Ahead of the upcoming ministerial World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Kenya starting on December 10th, Socialists and Democrats restate their commitment to a multilateral system where the least developed countries (LDCs) fully participate and benefit from trade.

Bernd Lange MEP, S&D author of a parliamentary resolution on the issue, chair of the international trade committee in the European Parliament and senior member of the WTO steering committee, said:

“For the first time a WTO ministerial conference will take place in an African country, and we should take this symbolic opportunity to revive the WTO and make sure that this organisation remains central to any further liberalisation of trade on a global scale.

“Bilateral or regional trade agreements should not replace the main role of a global governance body where everyone, particularly the LDCs, can benefit from the advantages of trade. We strongly call for a trade agenda based on fair trade for the benefit of all, with development at the centre of the process.”

S&D spokesperson on trade, David Martin MEP, added:

“Ten years after the beginning of the Doha Round, the WTO itself is at a crossroads. It is time to accomplish a structural reform in order to better guarantee an open, fair and non-discriminatory trading system based on shared rules.

“Global trade is evolving and our rules need to reflect new challenges such as climate change and sustainability as well as SMEs and innovative start-ups.

“The WTO will only function properly if it works for all of us, and developing countries must be at the heart of reforms to trade regulation.”

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