Minister Davies Arrives in France for an informal gathering of World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministers

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, has arrived in Paris, France where he will be attending an Informal Gathering of World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministers on 23 May 2019 on the side-lines of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Council Meeting scheduled for 22 and 23 May 2019.  The aim of the informal gathering of WTO Ministers is to exchange views and ideas on possible outcomes for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) that will take place in June 2020 in Kazakhstan. The informal gathering will bring together Ministers from both developed and developing countries from all the different regions.

The Ministerial Conference is the topmost decision-making body of the WTO and usually meets every two years. The last WTO MC meeting took place in December 2017 in Buenos Ares, Argentina. The Informal Gathering of WTO Ministers will discuss in particular WTO reforms and negotiating outcomes in preparation for MC12, as well as how to narrow the differences in the fishery subsidies negotiations.

The informal gathering of the WTO Ministers in Paris follows a WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries that took place on 13 – 14 May 2019 in New Delhi, India. The meeting adopted an Outcomes Ministerial Document- “Working Collectively to strengthening the WTO to promote development and inclusivity” and committed to work collectively with the aim of developing proposals to ensure that the interests of developing countries are reflected in the WTO reform process.

Minister Davies said “Our view is that the reform of the WTO should fundamentally be about reform for development and inclusivity.” He further noted that in regard to the fishery subsides negotiations “special and differential treatment (SDT) is a fundamental right of developing countries and should be fully implemented in the context of these negotiations to ensure that developing countries can use such flexibilities to support the development of their fisheries sectors in line with Sustainable Development Goal 14.6.”

Meanwhile, Minister Davies today addressed a meeting of France-South Africa Business Council. According to Davies, France is the 13th largest foreign investor in South Africa.

“A total of 28 companies from FRANCE invested in South Africa between January 2013 and September 2018 representing a total capital investment of R15,848.57 billion during this period.  A total of 32 FDI projects were recorded during this period with an average investment of R495.03 billion per project which created a total of 4209 jobs;” said Davies.

South Africa’s import basket from France is dominated by machinery and mechanical appliances, boilers, aircrafts such as helicopters and aeroplanes, pharmaceuticals, electrical machinery as well as motor vehicles for the transport of people.
South Africa’s export basket is dominated by motor vehicles, mineral fuels, as well as parts and components for the aerospace sector. Other exports include food and beverages. France is South Africa’s largest market for avocado pears.

Minister Davies flanked by Nicolas Rogeau (left) and Joël Séché of the Séché environnement. The company has invested in South Africa.

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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