International organizations, vaccine manufacturers take stock of COVID-19 vaccine roll out, share views for 2022

The heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization held on 9 November the 2nd High-Level Consultations with the CEOs of leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing companies. At the meeting, all participants agreed on the urgency of delivering more vaccine doses to low-income countries, where less than 2.5% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

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Trade Policy Review: Mauritius

The fifth review of the trade policies and practices of Mauritius takes place on 9 and 11 November 2021. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Mauritius.

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Revised fisheries subsidies text kicks off intensified negotiations ahead of MC12

At a meeting of the Negotiating Group on Rules at the Head of Delegation level, the chair of the fisheries subsidies negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, introduced on 8 November a second revision of the draft negotiating text to be used as the basis for clause-by-clause discussions among members aimed at resolving remaining differences ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) to be held on 30 November to 3 December. Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the text represents a good balance that addresses development issues and maintains ambition.

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WTO launches improved quantitative restrictions database

The WTO launched on 8 November an improved Quantitative Restrictions (QR) Database, an online platform to search and retrieve information on trade restrictions and prohibitions notified by WTO members. The QR Database provides information on export prohibitions and restrictions introduced by members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with detailed information on the affected products, the intended duration of the measures and their WTO justification.

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Working group on small business discusses preparations for MC12

At their last meeting before the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), members of the Informal Working Group on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) on 8 November reviewed the group’s plans for MC12, including the launch of the Trade4MSMEs platform. The aim of the platform is to provide trade-related information to small businesses seeking to reach international markets and relevant information for policy makers.

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Members agree on recommendation to extend moratorium on IP “non-violation” cases

At a meeting of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on 5 November, WTO members agreed on a draft ministerial decision on so-called non-violation and situation complaints in the area of intellectual property (IP). The decision is expected to be adopted at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) to be held in Geneva on 30 November — 3 December.

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WIPO-WTO Colloquium for IP Teachers back on track

After a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colloquium for Intellectual Property (IP) Teachers is back with its 17th edition, which is taking place virtually from 1 to 12 November. The colloquium is a two-week skills-building activity on intellectual property and relevant teaching methodologies jointly organized annually by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the WTO since 2004.

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Scientists urging members to reach MC12 fishing subsidies agreement present letter to DG Okonjo-Iweala

Nearly 400 ocean experts from around the world on 5 November presented a letter to Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala calling on the world’s governments to agree on new global rules to curb harmful fisheries subsidies at the WTO’s upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), which starts at the end of this month. The Director-General has shared the letter with the WTO membership and called it a strong reminder for WTO members to conclude the long-running negotiations and help prevent the depletion of marine fish stocks and biodiversity.

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Participants make headway in finalizing negotiations on services domestic regulation at MC12

As negotiations on services domestic regulation move into their final stages, WTO members have submitted 24 schedules of services commitments — representing commitments from 50 members — the chair, Jaime Coghi (Costa Rica), told participants at a meeting on 4 November. Participants also continue to draft a ministerial outcome document for the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) to be held at the end of November.

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LLDC ministers adopt declaration on trade-related priorities in run-up to MC12

Trade ministers from landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) adopted at a meeting at the WTO on 4 November a declaration outlining their trade priorities ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) to be held at the end of November. Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala underscored in her opening address the challenges faced by LLDCs and reiterated her commitment to promoting a more inclusive multilateral trading system.

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China, US welcomed as new participants in trade and environmental sustainability talks

WTO members taking part in the new initiative on trade and environmental sustainability welcomed China and the United States as new co-sponsors for the discussions at their meeting on 4 November. Participants also expressed broad support for a draft ministerial statement that would set out future work for the initiative in areas such as trade and climate change as well as fix a road map for advancing discussions in 2022.

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WTO members highlight cotton’s central role in COVID-19 recovery

At WTO meetings on cotton on 3-4 November, members underscored the central role that cotton plays in enabling least-developed countries (LDCs) to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and to further their economic development. Members heard an update on trends in cotton trade and discussed plans for the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), due to take place from 30 November to 3 December. The chair of the cotton negotiations, Ambassador Gloria Abraham Peralta (Costa Rica), reiterated members’ shared goal of achieving an outcome on cotton at MC12.

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DG Okonjo-Iweala highlights trade’s role in ambitious and just climate action at COP26

Trade can and must make a contribution to a comprehensive climate action agenda, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala declared in her engagements with world leaders and stakeholders at the United Nations COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, highlighting the need for ambitious yet fair commitments that ensure a green transition that is just and inclusive to all economies.

