Members strike historic agreement at the 12th WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva

In a landmark package of accords won after frantic round-the-clock negotiations, the World Trade Organization ministers reach historic agreements on June 17 on responses to fishing subsidies, food shortages, and Covid-19 vaccines. Countries started negotiating trade-offs in an effort to pass many measures as part of a larger deal since ministers were finding it difficult to reach agreements on each issue alone.

On June 12, negotiations commenced at the global trade organization’s Geneva headquarters, and they were scheduled to end on June 15. Instead, the 164 members of the WTO continued into Friday, completing at roughly 5:00 am (0300 GMT).

Members strike historic agreement at the 12th WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva

“Not in a long while has the WTO seen such a significant number of multilateral outcomes,” the WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. “The package of agreements you have reached will make a difference to the lives of people around the world. The outcomes demonstrate that the WTO is in fact capable of responding to the emergencies of our time.”

Okonjo-Iweala said that for the very first time, WTO members have reached a deal with environmental sustainability at its core. Additionally, there are 260 million people whose means of subsistence depend directly or indirectly on marine fishing. Okonjo-Iweala of the waiver of intellectual property protections further added that in order to prevent other regions from becoming cut off in the event of a crisis in one area, the TRIPS waiver compromise will support ongoing efforts to concentrate and diversify vaccine manufacturing capacity.

“I think India has received 100 percent success. There is not one issue for which we need to return to India with any kind of worry,” the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal said while addressing media on June 17 after WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva. “We succeeded in bringing regulation for those who indulge in illegal fishing or catch fish but don’t report it or those who work outside regulation – indulging in illegal, unregulated, unreported fishing,” he added.

Piyush Goyal said that some nations are experts in this. They are in charge of using deep-sea fishing to finish the fish all over the planet. India was successful in bringing forth a rule for them. This is a significant win for India.

“There’s now a package on the table at (the ministerial conference) that would provide a real boost to the credibility and strength of the WTO system,” said John Denton, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, before the package passed.

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