Ng welcomes successful Twelfth Ministerial Conference in Geneva
Canada is a trading nation and a strong proponent of the international rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. Multilateralism is essential in achieving a strong, sustainable and inclusive global economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, this week attended the Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva, Switzerland. At a time when the global trade is facing unprecedented disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, Minister Ng advanced Canada’s position on strengthening rules-based trade and supporting an inclusive, sustainable economic recovery, according to a news release.
As the world continues the fight against COVID-19, Canada welcomed the multilateral adoption of the WTO Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, including consensus on the TRIPS waiver, as part of Canada’s broader efforts to enhance vaccine equity. Minister Ng chairs the Ottawa Group, whose leadership in the Trade and Health Initiative was critical in reaching this overall outcome.
Minister Ng also welcomed the commitment to resolve the impasse with the WTO appellate body, which re-affirms the importance of predictability for rules-based trade by having a functional dispute settlement system within the next two years. Canada will continue to lead efforts to work with members on achieving this goal.
Minister Ng emphasized that the global economic recovery from the pandemic must be sustainable and inclusive. She marked the importance of achieving the WTO’s first ever environmental deal to protect global fish stocks and the world’s oceans by coming to an agreement on harmful fisheries subsidies. The Minister reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to work with other members on outstanding issues to support Canadian fish harvesters and the health of the oceans.
Minister Ng furthered Canada’s leadership in inclusive trade by welcoming Colombia and Peru to the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA). The Minister also joined her trade minister counterparts from Chile, Mexico and New Zealand to issue the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG) Joint Ministerial Statement, which included a call to action to WTO members to work together to help make international trade policies more inclusive to ensure that the benefits of trade and investment are more widely shared.
At the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s trade and sustainability event, Minister Ng reiterated Canada’s commitment to working with WTO members to advance trade and trade policies that support our climate and environmental goals.
Throughout her participation at MC12, Minister Ng unequivocally condemned Russia’s egregious invasion of Ukraine and conveyed Canada’s support for and solidarity with Ukraine. She reiterated Canada’s commitment to working with WTO members to address the economic and trade impacts, including the global food shortage, of the Russian leadership’s unjustifiable, unprovoked, and illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Minister Ng advanced discussions, including at the Cairns Group, on supporting an open and transparent rules-based trading system for agriculture products to achieve stable global food supplies.She supported and welcomed the adoption of the important Declaration on Trade and Food Security and the adoption of the Decision on the World Food Programme to exempt non-commercial humanitarian food purchases from export restrictions. She also met with Canadian agriculture stakeholders and reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting Canadian agricultural exports and protecting Canadian farmers from trade distorting practices.
Minister Ng welcomed the renewal of the WTO’s e-commerce moratorium until the next Ministerial Conference, preventing WTO Members from applying customs duties on electronic transmissions. This will ensure predictability and certainty for both consumers and businesses.
The Minister noted that Canada is pleased the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Declaration was adopted at MC12. Canada has played a prominent role in developing and advocating for the success of this declaration. The declaration reaffirms Canada’s commitment to the WTO SPS Agreement and its adherence to the agreement’s obligations. It also emphasizes the importance of applying a science-based approach to addressing emerging challenges. Minister Ng affirmed that Canada looks forward to working with other WTO members to address emerging issues that impact trade, food safety, plant health, and animal health through the work programme provided in the declaration.