Procedure : 2018/2084(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0379/2018

Texts tabled :

A8-0379/2018

Debates :

PV 28/11/2018 - 20
CRE 28/11/2018 - 20

Votes :

PV 29/11/2018 - 8.12
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0477

REPORT     
PDF 347kWORD 75k
22.11.2018
PE 626.768v02-00 A8-0379/2018

on WTO: the way forward

(2018/2084(INI))

Committee on International Trade

Rapporteurs: Bernd Lange, Paul Rübig

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on WTO: the way forward

(2018/2084(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation (WTO),

–  having regard to the Doha Ministerial Declaration of the WTO of 14 November 2001(1),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the WTO, in particular those of 24 April 2008 on ‘Towards a reform of the World Trade Organisation’(2) and of 15 November 2017 on ‘Multilateral negotiations in view of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference’(3),

–  having regard to the Outcome Document adopted by consensus on 10 December 2017 at the Annual Session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO in Buenos Aires(4),

–  having regard to the results, which include a series of Ministerial Decisions, of the 11th Ministerial Conference held in Buenos Aires in December 2017, at which it was not possible to adopt a Ministerial Declaration(5),

–  having regard to the 6th Global Review of Aid for Trade, which took place in Geneva from 11 to 13 July 2017(6),

–  having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals(7),

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, effective since November 2016,

–  having regard to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published on 8 October 2018, which shows that limiting global warming to 1.5° C is still possible if countries ratchet up their Nationally Determined Contributions by 2020,

–  having regard to paragraph 16 of the European Council conclusions of 28 June 2018(8),

–  having regard to the joint statement of the trilateral meeting of the trade ministers of the United States, Japan and the European Union adopted on 31 May 2018(9),

–  having regard to the joint statement of the 20th EU-China Summit establishing a joint working group on WTO reform chaired at vice-ministerial level(10);

–  having regard to the Commission’s concept paper of 18 September 2018 on WTO modernisation(11),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A8-0379/2018),

A.  whereas since its creation the WTO has played a pivotal role in strengthening multilateralism, promoting an inclusive world economic order and fostering an open, rules-based and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system; whereas developing countries now account for about half of world trade, up from 33 % in 2000, while the number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half since 1990, to just under one billion; whereas the WTO is built upon a system of rights and obligations, which obligates members to open their own markets and not to discriminate;

B.  whereas the WTO should remain the main point of reference for governments and businesses in rule-setting and trade disputes;

C.  whereas the EU has consistently advocated a strong multilateral and rules-based approach to trade, as the EU economy, and workers and consumers in the EU and its partners, are increasingly integrated with global value chains and depend on predictable developments in international trade for both imports and exports and in social and environmental conditions;

D.  whereas the results of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017 were disappointing, and clearly showed that the negotiating function of the organisation is paralysed;

E.  whereas the rules-based multilateral trading system is facing its deepest crisis since the creation of the WTO, threatening the basic functions of the organisation, namely setting the essential rules and structure for international trade and delivering the most effective and developed dispute settlement mechanism of any multilateral organisation;

F.  whereas despite important exceptions such as the Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO trade reform has lagged since the 2000s;

G.  whereas the Appellate Body is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the WTO owing to the binding character of its decisions and its status as an independent and impartial review body; whereas the Appellate Body’s membership fell to the minimum number of judges it needs to function after the ending of the term of Judge Shree Baboo Chekitan Servansing, leaving only three judges appointed; whereas this deadlock, caused by the US administration, could lead to the collapse of a system that is essential to managing disputes among all WTO members;

1.  Reiterates its full commitment to the enduring value of multilateralism, and calls for a trade agenda based on fair and rules-based trade for the benefit of all, which contributes to peace, security and the sustainable development agenda by including and enhancing social, environmental and human rights, and ensuring that multilaterally agreed and harmonised rules are uniformly applied to all and effectively upheld; stresses that the WTO must also contribute to promoting fair trade and combating unfair practices; underlines that trade is not an end in itself but a tool for reaching globally defined development goals;

