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WTO Ministerial Conference 12 - Members press to resolve appellate body impasse
By TII News Service
Jun 24, 2021 , Geneva

    

BUSINESS leaders from around the world met at a virtual Trade Dialogues session on 23 June to discuss pressing issues to be taken up at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) and shared ideas and recommendations on what topics the organization should tackle in the future. Among the issues under discussion were how the WTO could address current and future challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Business leaders also expressed strong support for a conclusion of the various negotiations underway and called for an urgent resolution of the Appellate Body impasse.

The fourth Trade Dialogues session dedicated to the business community was organized jointly with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and brought together over 80 business representatives who discussed their priorities in the various areas of the WTO's work. The Dialogues have been organised since 2016 and involve both the ICC and the B20, the business arm of the G20. During the opening session, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was joined by General Council Chair Ambassador Dacio Castillo, ICC Chair Ajay Banga and B20 Italy Chair Emma Marcegaglia.

After the opening session, participants engaged in three simultaneous breakout sessions with a number of WTO members on three main themes: the WTO response to COVID-19, MC12 deliverables, and the future work programme of the WTO.

Participants shared their ideas on how the WTO can facilitate the fight against the pandemic and what could be done differently at the WTO in order to support the response to COVID-19 and future health crises.

They voiced strong support for an early conclusion of the fisheries subsidies negotiations and urged members to make progress on agriculture at MC12.  Business representatives expressed strong interest in the work of the so-called joint initiatives and hoped to see tangible outcomes in these areas.

Participants also discussed priorities for the future agenda of the WTO, which should take into consideration 21st century challenges related to the environment and sustainability. They made a strong plea for a clear and decisive work programme to resolve the ongoing Appellate Body impasse and to restore fully the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.

 
 
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