WTO Kicks Off 1st Ministerial Meeting in over 4 Years

Politics Economy

Geneva, June 12 (Jiji Press)--The World Trade Organization kicked off a four-day official ministerial meeting in Geneva on Sunday, the first such conference to be held in four and a half years.

High on the agenda are food security issues that emerged following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers sought by developing countries. The reduction of fisheries subsidies will also be a key issue to be discussed.

Admitting that negotiations are having rough going in many different fields, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in a press conference ahead of the opening of the ministerial meeting that she is cautiously optimistic that agreements will be reached in one or two areas.

The last time the WTO held a ministerial conference was in Buenos Aires in December 2017. This meeting ended without adopting a declaration due to discord among member economies.

Through the ongoing ministerial conference, the WTO's ability to produce concrete results will be tested at a time when the organization is said to have become dysfunctional in advancing negotiations for international trade rulemaking and settling disputes among its members.

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