Economies urged to resist protectionism: MC8

Updated: 2011-12-18 08:48


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Economies urged to resist protectionism: MC8

World Trade Organization Director general Pascal Lamy reacts before a session during the last day of the 8th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva December 17, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

GENEVA - The three-day Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (MC8) ended here on Saturday with overwhelming voices from trade ministers urging members to refrain from protectionism and to strengthen the multilateral trading system.

In a "Political Guidance" issued at the conclusion of the conference, trade ministers acknowledged it is essential to keep markets open at an economically trying time.

And for that end, they agreed to "strengthen" the WTO and make it more responsive to the needs of members in order to stimulate economic growth, employment and development.

Development was reaffirmed as "a core element of the WTO's work ". Ministers pledged to provide further assistance to developing countries, in particular the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

As for the decade-long Doha Round negotiations, the "Political Guidance" said ministers admitted the negotiations are at an impasse, acknowledging that "it is unlikely that all elements of the Doha Development Round could be concluded simultaneously in the near future." Despite that, ministers pledged to "remain committed to work actively, in a transparent and inclusive manner, towards a successful multilateral conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda."

Apart from issuing the "Political Guidance" on Saturday, MC8 also proved the accessions of Samoa and Montenegro and adopted a 15-year term waiver to enable developing and developed country members to provide preferential treatment to services and service suppliers of WTO's 31 least-developed country (LDC) members.