Nairobi hopeful of a Ministerial Declaration as WTO concludes

Nairobi hopeful of a Ministerial Declaration as WTO concludes
Nairobi hopeful of a Ministerial Declaration as WTO concludes

Nairobi has high hopes for a Ministerial Declaration on Friday as discussions by World Trade Organization (WTO) member states near conclusion.

Kenya’s head of Delegation and Principle Secretary for Foreign Affairs Dr. Karanja Kibicho says members of the agriculture group are still in discussions over timelines for elimination of subsidies.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to reach convergence, we are confident that it will lead to a positive outcome,” said Kibicho.

Kibicho stated that there are very positive discussions going on especially on contested issues.

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have already agreed on certain issues including agreement on E-Commerce which is a new frontier in promoting international trade.

Kibicho said the Agreement on E-Commerce will benefit Kenya as its current practice is not to put custom duties until the next Ministerial Conference in 2017.

Another issue the member states have already agreed on was the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which will have tariff elimination of 201 IT products, including staging commitments for each product.

Annual trade in these 201 products is valued at approximately USD1.3 trillion per year, which accounts for approximately 10 per cent of world trade today.

The member states also agreed on the extension to period of granting patents for 17 years. The extension period will enable Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to address challenges in public health including access to cheaper drugs.

They also agreed on flexible rules of origin and exports of LDCs for promotion of exports from LDCs that will facilitate integration into international trade.

Kenya also joined the growing list of nations that have ratified their Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

“Members are engaged to reach consensus on number of issues, we need to give and take,” said Kibicho. “We look forward to a Nairobi declaration.”

Another positive outcome of the WTO conference references the accession of two LDCs into the organization; Afghanistan and Liberia.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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