2.  Considers that it is now a matter of urgency to proceed to the modernisation of the WTO, in the light of the latest developments but also owing to the long-standing lack of progress on the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), and to fundamentally review several aspects of the WTO’s functioning with a view to increasing both its effectiveness and its legitimacy; considers it essential, in this perspective, for the WTO Secretariat to create opportunities for all WTO members to be involved in the debate from the beginning; calls on the Commission and the EU Member States in the WTO to reach out to other WTO members, in particular our major trading partners such as the US, Japan, China, Canada, Brazil and India, in order to agree on common positions; is encouraged by the initial statements from the EU-China summit regarding the reform of the WTO;

3.  Welcomes in this regard the mandate given by the European Council to the Commission on 28-29 June 2018, and takes note of the approach outlined in the conclusions, as well as of the Commission's concept paper on WTO modernisation of 18 September 2018 and Canada’s proposals for WTO reform of 25 September 2018; looks forward to the publication of more proposals, especially from developing countries, as well as from working groups already established among WTO member states;

4.  Expresses its utmost concern over the fact that only three posts on the Appellate Body are filled, thus severely undermining the current and proper functioning of the dispute settlement process, and calls firmly on the US to resolve this situation in a way that allows for the vacant Appellate Body seats to be filled expeditiously; welcomes the initial proposals put forward by the Commission in its concept paper on WTO modernisation to resolve the deadlock by addressing some of the concerns that have been raised, including through transitional rules for outgoing members or changes to the length of terms on the Appellate Body or to the maximum time allowed before the publication of a report, as well as to the setting of new case-law by the Appellate Body; notes that the concerns expressed by the US regarding the Appellate Body extend beyond procedural changes and entail significant reforms to the rulings of the body’s judges;

5.  Views the decision of the US to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium products on 31 May 2018 on grounds of ‘national security’ under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 as unjustified and considers that it fails to address the challenge posed by excess steel in global markets and does not comply with WTO rules; strongly encourages the Commission to work with the US to address trade disagreements and remove barriers to trade within the WTO’s rules-based dispute settlement framework;

6.  Is of the view that, as a way to address the root causes of the current crisis, it is necessary for the WTO to adapt to a changing world while delivering on some of the outstanding issues of the DDA, especially regarding food security; considers that it is therefore necessary:

a)  to address current gaps in the rulebook in order to level the playing field as regards market-distorting subsidies and state-owned enterprises, as well as to keep intellectual property protection and investment market access up to date; also to address issues of protection and forced source code disclosure and other state- directed activities giving rise to overcapacities, as well as regulatory barriers to services and investment including technology transfers, requirements of joint ventures and local content requirements; and to monitor the implementation, administration and operation of existing agreements;

b)  to create the necessary regulatory framework to cope with technological developments by covering e-commerce, global value chains, public procurement, updated domestic regulation for services, and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs);

c)  to master the most pressing global environmental and social challenges, ensuring systemic policy coherence between trade, labour and environmental agendas;

d)  to welcome in this regard, the joint statements that were adopted in Buenos Aires on e-commerce, domestic regulation, investment facilitation and women’s economic empowerment, as well as the work that has been done on these issues since then;

7.  Stresses that the EU should emphasise its rules on privacy and data protection so that they may be promoted at international level and become a benchmark for the development of international and multilateral standards;

8.  Recalls that access to public procurement is one of the European Union's priorities in its trade negotiations and that, in this sense, the fulfilment of the commitments of WTO members to join the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and improvements in the functioning of and respect for the provisions of this agreement are expected in a spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit; notes that the full effectiveness of potential improvements in the state aid framework and the role of public enterprises partly depends on progress in this area; calls on the Commission to work with those members who are in the process of acceding to the GPA to accelerate their efforts in order to extend the benefits of procurement liberalisation among WTO members;

9.  Is convinced that the current differentiation between developed and developing countries does not reflect the economic reality and the effective situation in the WTO, and that this has been an obstacle to advancing the Doha Round, to the detriment of countries most in need; urges advanced developing countries to take up their share of responsibility and make contributions commensurate to their level of development and (sectoral) competitiveness; notes that the Commission’s concept paper calls for rules under which developing countries will graduate from their low-income status as they grow richer; believes the special and differential treatment (S&DT) mechanism should be re-examined in order to better reflect human development indexes, as a policy tool enabling developing countries to link implementation of multilateral agreements with receiving assistance from richer countries and donor organisations;

