At the meeting of G20 Trade Ministers in Istanbul on 5 October 2015, Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, in his capacity as President of the Foreign Affairs Council (Trade), handed over to Robert Azevêdo, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in the presence of Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for Trade, the EU's instrument of accession for the agreement on Trade Facilitation. The agreement was finalised during the 9th WTO Ministerial Meeting in Bali in December 2013.
This approval marks a major milestone in the negotiation of the "Doha Development Agenda", which has been up and running since 2001 and will help boost the global economy in the years ahead, particularly through the facilitation of trade exchanges. Particular emphasis is placed on the development dimension, particularly regarding least developed countries (LDCs) and SMEs.
This finalisation of the EU's ratification process shows Europe's willingness to press ahead with the Doha Development Agenda, notably in the run-up to the 10th WTO ministerial meeting to be held in Nairobi from 15 to 18 December, which will focus primarily on integrating developing countries into global trade more effectively.
Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, warmly welcomed this agreement, which has paved the way towards boosting global trade, with the question of development at its core. It also represents a remarkable success for kick-starting multilateral solutions to the major international challenges. Luxembourg, as a logistics platform and cross-border services supplier, will profit fully from this agreement.
Set up in 1995, the WTO boasts 161 members and is the main international organisation for trade matters. Kazakhstan will join the organisation in October, and Liberia may also have become a full member by the next ministerial meeting.
Press release from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs