28 Nov update: In an Emergency session called by the WTO General Council on the weekend, the meeting was postponed indefinitely due to concerns over the new Omicron Covid19 variant.
27 November, 2021—Pacific WTO Trade Ministers met this week in preparation for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12). The meeting considered key issues for Pacific WTO Members, including a a Pacific Ministerial Group Statement for the MC12.
Via virtual session on November 24th, Ministers considered and agreed on their priorities and position for the Ministerial Conference.
In his opening remarks, PIF Secretary General, Henry Puna said, “MC12 will be one of the most important Conferences for the WTO Members and for the Pacific Members. Important, because it will test whether the WTO can remain relevant and can contribute trade solutions to problems facing the global economy, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the growing challenges posed by climate change”. The Secretary General also commented on the issue of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement, a top priority for Pacific Members at the upcoming MC12.
The Chair of the PACPTMM, the Honourable Faiyaz Koya also reiterated the importance of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement priority in addressing, “the development interests of our Pacific Members in line with the special and differential treatment for developing countries required in the SDG 14.6 mandate”. It was crucial, the Honourable Minister stated, to “therefore take account of the interests of Pacific Members now and into the future, by preserving access fees which are important revenue sources for many of our Members; providing flexibility for small scale and artisanal fishing for livelihood security; and in securing policy space to build our Pacific fishing capacity in future”.
During the meeting, the WTO Director General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala addressed the Ministers and shared her assessment of the agenda priorities, and particularly fisheries subsidies to be delivered at the Ministerial Conference.
The endorsed Pacific Ministerial Group Statement will be delivered by a Pacific Group Lead Spokesperson, scheduled 30 November – 3 December 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.—ENDS
Image credit: WTO