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11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires

The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference started yesterday in Buenos Aires with the unprecedented signing, by the Presidents of Mercosur Countries’ Presidents, of a Joint Declaration (Mauricio Macri for Argentina, Michel Temer for Brazil, Horacio Cartes for Paraguay and Tabaré Vázquez for Uruguay, joined by Special Envoys from Colombia, Guyana, Mexico, Peru e Suriname).

In front of delegations from 164 member countries, the press and civil society, Heads of State of several Latin-Americann countries reaffirmed the importance of WTO multilateral system in order to seize opportunities and respond to the challenges of international trade in the 21st century. Its institutions, declared the Dispute Settlement Body, must be preserved and strengthened in order to promote an open, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory trade environment.

WTO Director General, Roberto Azevêdo, positively welcomed the Latin-American initiative and highlighted how, from the signing of GAT 70 years ago, trade multilateral system produced a 26 times increase in global trade, contributing to free 1 billion people in one generation from the poverty zone.

Under-secretary of State, Hon. Ivan Scalfarotto, Head of the Italian Delegation taking part to the Conference proceedings, highlighted in an interview to ANSA News Agency a few hours before the inaugural session, the importance of promoting and defending trade multilateral system from the neo-protectionist wave that rises at a global level and which is now being fostered by the US Administration. He stressed the need for a negotiating balance between new and old topics of the trade agenda, and highlighted the Italian priorities for the 11th Ministerial conference: regulation of subsidies for fishing, more transparency and facilitation for SMEs international trade, starting of serious negotiations on digital trade and on facilitating investments.