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DDG Zhang highlights importance of ITC-WTO collaboration for “positive trade outcomes”

Speaking at a meeting of the Joint Advisory Group of the International Trade Centre (ITC) on 2 November, Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang praised ITC for helping micro, small and medium-sized and women-owned enterprises expand their trading opportunities through a variety of projects, including initiatives to promote greener trade. He also stressed that the collaboration between the WTO and ITC is instrumental in ensuring trade contributes to the post-pandemic recovery by promoting inclusive economic growth.

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DDG Ellard cites the importance of business involvement in reinvigorating the WTO

Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard spoke on 2 November at the 35th Annual Conference of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) on the need to adapt the WTO to modern economic realities. DDG Ellard stressed that the best way to repair the WTO is to achieve results in key areas of its work, and she urged business to participate actively in the process. Her remarks are below.

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WTO members review three RTAs, receive update on Transparency Mechanism

WTO members reviewed European Union-Viet Nam, United States-Canada-Mexico, and Australia-Indonesia trade agreements at a meeting of the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (CRTA) on 1 November 2021. The Chair of the Committee, Dr. Cleopa Kilonzo Mailu (Kenya), updated members on the Committee’s work and the implementation of the Transparency Mechanism for RTAs. Members also adopted the Annual Report of the Committee.

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DDG Ellard calls on Arab ministers to intensify engagement ahead of MC12

Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard participated on 31 October in the Preparatory Meeting of the Arab Trade Ministers for MC12. Speaking on behalf of Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, she called on ministers to fully and proactively engage in the process to ensure a successful 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12). The full text of her remarks is below.

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Uzbekistan stresses determination to accelerate WTO accession negotiations

A WTO Secretariat team, led by Deputy Director-General Zhang Xiangchen, visited Tashkent from 26 to 30 October for a series of meetings concerning Uzbekistan’s bid for WTO membership. High-level discussions were held with Sardor Umurzakov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade, and Badriddin Abidov, Deputy Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade and Chief Negotiator for WTO Accession, to review the state of play and next steps in Uzbekistan’s WTO accession process. The team also took part in two round tables with the business community and academia.

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IMF, World Bank, WHO, WTO discuss acceleration of supply, deployment of COVID-19 vaccines

The heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and the WTO met on 30 October in Rome to discuss strategies to accelerate the supply and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, especially in low— and lower-middle-income countries. Meeting on the margins of the G20 summit, the four agency heads — Kristalina Georgieva (IMF), David Malpass (World Bank), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (WHO) and Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (WTO) — issued a joint statement on behalf of the Multilateral Leaders Task Force (MLT).

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DDG González: Trade is a source of resilience in times of crisis

Speaking at an event on 29 October hosted by the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), Deputy Director-General Anabel González highlighted the importance of trade as a source of resilience, as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The WTO has played a critical role in ensuring the supply of essential medical products and medical equipment. During the event, DDG González received a new report from the CACCI on achieving a successful world trade system. Her remarks are below.

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Members report on progress in finding landing zones in fisheries subsidies negotiations

Heads of delegations on 29 October reported progress in their bilateral and small group discussions on fisheries subsidies ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), with many noting a broad willingness across the membership to explore solutions to bridge differing positions.

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DDG Ellard encourages OACPS members to intensify efforts to bridge gaps in run-up to MC12

Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard participated on 28 October in a virtual meeting of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) trade ministers dedicated to preparations for the WTO’s upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12). Speaking on behalf of Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, she highlighted the need for members to intensify efforts to reach agreement in several key areas in the time remaining before MC12. Her remarks are below.

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New WTO report on G20 shows restraint in new pandemic-related trade restrictions

G20 economies have continued to roll back COVID-19-related trade-restrictive measures and demonstrated restraint in the imposition of new ones, but the value of trade covered by pandemic-related restrictions still in place now exceeds that of trade-facilitating measures, according to the latest WTO Trade Monitoring Report on G20 trade measures released today (28 October). Ahead of a G20 leaders’ summit in Rome this weekend, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala called on G20 economies to continue to unwind pandemic-related trade restrictions and to push for a strong WTO response to the pandemic at the 12th Ministerial Conference.

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Members exchange views on measures, practices at Anti-Dumping Committee meeting

The WTO’s Committee on Anti-Dumping Practices met on 27 October to review WTO members’ latest notifications of new, amended or previously reviewed anti-dumping laws and regulations as well as reports on anti-dumping actions.

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