British Chambers of Commerce call for real change for businesses

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is calling for agreements reached at the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference to be translated into real change for businesses. 

Following the conclusion of the conference on Thursday night, William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said:

“The most important decision for many firms will be the eleventh-hour renewal, for 18 months at least, of the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmission of products. This is a key boost for exporters.

“We also welcome the renewed commitment for the WTO secretariat to work with business so we can make these agreements work to strengthen trade and economic growth globally.

“Key issues like food security and vaccines saw sufficient progress to avert forthcoming crises, but on these, together with subsidies, digital trade, and WTO reform, further steps are badly needed.

“We hope for many opportunities to engage in Geneva on key business priorities for action and reform ahead of the next Ministerial Conference at the end of 2023.”

Over 160 countries attended the event which agreed tangible outcomes to aid the global economy and make progress in a number of areas. 

These included:  

·       Renewal of the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmission of products until the next Ministerial Conference if held at the end of 2023 or until the end of March 2024 if it is delayed

·       Exclusion of UN World Food Programme destined products from any export bans.

·       Waivers from the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement to secure continuity of vaccine supplies in the COVID-19 pandemic

·       Re-commitment towards WTO reform agenda before next Ministerial Conference and fully functioning dispute resolution system in place by 2024.

·       Dedicated sessions on transit issues annually until next review of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

·       Commitment to renewed business engagement by the WTO Secretariat team.

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