see a stronger emphasis on new issues such as e-commerce and the wider issue of digital trade, but we are also willing to discuss issues that could be most effectively addressed multilaterally.

All of us here today have a responsibility to preserve and develop the WTO for the benefit of global trade.

Trade contributes to growth and jobs.

And that is what our people expect from us.

Thank you.