Address to Plenary Session of the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization

Speech, check against delivery

Bali, Indonesia

4 December 2013

Thank you Mr Chairman, Excellencies, distinguished colleagues and delegates,

I would like to register Australia's appreciation to Indonesia for their warm hospitality as hosts of the MC9 Conference.

Chairman Gita, Bali offers us a wonderful opportunity and a critical responsibility. If we can agree on the Bali package of initiatives we will greatly facilitate trade flows around the world, we will reform agricultural markets further and we will assist developing and least developed countries. For example, the International Chamber of Commerce has estimated that the trade facilitation package alone will create 21 million new jobs and 18 million of those jobs will be created in developing countries.

Just as significantly, we have a responsibility to protect the credibility of the WTO in establishing and improving global trade rules. The credibility of the WTO is on the line. For the first time since the WTO was established nearly 20 years ago we can see the prospects of a "first harvest" outcome from the Doha negotiations. And we must seize that opportunity. If we succeed this week, we will pave the way for more ambitious negotiations and the promise of significant growth in income and jobs around the world.

The cost of failure this week will fall most on developing countries who will lose the opportunity to boost sustainable economic growth and jobs. As such, this is not a North-South issue, but a benefit for all, especially the developing nations.

This is confirmed by the overwhelming support in this room today for an agreement to be reached this week in Bali. We need to work together to reach such an agreement on the few remaining areas of difference. Postponing or delaying our efforts is not an option.

We have heard much in the days leading up to this Conference about the importance of agriculture and food security as part of this package. Much of the discussion ignores the hard fact that further growing of trade will be fundamental in addressing the food security issue. It is also clear to us the policies which distort trade and production can impede long term food security.

In this regard, the agriculture and development issues are delicately balanced. Altering the draft decisions risks unravelling the package as a whole.

On the trade facilitation agreement, it is our assessment that the landing zones are clearly defined, now we need only to find the political leadership to support those outcomes.

Australia has supported and will continue to support the Director-General's efforts to guide Members towards this package that is now so close. He cannot do this alone. We support whatever steps are necessary to finalise the package by this Friday.

Mr Chairman, we all have a collective responsibility to ourselves and to the multilateral trade system to conclude the package by the end of this week.

If we all pitch in together, we can do this deal; and we will all win if we do.

Thank you.

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