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GENEVA – Following the AGC’s successful delivery of the final Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) statement and the significant results of the APEC meetings held in Boracay last May 2015, Philippine Permanent Representative to the WTO, Ambassador Esteban B. Conejos, Jr., convened the third Heads of Delegation (HoD) meeting of the APEC Geneva Caucus (AGC) on 23 September 2015 at the Centre William Rappard.

With Permanent Representatives and Geneva-based officers of the 21 APEC Economies present at the meeting, Ambassador Conejos reiterated the AGC’s main objective of drafting and endorsing the statements on supporting the multilateral trading system (MTS) for the APEC 2015 Ministerial Meeting and the APEC 2015 Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November.

Ambassador Conejos also recapitulated that despite some outstanding issues, which were eventually resolved in Boracay, Ministers adopted the Caucus’ 11 May draft text of the MRT statement which mentioned the 20th anniversary of the WTO; centrality and primacy of the multilateral trading system; anti-protectionism; full implementation of the Bali package, including the post-Bali work program, TFA, and public stockholding; meaningful MC10 outcomes; the 5th Global Review of Aid for Trade, and the importance of SMEs; and  the complementary role of FTAs. He added that at the 3rd Senior Officials Meeting (SOM3) recently held in Cebu, the MRT Statement was likewise discussed, and members were encouraged to ratify the TFA, and for the involved parties to conclude the ITA-II negotiations.

Given that APEC has persistently provided the political push needed to help the WTO overcome its difficulties, and has consistently and strongly supported the work of the WTO through high-level statements and a complementary agenda, Ambassador Conejos proposed that ‘To reinforce its central role in international trade and global economic cooperation, the WTO needs to urgently deliver meaningful outcomes at MC10. As in previous occasions, APEC will provide the necessary political impetus to achieve these outcomes.’ be the theme for the AELM and AMM statements. This theme was warmly welcomed by the Permanent Representatives who subsequently took the floor.

The Philippines will host several HOD and technical-level meetings in October to discuss the draft statement. The Geneva-based Permanent Representatives agreed that the statement must reflect the reality in WTO negotiations, as well as depend on crucial developments that will unfold in the next few weeks. END.