Trade ministers discuss WTO negotiations on WEF sidelines
Davos: A group of trade ministers from various countries discussed here on Friday further WTO negotiations while underlining the importance of restoring a fully functional dispute settlement system.
The informal ministerial meeting, held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, was held at the invitation of Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and was also attended by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The meeting was attended by 23 members of the WTO and a broad spectrum of trade interests was represented there, the Swiss government said in a statement.
After the Ministerial Conference in Geneva last June, participants at the next WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi in February 2024 expect to see some key outcomes from the negotiations to strengthen the WTO and the international trading system.
Following on from the results of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Geneva, the ministers on Friday discussed their priorities for the next stages of negotiations.
“The focus was on implementation of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, trade and health issues in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, and current efforts to reform the WTO,” the Swiss government statement said.
The discussions also focussed on further development of the existing WTO rules, as well as measures to improve transparency in the implementation of the WTO agreements.
“Participants underlined the importance of restoring a fully functioning dispute settlement mechanism for the global trading system,” the statement added.
The informal ministerial meeting provided an opportunity to give political direction and impetus to preparations for the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in February 2024, it further said.
Switzerland’s trade policy, which is closely integrated into international value chains, is based on the rules-based multilateral trading system of the WTO, the Swiss government said.
In a separate statement, the Swiss government said Switzerland became the first member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to ratify the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.
The agreement prohibits harmful subsidies for marine wild capture fishing and makes an important contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Switzerland’s swift ratification will help the agreement to soon enfold its positive effects, it added.
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin deposited the country’s instrument of acceptance with WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on the sidelines of the WEF annual meeting in Davos.
Negotiations on fisheries subsidies were concluded on 17th June 2022 at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. The Federal Council approved the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies for Switzerland on 16 November 2022.
“The agreement represents a major step forward for the sustainable use of marine resources. It prohibits subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated marine wild capture fishing, as well as for fishing on overfished stocks and for fishing on the unregulated high seas,” it said.
The agreement will enter into force once two-thirds of the 164 members have deposited their instruments of acceptance with the WTO.
Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.