Press Release 05 October 2007
LAMY: A STRONG WTO CAN CONTRIBUTE TO DESIGNING A SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FUTURE
Rome, 15 November 2007 - World Trade Organization director general Pascal Lamy today said a stronger WTO can make a positive contribution to designing a sustainable and fairer energy future.
"The WTO can contribute to a more efficient allocation of energy resources and generally a better trading environment for energy", he told the 20th World Energy Congress.
Existing WTO rules were not negotiated with the specifics of the energy sector in mind, Lamy explained, but are well capable of adjusting to changing realities.
"Short of having a specific agreement on energy trade, energy already features in the ongoing Doha negotiations which were launched in 2001", he said, adding that the recent accession to the WTO of several energy-exporting countries, increasing energy needs and environmental concerns, contributed to raising the profile of energy in the multilateral trade rules.
"The environmental chapter of the WTO Doha Round can make a very concrete contribution to the promotion of energy efficient technologies", Lamy said.
Not only does the Doha Round aim to open markets to clean technology, but it can also contribute to the environmental cause by eliminating or reducing tariffs on certain goods.
WTO can also improve the energy sector by promoting transparency and fairer rules in the market.
"The question of subsidies in the form of low-priced energy products, especially natural gas, has recurrently stirred hot debate among WTO Members and is also part of the on-going negotiations", Lamy said.
More predictable and transparent trade rules could benefit all the players in the energy sector: importing and exporting countries, trading companies and consumers.
But in order to achieve this goal, WTO needs to be as inclusive as possible and bring in a substantial part of the energy trade.
"A stronger WTO is needed with new members, such as Ukraine and hopefully Russia, joining the family soon", said Lamy.
The World Energy Council in partnership with Oliver Wyman (global consulting firm) has over the past year worked on its third Assessment of country energy and climate policy aiming to identify key areas for policy improvements and to understand how successful policies can be transferred from one country to another. more >