EU Statement at the Special General Council meeting, 7 June 2022

(Source: EEAS)

Statement delivered by Ambassador João Aguiar Machado

On the SPS declaration, the European Union thanks the proponents for this updated version that we will analyse carefully. At first sight, it seems to address our main concerns, but we will come back to you with the official EU position once we conclude our internal analysis.

On Brazil’s proposal to hold yearly Ministerial Conferences, the European Union welcomes and is in principle supportive. We are discussing this proposal internally. We tend to agree that it may be useful, but we need to consider the implications of yearly ministerial meetings as they will change the mode in which we operate.

On the LDC graduation proposal, the European Union has consistently engaged in a constructive way with the LDC Group, and with other preference-granting Members, to achieve consensus. We will continue to do so. To date, to my knowledge, such consensus has not yet emerged, although we remain committed to continuing engagement to achieve convergence. The European Union already provides for transition periods. We need to discuss the best ways to integrate LDCs into the multilateral trading system and we remain committed to continuing to do so.

The European Union fully supports Switzerland and the proposal for a draft ministerial decision extending the moratorium and the work programme. Industry from all corners of the world is calling for the extension of the e-commerce moratorium, including in developing countries. There are numerous studies on the impact of discontinuing the moratorium and raising the customs duties on electronic transmissions. I hope we will continue with the practice of extending the moratorium until MC13 and that this ministerial conference will not convey the negative signal of stooping the moratorium, the only tool we have on digital trade in this organisation.

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