11 October 2022
Excellencies, dear colleagues,
Good Afternoon and welcome to this third plenary meeting of IDP in 2022.
First of all, let me welcome Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, Ambassador Luis Vayas Valdivieso, to participate in this dialogue, and thank Ambassador Jose Valencia for chairing today's discussion. My thanks also go to the Secretariat, all members and stakeholders for your participation and contribution.
As Ambassador Valencia introduced, IDP has made significant progress since the last plenary meeting in May. During MC12, we held a press conference and released the Coordinator's Ministerial Statement, which highlighted priorities of IDP for the next step. In the past few months, we have circulated two surveys to WTO members and stakeholders, organized a side event during the Eighth Aid for Trade (AfT) Global Review, and deepened coordination with stakeholders including UNEP, WCO and UNCTAD. In particular, on 19-20 September, we had a very informative pre-plenary meeting in which diversified stakeholders and private sectors shared very meaningful information and opinion.
The progress of IDP is the result of our joint efforts. It is encouraging to see that the breadth and depth of WTO members' participation in IDP is increasing. Not only are the 75 cosponsors actively promoting the initiative, but also many other WTO members who have not yet cosponsored the initiative are actively participating in and closely following the discussion. In the meantime, more and more stakeholders and private sectors have deeply joined this dialogue. Once again, we would like to thank all those stakeholders and private sectors for your strong support to the discussion. The information, insights, perspectives and suggestions that you shared, are invaluable for the development of IDP.
Today’s meeting is the first plenary meeting of IDP after MC12. With regard to the next step, I would like to take this opportunity to share my views by three key words.
The first keyword is “MC13”. In the Coordinator's Ministerial statement during the MC12, We committed to look for concrete, pragmatic, and effective outcomes at the latest by MC13. Currently the MC13 is scheduled in early 2024. With this goal and timeline in mind, we shall work harder.
The IDP ministerial statement provides us with a clear mandate, within which we will continually promote the sharing of experience and practices, improve the transparency of trade data and trade policies, promote capacity building and technical assistance, encourage members and stakeholders to feed back the surveys and collectively analysis all the elements, opinions and suggestions shared by members and stakeholders. We believe that all those joint efforts will lay a solid foundation for IDP to figure out how to achieve concrete results in MC13.
The second one is “cooperation”. WTO has a role to play to respond to the global challenge but it cannot solve it on its own.
We need to work hand in hand with all other international organizations. From the beginning of this dialogue, we have highlighted that it is crucial for IDP to strengthen interaction and cooperation with other international processes.
We are pleased to learn that the first negotiation of the UNEA on an international legal binding instrument to end plastic pollution will be launched in November. In past several years, UNEP has been a very active contributor to this dialogue. We are happy to see that IDP and its ministerial statement are listed in the UNEP negotiation document named “Existing information that might assist policymakers”(UNEP/PP/INC.1/13), and hope the negotiation in UNEA will further facilitate the discussion in IDP.
In WTO sectoral discussions on goods, HS classification is a issue frequently raised. IDP is not an exception. The WCO’s exploratory study on a possible strategic review of the harmonized system (HS) also gives an opportunity to look closely at whether the HS code could be updated according to the need in order to deal with plastic pollution. In the meantime, we are also preparing a workshop with UNCTAD on plastic alternatives and substitutes. As alternatives and substitutes are also one of the topics of our dialogue, in order to explore ways to facilitate trade on alternatives and substitutes through such cooperation, we do hope, WTO, as a trade organization could well play its role to address the plastics pollution.
The third key word is “members”. IDP is a initiative from the WTO members, by the members, and for the members. We are very pleased to see that Mauritius, Samoa and Mexico joined IDP after MC12. Let me take this opportunity to warmly welcome those three new cosponsors. It is not easy for such a new initiative to have 75 cosponsors in such a short period of time, but we still have lots of work to do. We will continue our outreach and maintain an open, inclusive, and transparent process. We look forward to the active participation of all WTO members.