Summary of U.S. Mission and Ambassador María L. Pagán’s Engagement at the World Trade Organization during the Week of December 4, 202

December 08, 2023

GENEVA – The U.S. delegation participated in the Trade Policy Review of Hong Kong, China on December 6 and 8. In the review, the United States raised a number of actions that Hong Kong, China could take to improve bilateral trade, including improving intellectual property rights protection and increased enforcement efforts against digital piracy. The United States also raised its concerns regarding the erosion of Hong Kong, China’s autonomy following the imposition of the National Security Law.
The U.S. delegation, including capital-based officials, also participated in a meeting of the WTO Trade Policy Review Body to consider the WTO Director General's most recent annual Overview of Developments in the International Trading Environment.
The U.S. delegation, including capital-based officials, participated in the Council for Trade in Services and subsidiary body meetings ("Services Cluster") during the week. This included participating in the formal Council meeting and an experience-sharing Session on COVID-19 and Trade in Services - Tourism Services. In addition, the United States attended events held on the Services Trade Policy Database 2023 Global Update and the new Services Trade Restrictiveness Index Dashboard as well as in an information session convened on the WTO e-commerce moratorium.
On December 8, the U.S. delegation participated in the E-Commerce Work Programme and contributed to discussions on potential MC-13 outcomes.
The U.S. delegation addressed the working groups on Central Asia Regional Women's Economic Empowerment Working Group (WEE) and the Digital Trade Working Group convened in Geneva under the auspices of the U.S.-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. The aim of the working group is to draw attention to the potential of digital transformation and its impact on women's economic empowerment. The discussion focused on the adoption of digital tools in trade that can help bridge the digital gender divide by giving women opportunities to earn additional income, engage in e-commerce, increase their employment opportunities, and thereby contribute to the overall economic growth. The speakers acknowledged that financial and institutional challenges need to be addressed domestically to further enable women's access to digital trade and e-commerce opportunities. The discussion contributes to the U.S. government's ongoing efforts and commitment to fostering women entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, ultimately promoting economic growth and inclusion.
The U.S. delegation, including capital-based officials, participated in the December 4-8 round of fisheries subsidies negotiations. The United States will continue to participate in negotiations with a view toward concluding negotiations by MC13, and will continue to press for a meaningful outcome, including disciplines on subsidies contingent on fishing beyond national jurisdiction, as well as greater transparency with respect to forced labor on fishing vessels, to be included in the agreement from the second phase of negotiations.
The U.S. delegation participated in an informal meeting of the Committee on Market Access, to discuss and plan for future thematic sessions on supply chain resilience.
The U.S. delegation attended the meeting of the Informal Working Group on Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs IWG) and discussed MSME-related provisions in regional trade agreements, making note of the compendium of good practices related to MSME integration in national Authorized Economic Operators programs that the Working Group compiled.
The U.S. delegation participated in a meeting of the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Transparency Working Group and an informal meeting of the TBT Committee, which discussed among other topics forthcoming proposals for the TBT 10th Triennial Review.
The U.S. delegation, with capital-based officials, presented at a training course on WTO Rules in Accession Negotiations organized by the WTO Secretariat aimed at building capacity of developing and least developed countries on WTO Agreements. The United States discussed its approach to WTO accessions focusing on the multilateral rules. Over 30 Geneva- and Capital-based participants attended, representing 11 acceding countries.
The U.S. delegation participated in over 10 bilateral and small group meetings on dispute settlement reform with WTO Members.
Throughout the week, the U.S. delegation participated in seven informal small group and bilateral discussions on Committee on Agriculture Special Session negotiating topics, and three plurilateral meetings on intellectual property rights, as well as additional meetings on development, transparency and other issues.
The U.S. delegation comprises Washington- and Geneva-based officials and is supported in its work in Geneva by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and a range of other U.S. agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, and Department of the Treasury. The delegation engaged in an additional 50 bilateral and plurilateral meetings during the week across a wide range of issues.