Members participating in the 41st Session of the Steering Committee on the PCWTO, Brussels, 25 April 2018

Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, Brussels, April 2018

The 41st Session of the Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO took place in Brussels on 24 and 25 April 2018.

The meeting started with a hearing on "The way forward for the WTO after Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference (MC11)", held in the official INTA meeting, where members from partner parliaments participated and were able to take the floor.

It was introduced by WTO Deputy Director General Frederic Agah, who gave an overview of the current state of play. The following panel discussion, with participants from Geneva, Beijing, Washington and New Dehli, came to focus a lot on the issue of the steel and aluminium tariffs as well as the blockage at the WTO Appellate Body.

Discussion on the new initiative on e-commerce with Australian Ambassador Lisson to the WTO. The Steering Committee had invited the Ambassador, who flew in from Geneva, as the coordinator of the initiative on e-commerce that was launched in MC11. WTO rules on e-commerce date back to 1998, but it has not been possible to jointly agree on negotiations for updating the existing framework. Plurilateral explorative talks, open to all WTO Members, have therefore started under the coordination of Australia, in order to try to agree on issues that should be included in forthcoming negotiations.