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12th WTO Ministerial Meeting commences today, Minister Badu leads the Nepali delegation

12th WTO Ministerial Meeting commences today, Minister Badu leads the Nepali delegation

Geneva, Switzerland: The 12th Ministerial Conference(MCC12) of the World Trade Organization commenced in Geneva on Sunday.

Trade ministers from across the world are participating in the meeting to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system, make general statements and take action on the future work of the WTO.

The Conference is co-hosted by Kazakhstan and chaired by Timur Suleimenov, Deputy Chief of Staff of Kazakhstan's President. Kazakhstan was originally scheduled to host MC12 in June 2020 but the conference was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting of the global body will discuss WTO’s response to the pandemic, fisheries subsidies negotiations, and agriculture issues and implications of the Russia-Ukraine war on the world economy.

The least developing countries including Nepal will raise the hosts of the agenda collectively. WTO Director-General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Sandagdorj Erdenebileg of the UN High Representative for Least-Developed Countries signed a partnership agreement on June 11 in Geneva aimed at strengthening cooperation to boost the participation of least-developed countries in the global trading system.

DG Okonjo-Iweala said on the eve of MC12, we are joining hands with the UN to give renewed hope to the most vulnerable group of countries of the international community – the LDCs. …  LDCs have a special place in the multilateral trading system.

He said: “Over the last decade, our members have provided increased trade opportunities to expand LDC exports and the WTO remains the main forum to achieve the Doha Programme of Action targets in the area of trade."

Erdenebileg, Chief of Policy Development, Coordination, Monitoring and Reporting Service at the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), said that improved trading situation for vulnerable countries has the potential to transform millions of lives through better jobs and stronger economies.

He said: “That is why trade is an essential element of the Doha Programme of Action for LDCs for the decade 2022-2031. With this renewed commitment between the WTO and UN-OHRLLS, the vital trade targets in the new Programme come closer within reach."

WTO Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang said, “It is a historic moment. We have always worked closely with the United Nations, and today we are bringing our cooperation in support of trade development in LDCs to the next level.”

“Integrating least-developed countries into global trade is our institutional priority. And it is our shared responsibility to make sure that the opportunities offered by the global trading system reach the most vulnerable, those who need them most,” he added.

Ali Djadda Kampard, Trade Minister of Chad and Coordinator of the WTO's LDC Group, said that this partnership marks an important milestone as the international community is joining hands to help us boost our participation in global trade.  He added that the start of MC12 tomorrow will be a defining moment for the entire membership.

That's why the LDC Group has been actively engaging in the work of the WTO and we remain committed to ensuring results at MC12. A success at MC12 will set us on the right path towards reinvigorating the WTO and realizing our broader development objectives, he added.  There are at present 46 LDCs on the United Nations list, 35 of which are members of the WTO. Eight LDCs are in the process of joining the WTO. They are Bhutan, Comoros, Ethiopia, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Timor-Leste.

Nepal is one of the leading countries to take the membership in WTO and is actively participating in the WTO mechanisms and dialogues. Nepali delegation led by Minister for Industry, Commerce, and Supplies Dilendra Prasad Badu is scheduled to attend the meeting.   Minister Badu is accompanied by secretary Ganesh Prasad Pandeya and other high-level government officials. Minister Badu is scheduled to address the meeting.