As a small but vibrant trading nation, Singapore strongly supports an open, rules-based, multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Singapore has been a WTO Member since 1 January 1995, and hosted the 1st WTO Ministerial Conference (MC) in December 1996. Since then, Ministerial Conferences have been held in Geneva (1998), Seattle (1999), Doha (2001), Cancun (2003), Hong Kong (2005) and Geneva (2009 and 2011). The 9th Ministerial Conference will be held in December 2013 in Bali, Indonesia.
Doha Development Agenda
Singapore supported the launch of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) at the 4th WTO MC in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. The launch of the DDA gave a strong signal of continued global commitment to an open trading system, and was a means to help developing and least-developed countries secure a share of world trade to promote their own development. The Leaders' Declarations from the G20 Los Cabos Summit and the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in 2012 highlighted the importance of the multilateral trading system and reaffirmed their commitment to free trade, open markets, as well as the need to move the DDA forward. However, DDA talks have remain stalled.
Singapore remains committed to the multilateral trading system, and is an active and constructive member of the WTO. As we persevere in working towards a balanced conclusion to the DDA, Singapore continues to urge a pragmatic approach in strengthening the WTO and moving the DDA forward. Amidst the uncertain global economic climate, strengthening the WTO and the multilateral trading system to resist protectionism will be vital in providing a stable framework for economic growth and sustainable development.
Singapore’s Sixth WTO Trade Policy Review
Singapore’s sixth WTO Trade Policy Review (TPR) was held on 24 and 26 July 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. During the TPR, Singapore received good reviews from both the WTO Secretariat and WTO members. In particular, WTO members noted that Singapore did not resort to protectionist measures during the global economic crisis and appreciated Singapore’s strong commitment to the multilateral trading system, and our active participation in the regular work of the WTO. Singapore’s previous TPR was held in July 2008.
Singapore-WTO Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Singapore and the WTO concluded a MOU in 1996 to establish a Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) to jointly provide training programmes annually in trade and other WTO-related matters for WTO Members in the Asia-Pacific region. Since 1998, Singapore and the WTO have jointly conducted 30 seminars and courses in Singapore for 598 government officials from the Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America regions in subjects such as trade facilitation, government procurement and how to overcome technical barriers to trade. Singapore regularly updates the training programmes under the MOU to ensure that they remain relevant to our partners.
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