10.  Strongly welcomes the ratification by two thirds of the WTO membership of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in February 2017; is convinced that the TFA sets an important example and could provide a model for future WTO deals, taking into account the differences in the development status and needs of the WTO’s members; encourages WTO members to take responsibility and maintain their commitments in accordance with their real economic power and capabilities; considers that the next challenges will be the full ratification of the agreement, especially by the African members who are expected to benefit the most from the agreement, the effective implementation of the TFA, and the notification of development assistance under the agreement;

11.  Acknowledges that on the whole China’s accession to the WTO in 2001 has increased access to its domestic market, which has benefited the global economy; is concerned that China does not apply the spirit and principles of the WTO’s tenets of national treatment;

12.  Takes the view that it is necessary to revise the functioning of the negotiating process by introducing more flexibility than has currently been the case under the consensus rule, while recognising that the Single Undertaking approach has limited the effectiveness of multilateral trade governance; express its support for the concept of flexible multilateralism, whereby WTO members interested in pursuing a certain issue where full consensus is not yet possible should be able to advance and conclude plurilateral agreements, either through so-called WTO Annex 4 agreements, in accordance with Article II:3, Article III:1, and Article X:9 of the Marrakesh Agreement, or via ‘critical mass’ agreements that extend negotiated concessions to the WTO membership on a most-favoured-nation (MFN) basis; encourages the Commission not to use these articles as an alternative to constructive dialogue with WTO members to address barriers to trade and reform of the WTO and its functions; considers in this regard that its members should boost the WTO’s capacity-building to ensure that it is equipped with financial and human resources in accordance with expanded needs so as to maintain the same quality of work; believes that, in general, the monetary contributions of new members should increase the WTO’s budget and not lead to lower membership fees for existing members;

13.  Recognises that while rules-based multilateralism remains the key part of the WTO’s structure, there are possibilities for deeper and more flexible plurilateral cooperation among interested states in areas where consensus has proven difficult to achieve; notes that such agreements must complement and not undermine the multilateral agenda and should be used not as alternative fora to address trade barriers, but rather as stepping‑stones towards progress at the multilateral level; calls for the resumption of plurilateral negotiations for the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), and asks for special rules for SMEs in plurilateral and multilateral agreements; stresses the importance of the WTO continuing and deepening its work in international cooperation with other international organisations such as, but not limited to the UN, the OECD, the WCO, and the ILO;

14.  Stresses the role that trade can and must play in contributing to development and the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of the Paris Agreement commitments in the fight against climate change; regrets that the EGA was blocked in 2016 and recalls its potential to provide greater access to green technologies and help meet the above-mentioned commitments; underlines that beyond the negotiations on fisheries subsidies, the WTO must now define the more concrete action that needs to be taken in this regard to protect marine life; recalls that the WTO concept of Process and Production Methods (PPM) offers possibilities to differentiate among so-called ‘like-products’ for their environmental impact; suggests revitalising the WTO’s Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE), with the mandate of drawing up criteria for combating environmental free-riding and establishing closer links to the UNFCCC Secretariat;

15.  Reaffirms the links between gender equality and inclusive development, as also expressed in SDG 5, emphasising that women’s empowerment is key to the eradication of poverty and that removing barriers to women’s participation in trade is critical for economic development; welcomes the increased focus of the WTO on issues related to trade and gender, and encourages all 121 signatories to the 2017 Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment to deliver on their commitments; emphasises the need for a systemic gender approach to all fields of WTO rule-making in the form of gender-specific impact assessments; notes the importance of initiatives such as SheTrades in highlighting the positive role of women in trade and encouraging greater participation of women in international trade around the world;

16.  Draws attention to the conclusions of the 6th Global Review of Aid for Trade, held in Geneva in July 2017, entitled ‘Promoting Trade, Inclusiveness and Connectivity for Sustainable Development’; supports the view that this should be translated into concrete action in order to facilitate e-commerce and turn digital opportunities, such as blockchain, into trade realities, for developing countries as well; notes in this regard that investment in both physical and digital infrastructure, as being crucial to achieving progress in this area, remains a key challenge; calls, therefore, on WTO members to promote investment in both physical and digital infrastructure, encouraging, among other initiatives, public-private partnerships;

