By Caribbean News Global
OTTAWA, Canada – Mary Ng, minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development, participated in a virtual ministerial meeting of the WTO hosted by Switzerland to discuss priorities such as trade and health, fisheries subsidies negotiations, agriculture negotiations, and WTO reform.
“Canada and the world depend on open, transparent, and rules-based trade to provide reliable access to essential goods and services and to support businesses as they scale up and create jobs. Canada will continue to lead in advancing meaningful outcomes on global trade initiatives to ensure our global response to this pandemic is equitable, and we are working toward a strong, inclusive, and sustainable shared global recovery to support all our people,” said minister Ng.
During the meeting, minister Ng conveyed Canada’s support for Switzerland’s work on a ministerial statement calling for immediate action to support the multilateral trading system for a successful 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12). The objective is to deliver strong outcomes on important issues, such as fisheries negotiations and trade and health, at the MC12, which will be held in due course.
On trade and health, minister Ng emphasized the importance of reaching a multilateral solution to address trade concerns related to the ongoing pandemic response, including on intellectual property particular to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines, export restrictions, customs clearance issues, transparency, and sharing of best practices between public and private sectors. Minister Ng also noted the need to bridge the gaps in ongoing fisheries subsidies negotiations in preparation for the MC12.
On agriculture negotiations, minister Ng emphasized the importance of WTO members working together to create rules that limit trade-distorting domestic support and improve transparency on related policies. Minister Ng also encouraged members to commit to exempting World Food Programme purchases from export restrictions to ensure emergency access to food for those in need.
With Canada as chair of the Ottawa Group on WTO Reform, minister Ng reiterated the group’s continued commitment to advancing WTO reform that strengthens the organization and ensures that rules-based trade guides the global economic recovery. Minister Ng underscored the importance of reaching a resolution to the WTO Appellate Body impasse toward a fully functioning dispute-settlement system. Minister Ng also highlighted the need to improve negotiating and monitoring functions at the WTO.
“A rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization at its core, is essential to ensuring that the ongoing global response to the pandemic is coordinated and equitable and that the shared global economic recovery is strong, sustainable, and inclusive,” said the government department.