Joint Ministerial Statements
On the margins of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2017, 71 WTO members, including Ukraine, issued a Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce with the aim to initiate exploratory work together towards future WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce.
On 25 January 2019, 76 WTO members issued a second Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce, confirming the intention to commence WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce. Participation in this Joint Initiative is open to all WTO members.
Currently the participants of the Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce are 85 WTO members, who are actively involved in the constructive discussions within the framework of the plenary, focus group and small group meetings as well as written exchange on the trade-related aspects of e-commerce based on the text proposals submitted by 15 members, including Ukraine.
Within 2020, the efforts of the JSI participants resulted in the updated streamlined texts on the following issues:
- electronic authentication and electronic signatures;
- customs duties on electronic transmissions;
- paperless trading;
- consumer protection;
- unsolicited commercial electronic messages (spam);
- open government data;
- source codes;
- cross-border data transfer by electronic means;
- location of computing facilities.
Services Domestic Regulation
In the framework of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2017, 59 WTO members, including Ukraine, issued a Joint Statement on Services Domestic Regulation. The signatories reaffirmed their commitment to move negotiations on domestic regulation forward and to intensify work towards concluding the negotiations of disciplines in advance of the next Ministerial Conference. The objective is to develop any necessary disciplines to ensure that domestic regulation measures relating to qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade in services.
On 23 May 2019, 59 WTO members issued a second Joint Statement on Services Domestic Regulation in order to continue work on outstanding issues, with a view to incorporating the outcome in their respective schedules of specific commitments by the 12th Ministerial Conference. Participation in this Joint Initiative is open to all WTO members.
In 2020, the work of the participants is focused on finalizing the consolidated text on the services domestic regulation disciplines within the WTO and continuing outreach activities to engage new members in participation within the Joint Initiative.
Investment Facilitation for Development
In today's integrated global economy, the expansion of investment flows, which are indispensable for development, depends on making investment frameworks more transparent, predictable and efficient. In recognition of the dynamic links between trade, investment and development, 70 WTO members, including both developed and developing countries, agreed at the 11th Ministerial Conference in December 2017 to pursue structured discussions with the aim of developing a multilateral framework for facilitating foreign direct investment (Joint Ministerial Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development).
On 5 November 2019, 98 WTO members issued a second Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development. The signatories expressed support for the 2017 joint ministerial statement, and committed to intensify work to further develop the framework for facilitating foreign direct investment and work towards a concrete outcome on investment facilitation for development at the 12th Ministerial Conference. They also agreed to continue their outreach efforts towards WTO members, especially developing and least-developed members, to ensure that the framework helps to address their investment facilitation priorities and needs. Participation in this Joint Initiative is open to all WTO members.
Currently members discuss issues of transparency of investment measures, simplification of procedures for foreign direct investors, objectives of investment promotion agencies, domestic regulatory coherence, international cooperation on investment facilitation.
The Joint initiative does not address market access, investment protection rules and investor-state dispute settlement.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)
Today, 95% of companies across the globe are MSMEs, accounting for 60% of the world's total employment. However, MSMEs face a number of obstacles when seeking to participate in international trade. To address these obstacles, 88 WTO members signed a Joint Statement at the WTO's Ministerial Conference in December 2017 declaring their intention to create an Informal Working Group on MSMEs to explore ways in which WTO members could better support MSMEs' participation in global trade. Participation in this Joint Initiative is open to all WTO members.
The informal working group is focused on developing recommendations for WTO members on assisting MSMEs in access to information, trade facilitation, access to financial solutions in trade, regulatory policy, technical assistance and capacity building.
Members plan to agree on the text of draft decisions and recommendations on the abovementioned issues by December 2020.
Ministry for Development of Economy,
Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine
01008, Ukraine, Kiyv city,
Grushevsky str., 12/2