17.  Reiterates its call for the EU to ensure that its activities with developing countries, in the areas of both development and trade, are based on a balanced framework among equal partners, are aligned with the principle of Policy Coherence for Development established in Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and are aimed at the promotion of and respect for human rights;

18.  Regrets that the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference did not secure progress on issues of key importance to developing countries; welcomes, however, the enhanced preferential treatment previously secured at the WTO for LDCs, including preferential rules of origin and treatment for service providers, and emphasises the need to undertake capacity building measures that would allow suppliers from LDCs to benefit from the LDC services waiver;

19.  Stresses that transparency is a key element in ensuring a stable and predictable trading and investment environment; believes it is important to enhance the transparency of monitoring procedures by increasing incentives for WTO members to comply with notification requirements, reducing their complexity and burdens and by providing capacity-building if needed, while wilful non-compliance should be discouraged and challenged;

20.  Stresses that the role of the WTO Secretariat in facilitating and safeguarding a bottom-up approach for the active participation of all members is critical and that it should be further strengthened and made more flexible in support of various negotiating processes, as well as in implementation and monitoring functions; considers it necessary to strengthen the financial and human means and resources available to the WTO Secretariat, and urges WTO members to mutually fulfil their responsibilities in this regard; expresses the view that the regular work of the WTO committees should also be revitalised by giving their chairs a more active role in developing and proposing solutions and compromises, thus going beyond simply moderating the contributions of members, and that this extended task should be supported by the Secretariat;

21.  Urges the WTO members to ensure democratic legitimacy and transparency by strengthening the parliamentary dimension of the WTO, and to support a memorandum of understanding establishing a formal working relationship with the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO; stresses, in this regard, the need to ensure that parliamentarians have full access to trade negotiations and are involved in the formulation and implementation of WTO decisions, and that trade policies are properly scrutinised in the interests of their citizens;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the Director-General of the WTO.

(1)

Doha Ministerial Declaration (WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1) of 14 November 2001 – https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/min01_e/mindecl_e.htm

(2)

OJ C 259E, 29.10.2009, p. 77.

(3)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0439.

(4)

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/pcwto/en/sessions/2017.html

(5)

https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news17_e/mc11_10dec17_e.htm

(6)

https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/devel_e/a4t_e/gr17_e/gr17programme_e.htm

(7)

http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

(8)

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/06/29/20180628-euco-conclusions-final/

(9)

http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/may/tradoc_156906.pdf

(10)

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/36165/final-eu-cn-joint-statement-consolidated-text-with-climate-change-clean-energy-annex.pdf

(11)

http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/september/tradoc_157331.pdf


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The European Parliament has always been a staunch defender of the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core, since WTO was created in 1994. The European Parliament has closely followed the work in the WTO and actively supported the creation of a parliamentary dimension together with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, through the joint initiative of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO. Members of the European Parliament have taken part in the WTO Ministerial Conferences, mandated by resolutions setting out its position ahead of these delegations.

Already in 2008, the European Parliament adopted a resolution, advocating a review of the functioning of the WTO, as negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda were stalled. Following the last WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017, where it became evident that the negotiating function of the organisation was paralysed, this has become an even more urgent task.

In fact, the rules-based multilateral trading system is facing its deepest crisis ever, with both its negotiating function as well as the dispute settlement mechanism being threatened.

The crisis could deepen further in the coming months, if more unilateral measures are threatened and imposed, while at the same time appointments of new members on the Appellate Body are being blocked, which can put the whole dispute settlement at risk.

In the current circumstances, WTO needs modernisation to address the challenges faced by the global trading system and to ensure that it remains vital, relevant and effective. This means revisiting both the rules and the processes of the WTO, to ensure that it addresses the challenges of 21st century trade realities. The system has to be flexible enough to accommodate different sets of ambition among its membership, rules have to be enforced effectively and efficiently and there should be checks and balances to ensure its Members pursue the objectives of market openness and non-discrimination.

