SCED: WTO should seek to develop strong domestic regulation disciplines in services and facilitate e-commerce
Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) should work on the consolidated text with a view to developing strong domestic regulation disciplines in services which can fully reflect the mandate of General Agreement on Trade in Services and guard against protectionist measures, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said at the WTO Informal Ministerial Gathering in Marrakesh, Morocco, yesterday (October 9, Marrakesh time).
The Informal Ministerial Gathering provides an opportunity for participating trade ministers to discuss on issues under negotiation in order to reach balanced results at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December.
Speaking at the discussion session themed "What can be realistically achieved at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference", Mr Yau said the development of domestic regulation disciplines in services is to avoid unnecessary restrictions on trade in services and hence is definitely a key priority for Hong Kong, being a staunch supporter of the rule-based multilateral trading system.
Mr Yau added that e-commerce is another priority subject for Hong Kong in view of the unprecedented potential it brings to both developed and developing economies in boosting growth in trade and the economy. Through establishing multilateral trade rules, the WTO can create a more transparent and facilitating e-commerce environment to promote global trade.
"We encourage members to give priority and intensify work to agree on a roadmap and a timetable to guide further discussion, with a view to achieving the convergence needed for members to embark on negotiations," Mr Yau said.
Apart from the domestic regulation and e-commerce, Mr Yau said Hong Kong has co-sponsored and expressed support for proposals such as facilitating cross-border investment and helping micro, small and medium enterprises to integrate into the global market.
After attending the session, Mr Yau held a bilateral meeting with the Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research of Switzerland, Mr Johann Schneider-Ammann to strengthen ties with the trading partner.
Mr Yau will continue to attend the Informal Ministerial Gathering today on its second day today (October 10, Marrakesh time).
Ends/Tuesday, October 10, 2017