Nairobi, Kenya (BBN) – WTO members concluded their Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi on Saturday by securing an historic agreement on a series of trade initiatives.
The “Nairobi Package” pays fitting tribute to the Conference host, Kenya, by delivering commitments that will benefit in particular the organization’s poorest members.
The Nairobi Package contains a series of six Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries. These include a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports, which Director-General Roberto Azevêdo hailed as the “most significant outcome on agriculture” in the organization’s 20-year history.
The other agricultural decisions cover public stockholding for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and measures related to cotton, according to the WTO announcement.
Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment for least developed countries (LDCs) in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences.
“Two years ago in Bali we did something that the WTO had never done before — we delivered major, multilaterally-negotiated outcomes,” DG Azevêdo declared. “This week, here in Nairobi, we saw those same qualities at work. And today, once again, we delivered.”
The WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 19 December 2015, the first such meeting hosted by an African nation. The Conference was chaired by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amina Mohamed.
Ms Mohamed admitted that ministers “faced challenging moments,” in concluding the Nairobi Package, which required an extra day of intensive negotiations to conclude. “Tough calls had to be made but we did bite the bullet.”
“We have reaffirmed the central role of the WTO in international trade governance,” she added.
The Conference was opened on December 15 by Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta. During the opening session, the Conference was also addressed by Ms Mohamed, DG Azevêdo and the Chair of the WTO’s General Council, Fernando de Mateo.
They were joined at the Opening Ceremony by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, whose country concluded its WTO membership negotiations on December 16.