§ Lord Moynihan
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What action they will be initiating within the World Trade Organisation to ensure that targets for liberalisation within regional trade agreements are clear and unambiguous; and [HL4366]
What action they will be initiating to ensure that measures taken within the World Trade Organisation for liberalisation of regional trade agreements do not adversely affect non-members, or the multilateral system. [HL4367]
§ Lord Sainsbury of Turville
The UK supports clarification of the rules governing regional trade agreements (RTAs) as an issue for the new Round of multilateral trade negotiations which we hope to see launched at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle later this year. In order to achieve this, the UK has been making its support for clarification of the rules governing RTAs clear within the EU. A number of other WTO members, including Australia, Japan and Hong Kong, are also seeking to include this issue in the new Round. We therefore hope to see this issue feature on the agenda for the new Round.
Assuming that clarification of the rules governing RTAs does form part of the agenda for the new Round, the UK will certainly want to ensure that any changes bolster rather than undermine the multilateral system and do not adversely affect the position of those who are not members of particular RTAs; and we will be pressing the Commission to adopt a negotiating approach to that end.