Kenya Appeal to Ministers at WTO MC11 in Buenos Aires

11TH WTO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE PLENARY STATEMENT BY AMB. (DR.) AMINA C. MOHAMED, EGH, CAV, CABINET SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPUBLIC OF KENYA

 MONDAY 11 DECEMBER, 2017: AT 11.00H

 The Chairperson of the Eleventh Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference, H.E. Susanna Malcorra,

Honourable Ministers,

Chairman of the General Council

The Director-General of the WTO,

Heads of Delegation,

Excellencies,

Ministers,

Ambassadors

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start by congratulating the Government and the people of Argentina for hosting the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference. We sincerely appreciate the warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements put in place. Madam Chair, your leadership during this meeting has been legendary and you have our full support. I also congratulate the Director-General for getting all of us here. Let me also pay tribute to the indefatigable WTO Secretariat staff who have worked very hard to ensure that our participation at this Ministerial Conference is fully facilitated.

Allow me to convey a message of good will and success from the Government and the people of Kenya who have fond memories of hosting the tenth session of the Ministerial Conference (WTO MC10) and to assure you of their full support. We are confident that this eleventh session (WTO MC11) will build on the gains that we achieved in Nairobi and deliver further substantive outcomes with a strong development component. The world expects a positive, hopeful signal through this August gathering and we must rise to the occasion.

History teaches us that it is in precisely these times of uncertainty and economic difficulties that we all need to collectively ensure that the multilateral trading system remains resilient. Now more than ever, it is important that we, the Ministers responsible for international trade, voice our strong collective commitment to pen multilateralism and a WTO that delivers meaningful results.

To achieve this, we will need to work together over the next few days, with unity of purpose and resolve towards our common interest of safeguarding the WTO in all its functions-particularly its negotiating function, which is currently facing a few challenges.

WTO provides a platform for debate, discussions, consultations and dispute resolution. It is a comprehensive package designed to move the world from the throes of disagreement, misunderstanding, rigidity and conflict. It is the one thing that must remain a constant, providing an avenue to conclude, sometimes review old issues, discuss new ones, negotiate them and agree on new rules.

It is appropriate, adequate and sufficient. Moving away from it when it saves us from our worst instincts of ignoring and rejecting others, looking inward and becoming protectionist would leave our world more unequal and our communities more vulnerable.

We have proved, time and again, that consensus is possible. Partnerships work better than singularity. Having committed not ti leave anyone behind, WTO offers a mechanism where we can all engage and benefit from trade and international cooperation and economic growth.  And yes we are not perfect and that’s why we must remain dynamic and continuously improve and remain relevant.

Ladies and Gentlemen

According to the WTO forecast, global trade continues to gradually gain momentum despite uncertainty in international the policy environment.  This Conference, therefore, provides an additional much-needed opportunity to make decisions that will contribute to sustained growth in world trade ensuring that trade continues to play its full role in the development agenda, and in continuing to improve the lives of people around the world, in a very tangible manner. We must preserve our place and the place of WTO and we can do this by continuing to instil confidence in the multilateral trading system, by ensuring that we abide by the decisions that we have collectively taken by keeping our markets open, and ensuring that access to these markets is not disrupted by sudden and arbitrary imposition of unnecessary restrictions. We must underscore the importance of equitable distribution of the benefits of trade, as well as stress the WTO’s central role in supporting developing and especially, least developed countries, to fully integrate their economies into the multilateral trading system.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In Bali, we agreed on the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which was an important milestone towards removing the bureaucratic barriers to trade and a free flow of goods. Most businesses continue to realize a substantial reduction in the cost of doing business, particularly for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). As a country, we are working in close collaboration with all stakeholders on the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to make a few observations on some of the critical things that we should aspire to achieve here in Buenos Aires:

First, in Nairobi, we took important decisions to reform global trade by eliminating agricultural export subsidies. In addition, we took crucial steps to address development concerns of the least developed countries. Full implementation of these decisions by Members remains a priority.

Second, continuation of the reform process in agriculture is a priority for many developing country members. We must therefore ensure that we sustain our efforts in addressing, on incremental basis, distortions in agriculture production and trade. We therefore support an outcome on Domestic support, including for cotton, with a clear work programme to address the outstanding issues post MC11.

Third, regarding Public stockholding for food security, we agreed in Nairobi to have a separate track to facilitate consensus on this issue without linkages to other DDA issues. In that regard, we expect to deliver a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes as per our agreement in Bali.

Fourth, we are also looking forward for substantive outcomes on fisheries subsidies and development related issues.

Fifth, as we are all aware, today’s global trade agenda is more complex than ever. We must attempt to continue updating our multilateral rulebook in order to ensure that other process such as bilateral and regional agreements are supportive and add value to the work of the WTO.

