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12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO

12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO
20 June 2022

The EU welcomes the successful results in key areas of the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO concluded last Friday (17 June), against a backdrop of heightened global trade tensions and a food security crisis caused by Russian's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Trade Ministers of the 164-member organisation met for the first time after almost five years, the Conference having been postponed twice due to the restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members agreed on a significant multilateral Agreement to end harmful fisheries subsidies. Also, on specific next steps toward WTO reform, including restoring a fully functioning dispute settlement function for the organisation.

A Declaration on pandemic response and future preparedness was also agreed, together with a waiver of certain intellectual property obligations concerning COVID-19 vaccines.

In a joint response to the current dramatic food situation resulting from Russia's aggression against Ukraine, WTO members agreed to exercise restraint on export restrictions and to exempt the World Food Programme humanitarian purchases from such restrictions.

Finally, an agreement was reached to extend the moratorium on customs duties on e-commerce until the next WTO Ministerial. Under EU's initiative, some members reiterated their solidarity with Ukraine. The EU also  forged further cooperation on addressing climate change.

Image © European Commission

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