• Sheshachala J.

Looking Forward: Other Outcomes of the MC12

Given the nature and length of the discussions at the 12th Ministerial Conference at the WTO, the outcome thereof shall be summarized under the following categories:


1. Developing and Least Developed Countries

Acknowledging, the basic tenets of the Marrakesh Agreement, the Members pledged to work on improving the application of special and differential treatment in the Committee on Trade Development and other relevant venues in the WTO before the 13th Ministerial Conference, scheduled for 2024. With a number of least developed nations meeting the graduation criteria set forth by the United Nations Committee for Development policy, the members pledged to undertake necessary measures for the smooth facilitation for the members. The General Council was also instructed to report the developments with respect to the decisions that were made with respect to the special treatment that were to be given to LDCs, at the Tenth and Ninth Ministerial Conferences.


2. WTO Reform and Appellate Body Crisis

Recognizing the concerns that currently surroundings the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, the members pledged to address the urgency of ensuring a well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all members by 2024. The Members have agreed that the interests of all Members must be addressed in a ‘Member-driven, open, transparent, inclusive’ work project led by the General Council. Appropriate decisions are required to be submitted by the General Council at the MC13.


3. Revival of services in light of the pandemic

Nothing the importance of the trade in service to the global economy and given the significant adverse effect of the pandemic on the trade in services world-wide, the members took note of the work in the area of trade in services. Additionally, the members pledged to facilitate an increase in the participation of the developing members and LDCs in this area.


4. Transit Issues

In furtherance of the recommendations made under G/TFA/W/53 – with respect to the necessary implementations for the facilitation of trade – the members instructed the Trade Facilitation Committee to hold Dedicated Sessions on transit issues until the next review of the Trade Facilitation Agreement was completed.


5. Women’s Economic Empowerment

The WTO Members recognized ‘women’s economic empowerment and the contribution of MSMEs to inclusive and sustainable economic growth’ while also acknowledging the challenged faced by women in different countries. The Members took note of the work of the WTO, UNCTAD and ITC on these issues.


6. Climate Change

The members highlighted the importance of regulating the multilateral trading system in order to ensure that the goals set forth under the UN 2030 Agenda along with its Sustainable Development Goals and pledged to work alongside other international originations for the effective resolution of the changing multidimensional challenges.


Postscript

The Members have set out a number of objectives which are to be resolved before the Thirteenth Ministerial Conference, scheduled for 2024. However, while the members have pledged to implement several policies to address the global food shortages, the members have not addressed the issues that have come up due to the Russia-Ukraine situation – especially with these countries playing a pivotal role in the global food market.




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