EU-Japan Joint Statement on the WTO

January 11, 2000

At the EU-Japan Ministerial Meeting held in Brussels on 11 January 2000 both sides reaffirmed the importance of the multilateral rule-based trading system embodied in the WTO. They committed themselves to further strengthen the WTO system in cooperation with other WTO Members.

For the multilateral trading system to function efficiently in the 21st century and to respond appropriately to new issues, the early launch of the new round of negotiations should remain the priority of the WTO. To this end, they agreed to continue their close co-operation to get the process back on track as soon as possible.

Both sides reaffirmed that the agenda for the new round should be sufficiently comprehensive to include not only the built in agenda (agriculture and services) and market access but also the improvement and reinforcement of existing rules and disciplines such as anti-dumping, as well as the establishment of additional rules for investment, competition and trade facilitation. Both sides also intend to continue cooperation so that the new round will pay due regard to non-trade concerns as well as factors such as the sustainable use of exhaustible natural resources and environmental aspects.

Both sides continue to support the establishment of a dialogue on trade, globalisation and labour issues with a view to promote a better understanding of the issues between all interested parties.

They concurred that it is important for the WTO to be open, transparent and efficient so that it can effectively, address the concerns of all Members. Both sides will study with other WTO Members how to assure an appropriate balance between efficiency and transparency in decision-making at the WTO, in particular through better consultation procedures, so as to incorporate more effectively the views of all Members, irrespective or their level of development.

Both sides believe that the WTO should secure active participation by the developing countries and respond appropriately to their concerns. This will strengthen the multilateral trading system. They also emphasised in this context the importance of the issues relating to the implementation of the existing WTO Agreements, improvement in market access and technical assistance for capacity building. They agreed to take forward, with other developed country Members, a preferential market access initiative for least developed WTO Members to extend and implement tariff-free and quota-free treatment for essentially all products originating in lease developed countries.

They also stressed the major responsibility for WTO Members to respond to legitimate concerns of relevant parties outside the WTO, including business, consumers and other non-governmental organisations, in a balanced and transparent manner. At multilateral level, also, access to information should be facilitated.

Both sides also welcomed the newly acceding Members to the WTO and support the early accession of present applicants.

Both sides acknowledged that negotiations on agriculture and services will start forthwith in the WTO under the built-in agenda. They agreed to pursue in the agricultural negotiations which will be based on Art 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture, their shared interests with regard to the multifunctional role of agriculture. They also agreed in the services negotiations, which will be based on Art XIX of the GATS, to achieve progressively higher levels of liberalisation.

Japan and the EU invite other WTO Members to join their constructive efforts for the early launch of the new round and support the efforts by Mr. Mike Moore, Director-General, to develop an acceptable and sufficiently comprehensive agenda for the negotiations.

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