Make the WTO more relevant and adaptive to a changing world

With the exception of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation and agricultural export subsidies, it has not been possible to advance negotiations in the WTO for a number of years. This has in part been a function of the lack of flexibility within the system, which can frustrate like-minded Members that wish to go ahead with rule-making within the WTO as a group.

The initiatives launched in Buenos Aires with joint statements by large groups of Members committing to explore negotiations in some specific areas, such as the statements on e-commerce, domestic regulation as well as investment facilitation are a good step in the direction of increased flexibility in negotiations.

These plurilateral processes should be encouraged, but the process must be open to all WTO Members.

We also believe that it is high time that WTO gets more actively involved in how trade can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, beyond the negotiations on fisheries subsidies, which is an important contribution. We welcome the positive steps that have been taken regarding trade and gender, and want to make sure that these efforts continue.

Another factor for the impasse in the WTO’s negotiating function is the question of development and special and differential treatment. Since the creation of the WTO, the rapid economic growth among developing countries has led to the emergence of significant differences in economic development. While the EU acknowledges that special rules may be necessary to address specific development needs, a re-examination of the way development flexibilities operate and who can benefit from them is warranted, in order to ensure appropriate, targeted assistance and ambitious disciplines.

At the same time, the root causes of the current crisis are also to be found in gaps in the rulebook leading to distortions, many of which associated with non-market policies and practices in major trading nations, that the WTO does not seem able to address adequately.

Strengthen the WTO’s effectiveness

The dispute settlement function of the WTO is at grave danger, and swift action by the EU is needed to preserve it. There should therefore be a comprehensive proposal to address the concerns raised by the WTO Member blocking the Appellate Body appointments to the extent that they have merit, while preserving and further strengthening the main features and principles of the WTO dispute settlement system.

Transparency is a key element in ensuring a stable and predictable trading and investment environment, but also to enforcing the rules. However, there is often poor compliance with notification requirements, while the monitoring work of the WTO regular committees is sub-optimal. The EU should work to:

•  Enhance transparency by increasing incentives for Members to comply with notification requirements and by challenging wilful non-compliance; and

•  Use regular committees better to address trade issues by empowering the WTO secretariat.


OPINION of the Committee on Development (11.10.2018)

for the Committee on International Trade

on the WTO: the way forward

(2018/2084(INI))

Rapporteur for opinion: Lola Sánchez Caldentey

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls that trade liberalisation, if accompanied by appropriate policies and institutions that maximise and distribute better the benefits of trade, can be positive in terms of reducing poverty and inequalities, but is not sufficient per se in advancing sustainable development; recalls that competitiveness and economic growth are not goals in themselves, but means to be put to use for the benefit of human beings; underlines, in this context, that trade should remain a tool for sustainable development; welcomes the fact that developing countries now constitute about half of world trade, up from 33 % in 2000, and that the number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half since 1990, to just under one billion people;

2.  Reiterates the importance of promoting policy reforms in the multilateral trading system which support development-related objectives, namely through the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030; underlines the potential of the WTO as an efficient rules-based multilateral negotiating forum which provides a platform for open discussion on global trade-related issues; insists that the EU should continue to promote further modernisation and the democratisation of the WTO in order to ensure all countries are represented on an equal footing;

3.  Recalls that the lack of integration of human rights norms and standards into global rules governing trade and investment makes it difficult to hold companies accountable; stresses the need to rebalance trade and investment law with human rights law, notably in global supply chains; calls on the EU, to this end, to take initiatives in the WTO for the regulation of specific global supply chains, notably in the garment sector as a first step; reiterates, in addition, the importance of the EU being actively involved in the process of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OEIGWG) and to uphold the primacy of human rights over trade interests;

4.  Calls for a world trade agenda based on the principle of fair trade for the benefit of all, which puts development and social, environmental and human rights at the centre of the process and has a special focus on the needs of low-income developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs); highlights in this regard the need to promote comprehensive, binding and enforceable provisions on social, labour and environmental standards in trade agreements;

5.  Urges that human rights be genuinely protected and that redress mechanisms that are effective and accessible for individuals be instituted for the resolution of disagreements concerning human rights violations; recalls the importance of mainstreaming gender equality and the empowerment of women in all trade policies, including WTO rules;

