Statement delivered on 12 June 2018 by Ambassador Harald Neple, Norway’s Permanent Representative to the WTO and EFTA:
Norway is pleased to note Colombia’s economic growth over recent years. We encourage the Government to continue its work to promote poverty reduction and a more equal income distribution. The work towards implementation of the peace accord has been more complicated and slower than expected, but must continue.
To be able to perform well in the programs, reforms and strategies already agreed upon, it will be highly important to strengthen institutions especially in the rural areas, and assure that progress is made in the infrastructure projects, which are essential to improve Colombia’s competitiveness internationally.
Colombia is an active member of the WTO, and a founding member of the organization. We highly value Colombia's many contributions to the work of the WTO, and its support to the multilateral trading system. Paragraph 3.2.1 in the Government’s report, deals with compliance with WTO rules in general. We have a specific question in this regard and wonder whether Colombia could confirm information provided during the February meeting of the Committee on Agriculture that revised schedules for export subsidies will be forwarded in the third quarter of 2018.
Norway is pleased to note that the Government report explicitly states that Colombia firmly believes that the WTO dispute settlement process is an asset to the multilateral trading system and must be safeguarded. We are also appreciative of Colombia’s work to reach consensus on a comprehensive outcome document from the negotiations on fisheries subsidies, including a ban on subsidies to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. We would furthermore like to thank Colombia for its active participation in different joint initiatives from Buenos Aires and note in particular its work as coordinator of the informal dialogue on investment facilitation for development.
Norway would like to congratulate Colombia on its work that resulted in the signing of Colombia’s accession agreement to the OECD membership on the 30th of May this year. We are pleased to note that since Colombia’s last TPR in 2012, the EFTA-Colombia free trade agreement has entered into force between our two countries.
Norway attaches great importance to international trade in maritime transport services. Maritime transport provides essential infrastructure for trade in general, investments and economic development. It is a longstanding interest of Norway that all members contribute to predictability and openness in this key sector through binding commitments. Against this background, we appreciate that trade in international maritime transport services is open for foreign participation in Colombia, thus providing a good basis for future commitments.
Climate change is a challenge facing all members. Norway urges Colombia, being a part of the International Communique on fossil fuel subsidy reform, to continue its efforts to reduce harmful fossil fuel subsidies.
Norway wishes Colombia a successful Trade Policy Review.
For more information, see the dedicated page for the TPR of Colombia on WTO’s website: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp472_e.htm