Sumario: June 19, 2003:, 19 June 2003 Pascal Lamy in the Middle East for trade talks (Brussels)
EU Trade Commissioner will be in Egypt on 21-22 June to attend a mini-ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation. The purpose of this meeting is to inject political momentum in the on-going negotiations under the WTO Doha Development Agenda. He will then fly to Amman to discuss with the Jordanian Prime Minister Mr. Abu Ragheb, on the state of play of the EU-Jordan trade relations, the prospects for further regional integration and participate at the Extraordinary Annual Meeting of
the World Economic Forum. The meeting to this region is also timely in view of the upcoming 3rd EU-Mediterranean Trade Ministerial which will take place in Palermo on 7 July.
Before leaving to Sharm-Al-Sheik Pascal Lamy said: "Cancun is just around the corner and we still have a lot of work in front of us. I hope the meeting in Sharm-Al-Sheik will inject political impetus to the on-going negotiations so that substantial progress can be made before Cancun. More market opening and improved rules are essential to make trade contribute to development and this region is particularly well placed to draw these benefits".
The WTO mini-ministerial meeting hosted by the Egyptian Trade Minister Mr. Boutros-Galli in Sharm-Al-Sheik will gather trade ministers from around 30 WTO countries together with the WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi. The main purpose of the meeting is to give political impetus to the on-going WTO talks so that technical work can progress in Geneva.
Discussions will focus on the issues of agriculture and non-agricultural products, access to medicines, rules giving developing countries special and differential treatment as well as the so-called Singapore issues (competition, trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement and investments).
In addition to the Prime Minister, during his visit to Amman Pascal Lamy will meet with Foreign Minister Dr Marwan Muasher, Planing Minister Dr Bassem Awadallah and the Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Salah Eddin Al-Bashir.
During his visit Mr. Lamy will examine bilateral trade matters resulting from the implementation of the EU-Jordan Association Agreement. He will express his continued support for the creation of a regional free trade area under the "Agadir process" also including Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, in which Jordan has played a key role. He will also examine ways in which both Jordan can be assisted in speeding up its economic reform process through technical assistance or institutional capacity building. The EU is also committed to providing such support for the Agadir free trade process.
Mr. Lamy will also participate at the extraordinary annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, where he will deliver a speech on the EUs trade relations with the Mediterranean region and the Middle East.