6.  Takes the view that, since the Doha Round was launched in 2001, the world has changed dramatically in economic, political and technological terms; encourages the WTO, therefore, to better reflect the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Doha Development Agenda in order to properly address new challenges such as e-commerce, digital trade, investment transparency, subsidies and overcapacity, global value chains, public procurement, and domestic regulation for services, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; stresses the need to reform the WTO, including the dispute settlement mechanism, so as to ensure a fair and balanced multilateral trading system; underlines the importance for WTO members that are developing countries of fulfilling their obligations and deciding on their own pace and sequencing of trade liberalisation according to their level of development;

7.  Demands increased support for Aid for Trade projects in the framework of development assistance, in order to turn digital opportunities into trade realities for developing countries;

8.  Urges the EU and the Member States to duly acknowledge the difficulties met by developing countries in implementing their obligations under the WTO agreements; notes that these problems include (a) the prohibition of investment measures and subsidies, making it harder to encourage domestic industry; (b) import liberalisation in agriculture, threatening the viability and livelihoods of small farmers whose products face competition from cheaper imported foods; (c) the negative impact of a high-standard intellectual property rights (IPR) regime on access to medicine and transfer of technologies; and (d) increasing pressures on developing countries to open up their services sectors, which could undermine the viability of local service providers;

9.  Reiterates its call for the EU to ensure that its activities with developing countries, both in the field of development and trade, are based on a balanced framework among equal partners, are aligned with the principle of Policy Coherence for Development established in Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and are aimed at the promotion of and respect for human rights;

10.  Welcomes the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement on 22 February 2017 and notes that this agreement should bring significant benefits in particular to developing countries; recalls the importance of providing targeted and sustainable technical, financial and capacity building assistance to support WTO members that are developing countries, in particular LDCs, in implementing the agreement and adjusting to the reform process;

11.  Takes the view that WTO rules and other multilateral trade agreements should broaden the scope for special and differential treatment (SDT) in order to enable a more active use of infant industry promotion tools; urges the EU and the Member States to secure the principle of SDT for all WTO members classified by the World Bank as developing countries;

12.  Highlights the fact that trade agreements can impact negatively on food security in developing countries; regrets the fact that the two instruments proposed by developing countries in the remit of negotiations at the WTO to promote the livelihoods of small farmers, food security and rural development, namely Special Products (SP) and a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM), have not been established; calls for the EU to support the demands of developing countries to protect their food production systems and to protect their populations from the potentially destructive effects of cheap imports, including in the remit of Economic Partnership Agreements;

13.  Regrets that the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference did not secure progress on issues of key importance to developing countries; welcomes, however, enhanced preferential treatment previously secured at the WTO for LDCs, including preferential rules of origin and treatment for service providers, and emphasises the need to undertake capacity-building measures that would allow suppliers from LDCs to benefit from the LDC services waiver;

14.  Stresses that the objective of sustainable development should become the principle guiding the work of the WTO, whose rules and operations should be designed accordingly and aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement, which must be used as a benchmark for further commitments; underlines, moreover, the importance of ensuring the sustainability of global value chains and their alignment with human rights and social and environmental standards;

15.  Emphasises the importance of the provision of sufficient good-quality food and clean water and the building of additional wastewater disposal facilities in order to deliver on SDGs 2 and 6; draws attention, furthermore, to the scale and implications of energy poverty in developing countries, and demands additional action to reduce energy poverty in line with SDG 7, in particular in remote rural areas and off-grid energy regions;

16.  Insists that the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) should have a more developmental focus; recalls the paramount importance of ensuring access to medicines for all, and to this end encourages a more comprehensive use of TRIPS flexibilities as enshrined in the Doha Declaration; expresses its concern at current trends of seed privatisation that undermines people’s right to food; calls on the Commission to further explore and adopt measures against biopiracy;

17.  Expresses its support for the mechanism of carbon border tax adjustments, as an important tool to guarantee fair competition for companies taking action to reduce their climate impact;

18.  Deplores the fact that the obligations under the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) do not acknowledge the right of states to adopt regulations based on the precautionary principle; urges the EU and the Member States to defend full recognition of this principle in WTO obligations;