Finally, Kenya welcomes and supports the application of South Sudan to be an observer which opens the way for its accession to the WTO. We hope Members can accelerate the accession process of South Sudan as well as other countries so that the WTO can become a truly universal body.

Thank you for your attention.

 

Kenya Appreciates Cordial Relations with Japan – Amb Amina Mohamed

SPEECH FOR USE BY AMB. (DR.) AMINA C. MOHAMED, EGH, CAV, CABINET SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS DURING THE RECEPTION TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTHDAY OF HIS MAJESTY THE EMPEROR OF JAPAN

DECEMBER 7, 2017

Your Excellency Ambassador Toshitsugu Uesawa,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. I am delighted to join you all here today to celebrate His Majesty the Emperor’s birthday and the National day of Japan. I take this opportunity to convey on behalf of the Government and people of Kenya warm birthday wishes to His Majesty Emperor Akihito, and gracious congratulations to the Imperial Household, the Government and the people of Japan. We share in your joy on this auspicious occasion. His Majesty the Emperor is not only a symbol of the state but a symbol of unity of the people of Japan who have lived in peace and prosperity in the 29 years of the ‘Heisei’. (**Heisei is the period in which the Emperor has reigned**)
  1. I also wish to congratulate His Excellency Shinzo Abe on his victory in the recent Diet elections and successful re-election to the high office of the Prime Minister of Japan. His Excellency’s triumph portrays the confidence the people of Japan have in him.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. I note with deep appreciation the longstanding partnership and collaboration between our two nations that spans over five decades. Our relations are strong and steadfast. We anticipate progress into new areas of bilateral cooperation as Japan remains a reliable development partner and a trusted friend to Kenya.
  1. We are cognizant that Kenya occupies a special position in Japan’s diplomatic and economic engagement within the region and appreciate that Japan has chosen Kenya as the regional headquarters for its major agencies; the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). This confidence is a true reflection of the trust and devotion Japan places in the relations between our two countries. Our investment journey is encouraging but needs continuous nurturing and enhancement. We will continue to urge Japanese companies to increase their presence or start relations with us.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. In particular, I convey my sincere gratitude to the government of Japan for their support in Kenya’s successful hosting of the Sixth TICAD Summit held in Nairobi last year. TICAD VI, the first one held in Africa, was a tremendous success and remains a unique process that has contributed immensely to Africa’s development and regional integration agenda.
  1. The TICAD Summit was a confirmation that it is a robust engine of African development built on the twin principles of African ownership and international partnership. We remain seized on implementing to the fullest, the set targets in the Nairobi Declaration. Since TICAD’s inception, major projects have been implemented and I want to highlight a few: The construction of Ngong and Ring roads; the opportunities to study through the ABE initiative; Universal Health Coverage (UHC); and clean energy through the Olkaria geothermal power Sondu Miriu Hydropower projects.
  1. I acknowledge and appreciate the effective role of the follow-up mechanisms that are in place such as the recent Ministerial Meeting held in Maputo this August which plays a significant role in ensuring efficiency and quality results. I also welcome new initiatives to boost efficient implementation and enhance public awareness of Japan – African Cooperation. These initiatives should strengthen (1) liaison, coordination and linkages with stakeholders and (2) provide visibility and strategic communication with the public. TICAD is indeed a beacon of excellence to many other partnerships and conferences in development.
  1. I also appreciate the State visit to Kenya by H. E. Premier Shinzo Abe where bilateral discussions with H. E. the President yielded results including the modernization of the Port of Mombasa and development of the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Kenya and Japan continue to work together at the multilateral fora and especially in the United Nations and its agencies in order to achieve the much-desired Reforms and to push to action emerging issues of global significance. 

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Government of Kenya notes with concern the prevailing situation in the Korean Peninsula. We wish to reiterate that the Government of Kenya stands together with nations in condemning acts that threaten security, peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and calls for the peaceful resolution of disputes.

I specifically want to assure Japan of Kenya’s supports on the draft resolution of a “united action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons” and our backing during the UN plenary meeting later this month.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Finally, I am greatly honoured to have received the award of “Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun” conferred to me by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan in May this year. I recognize and accept this award as an indication of the confidence the Government and people of Japan have in our relations. I assure you that the Government of Kenya, will continue working closely with Japan to strengthen our relations and further advance our friendship and partnership for the mutual benefit of our great nations. I take this opportunity to convey my deepest gratitude for this honour to His Majesty, the Government and people of Japan. I also appreciate the tremendous support accorded to me by Your Excellency Ambassador Uesawa and your Mission’s staff.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. I would like to join you in celebration on this day and now request that we rise and offer a toast:

“To the good health and long life of the Emperor, His Majesty Akihito, and to a future of prosperity and friendship between the people of our two great countries!”    

Dōmo arigatōgozaimasu.