Chair, the U.S. is Norway’s most important trading partner outside Europe. And the U.S. is one of the largest foreign direct investors in Norway. American and Norwegian companies work together every day to find smart and sustainable solutions in advanced fields such as health care, energy, transportation, and defense, to name a few.
Bilateral trade and economic activity between our two countries are based on shared democratic and free market values, creating jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
The US is the largest economy on the planet. Borrowing from the tune “New York New York”, for business it’s still very much “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”. On the trade policy side, we still look to you for leadership.
MC12 was a success. Moving forward we need to work on WTO reform on all three pillars. That will require courage and innovation.
The US has taken a leadership role in the WTO on transparency and notifications. We welcome and support these efforts. The US has been very active in the Trade Facilitation Committee with its enthusiastic support for implementation of the TF agreement as well as looking ahead for improvements of the agreement itself. The US has for many years voiced the need for more interactive and constructive discussions in WTO bodies, creating a seed for the ongoing reform discussions about the deliberative function. Your engagement throughout the work of the WTO benefits the organization.
We were therefore more than pleased when the US this year was willing to engage on dispute settlement. These discussions now need to focus on the most important issues, in a setting under the auspices of the DSB, with the objective to find a solution by 2024. A well-functioning 2-tier DS system is beneficial for all members. If the agreements on which it rules are found lacking, this needs to be addressed through negotiations.
Norway shares the US’ view that trade is an indispensable tool in addressing the climate crisis. We are pleased to see that the US takes an active part in plurilateral and multilateral processes, including in the WTO, and TESSD and the OECD, to ensure green growth and sustainable development.
Both Norway and the US have set bold climate targets and have industries ready and able to become leaders in the green transition. The US has just adopted ambitious clean energy policies at an historic level through the Inflation Reduction Act. Our interests are clearly aligned in several areas; offshore wind, zero emission transportation, batteries, and minerals, to name just a few.
International trade and cooperation allow for the best ideas, technologies, and solutions to be shared across the world. Policies that support the energy transition should work towards reducing barriers to trade and strengthening the transition to a low-carbon economy. By building sustainable and resilient supply chains together we are best positioned to solve the climate issues in the most efficient way. Therefore, we have concerns about the distortive and discriminatory domestic content and production requirements in the IRA.
We urge the US to implement these in line with its WTO obligations. We are deeply concerned about the damaging effects of increased protectionism, unilateral measures, and escalating trade tensions. Such measures threaten to undermine the rules-based multilateral trading system anchored in the WTO and undermine global economic growth and economic stability. A dispute settlement panel has recently ruled that the US' additional tariffs on steel and aluminum are inconsistent with the US’ WTO obligations. We urge the US to remove these tariffs.
Chair, a final bilateral point. Norway and the U.S. enjoy a close relationship in seafood trade, and we both have a common responsibility for ensuring sustainable management of marine resources. It is our understanding that the U.S. is considering expanding the scope of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP). SIMP is a risk-based traceability program with report requirements for imports of seafood species groups to prevent seafood from illegal, unreported, and unregulated fisheries from entering the U.S. market. However, if SIMP is intended to be risk-based, a process of expanding the scope of the program should also be used to remove from the traceability program species that do not represent such risks, such as Atlantic cod.
Chair, in times of turbulence upholding the multilateral system is more important than ever. We wish the US a successful trade policy review, and we look forward to working closely with the US in “making the WTO great again”.