WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12): Members committed to bridge gaps on Food security, trade and response to Covid 19

WTO’s response to COVID-19, trade and food security took center stage on June 13 where ministers engaged in intense discussions and negotiations.Members committed to deal effectively with global crises, including the current food crisis.

With regards to response to Covid 19 and preparedness in future pandemics, the WTO called for a broad convergence on the Draft Ministerial Declaration on the WTO response to the COVID-19 pandemic and preparedness for future pandemics, as well as the need to resolve the five outstanding brackets.

The WTO acknowledged the widespread support for the Draft Ministerial Declaration on Trade and Food Security  noting almost a convergence although some members needs would have to be addressed to incorporate national interests and for the wider membership.

A Draft Ministerial declaration which pledges not to impose any export prohibitions or restrictions on foodstuffs purchased for humanitarian purposes was discussed  by the WFP, noting that the WFP takes procurement decisions on the basis of the principle of “do no harm” to the supplying country.

This draft decision gained massive support from almost all members with the exception of two who would be consulted as soon as possible to get an early agreement on the texts. This consensus would allow members to focus on the Draft Ministerial Decision on Agriculture where more work remains to be done.

The fisheries subsidies negotiations and the preparations for June 14 thematic session a report on the WTO reform and the E-Commerce Work Programme and Moratorium were also discussed on June 13.

Members agreed that agreements are within reach and expressed their commitment to make one final effort to bridge the remaining gaps.