19.  Is concerned, in the above context, that the proliferation of bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements could lead to the fragmentation of international trade policy and thus undermine the role of the WTO; recalls the fact that developing countries are most in need of a multilateral system to defend their interests; calls, therefore, for the EU and its Member States to make additional efforts to once again place the WTO at the centre of global trade governance and to refrain from requesting WTO+ provisions from developing countries in plurilateral or bilateral treaties, thereby undermining the flexibility mechanisms of the WTO which are designed explicitly to protect their interests;

20.  Expresses its utmost concern that several vacant posts on the Appellate Body of the WTO remain vacant and that this circumstance hinders the proper functioning of the dispute settlement mechanism; invites the Commission, therefore, to come forward with concrete proposals to resolve this unfortunate deadlock;

21.  Calls for the EU to continue to make the case for increasing the importance of the parliamentary dimension of the WTO, in particular through an increase in financial and personnel support to the responsible secretariat; calls on WTO members to ensure democratic legitimacy and transparency by strengthening the parliamentary dimension of the WTO; stresses, in this connection, the need to ensure that parliamentarians have better access to trade negotiations and are involved in the formulation and implementation of WTO decisions, and that trade policies are properly scrutinised in the interests of the citizens.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

9.10.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

14

2

10

Members present for the final vote

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Ignazio Corrao, Mireille D’Ornano, Nirj Deva, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Maria Heubuch, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Stelios Kouloglou, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, Vincent Peillon, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Eleni Theocharous, Mirja Vehkaperä, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Joachim Zeller, Željana Zovko, Anna Záborská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Thierry Cornillet, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Ádám Kósa, Florent Marcellesi, Paul Rübig, Kathleen Van Brempt

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Krzysztof Hetman, Kati Piri

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

14

+

ALDE

Mirja Vehkaperä

EFDD

Ignazio Corrao, Mireille D’Ornano

GUE/NGL

Stelios Kouloglou, Lola Sánchez Caldentey

S&D

Enrique Guerrero Salom, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, Vincent Peillon, Kati Piri, Kathleen Van Brempt

VERTS/ALE

Maria Heubuch, Florent Marcellesi

2

-

PPE

Teresa Jiménez‑Becerril Barrio, Paul Rübig

10

0

ALDE

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Thierry Cornillet

ECR

Nirj Deva, Eleni Theocharous

PPE

Krzysztof Hetman, Ádám Kósa, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Joachim Zeller, Željana Zovko, Anna Záborská

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

20.11.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

31

3

3

Members present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Maria Arena, Tiziana Beghin, David Borrelli, David Campbell Bannerman, Daniel Caspary, Salvatore Cicu, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Christofer Fjellner, Eleonora Forenza, Christophe Hansen, Nadja Hirsch, Yannick Jadot, France Jamet, Elsi Katainen, Jude Kirton-Darling, Danilo Oscar Lancini, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Emma McClarkin, Anne-Marie Mineur, Sorin Moisă, Alessia Maria Mosca, Franck Proust, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Joachim Schuster, Joachim Starbatty, Adam Szejnfeld, William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Iuliu Winkler

Substitutes present for the final vote

Nicola Danti, Paul Rübig, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Karin Kadenbach, Rupert Matthews


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

31

+

ALDE

Nadja Hirsch, Elsi Katainen, Marietje Schaake

ECR

David Campbell Bannerman, Emma McClarkin, Rupert Matthews, Joachim Starbatty

EFDD

William (The Earl of) Dartmouth

GUE/NGL

Helmut Scholz

NI

David Borrelli

PPE

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Daniel Caspary, Salvatore Cicu, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Christofer Fjellner, Christophe Hansen, Sorin Moisă, Franck Proust, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Paul Rübig, Adam Szejnfeld, Jarosław Wałęsa, Iuliu Winkler

S&D

Maria Arena, Nicola Danti, Karin Kadenbach, Jude Kirton-Darling, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Alessia Maria Mosca, Joachim Schuster

3

-

ENF

France Jamet, Danilo Oscar Lancini

GUE/NGL

Anne-Marie Mineur

3

0

EFDD

Tiziana Beghin

GUE/NGL

Eleonora Forenza

VERTS/ALE

Yannick Jadot

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 26 November 2018Legal notice