Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb will advocate for the abolition of trade distorting export subsidies and new approaches to global trade liberalisation during this week’s Tenth Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Kenya (15-18 December).

Mr Robb said while Australia remained committed to the global multilateral trading system it was abundantly clear that the Doha Round would not be concluded in its current form.

“Multilateral trade outcomes are among the most powerful drivers of global economic growth, stability and prosperity but history shows they are extremely difficult to achieve given the number of countries and interests involved,” he said.

“MC10 provides an important opportunity for trade ministers from around the world to seriously discuss the future of the WTO and the multilateral trading system. I will take the opportunity to canvass new approaches to global trade liberalisation and reform. We need to focus on pathways that can deliver real outcomes in a timely manner.”

Mr Robb will also use the Nairobi meeting – which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the WTO – to argue the case for the abolition of remaining export subsidy entitlements. “The removal of up to US$11 billion of these trade distorting subsidies will help create a more even playing field and enhance the competitive position of Australian exporters,” he said.

Mr Robb noted that discussions around this sensitive issue in Geneva had proven difficult and significant differences remained. He will chair a meeting of The Cairns Group – a coalition of agricultural exporting countries with a commitment to reform – to help build consensus.

While in Nairobi, Mr Robb will also promote Australian trade and investment interests in East Africa and will participate in a roundtable with Australian mining companies to discuss ways to capitalise on the new commercial opportunities in these markets. 

He will co-host a reception with Pacific ministers to discuss options to strengthen trade and investment in our region and also deliver the keynote address at the Trade and Development Symposium to reaffirm Australia’s commitment to ensuring developing countries in the Indo-Pacific have every opportunity to fully participate in the global marketplace.

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