Canada hosts first Ottawa Group meeting of 2022

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Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng

OTTAWA, Canada – Mary Ng, minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development, hosted a virtual meeting of the Ottawa Group to advance work on WTO reform. During the meeting, also attended by WTO director-general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, members committed to continuing momentum towards achieving strong outcomes on trade and health, WTO reform, as well as on negotiations related to fisheries subsidies and agriculture.

“The rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, is essential to securing a strong, sustainable and inclusive global economic recovery,” reports Global Affairs Canada. “The rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, is essential to securing a strong, sustainable and inclusive global economic recovery.”

Minister Ng emphasized the WTO’s important role in ensuring that the global trading system contributes to ending the pandemic and future global health crises. The group committed to working closely together to address trade barriers in essential medical goods, including export restrictions, customs clearance, transparency and sharing of best practices between public and private sectors.

The minister and her Ottawa Group counterparts also discussed next steps on WTO reform priorities. The group agreed to intensify its engagement with other members to restore a fully functioning WTO dispute-settlement system. Meeting participants also committed to improving transparency at the WTO, and encouraged broad participation by all members to ensure the WTO meets the needs of both developing and developed countries.

“As chair of the Ottawa Group, Canada is committed to continuing to work closely with our international partners to strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. We are focused on advancing key WTO initiatives and maintaining momentum concerning trade and health, fishery subsidy negotiations and WTO reform to support a strong, sustainable and inclusive global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said minister Ng.

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