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USTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on the Conclusion of the WTO Ministerial Conference

December 14, 2017

Washington, DC – U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today issued the following statement on the conclusion of the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina:

“The United States expresses its deep appreciation to the Government and people of Argentina for the exceptional organization and warm hospitality we received while at MC11.  In particular, we applaud the diligent work of Director General Roberto Azevedo, Minister Susana Malcorra, and their staffs.  The fact that one WTO Member with an extreme position chose to block a short Ministerial Declaration expressing shared views is no reflection on the excellent work of Minister Malcorra or her team. 

“MC11 will be remembered as the moment when the impasse at the WTO was broken.  Many members recognized that the WTO must pursue a fresh start in key areas so that like-minded WTO Members and their constituents are not held back by the few Members that are not ready to act.  In this regard, the United States is pleased to work with willing Members on e-commerce, scientific standards for agricultural products, and the challenges of unfair trade practices that distort world markets.  Further, the United States intends to continue pushing meaningful disciplines on harmful fisheries subsidies based on guidance agreed to by Ministers at Buenos Aires.  We are proud to defend the interests of U.S. stakeholders at the WTO, including our farmers and ranchers, who need a result on agriculture that is based on the realities of today, rather than a 16-year-old, outdated and unworkable framework.

“The United States looks forward to working with those WTO Members who are seeking free and fair trade through the implementation of WTO agreements and decisions as negotiated by Members.  We welcome the opportunity in 2018 to continue to discuss how we can improve the functioning of the WTO and to ensure that it achieves its objectives for the benefit of all Members.”