WTO chief sees link in trade & climate change – Times of India

by The Technical Blogs


ABU DHABI: WTO director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday indicated her support for talks on climate change aspects related trade at the multilateral body – an issue that has deeply divided countries, with India repeatedly arguing that environment-related issues should be discussed in other forums.
“Trade has been instrumental in helping climate change issues. We do not believe you can have environmental issues without trade. Just think of diffusion of technology… solar panels – how do they move from places where they are produced? Trade is critical and should be part of the solution… We should look at our policies and see how trade can solve climate change,” she said at the start of the four-day ministerial meeting here on Monday.
The WTO chief highlighted at least two other areas – fisheries and agriculture – for special attention. “We have a number of very important deliverables on the table that we are trying to achieve. These are things that matter for people. Fisheries, we did the first part. For more than 20 years it was on the table and we closed the first part in Geneva 18 months ago. We are working hard to close the second part. This is about the sustainability of our oceans. They are becoming over 50% over-fished. What we are doing is very important for people’s lives,” she said.


In addition, she appeared upbeat on agriculture, arguing that after several years, members were negotiating a text on reducing subsidies and import duties and also addressing issues such as public stockholding, which are of interest to India. The former Nigerian finance minister also praised the efforts of over 120 countries in clinching an agreement on investment facilitation, which was driven by Chile, South Korea and China. The WTO DG underlined the need to reform the nearly 30-year old agency and said that she was seeing a lot of excitement among member countries.
Timor-Leste and Comoros have become the latest to join WTO, ending eight-year hiatus for new members. The Geneva-based body now has 166 members.


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