Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference – Geneva: Resource page
WTO members secure unprecedented package of trade outcomes at MC12
WTO members successfully concluded the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), co-hosted by Kazakhstan, in Geneva on 17 June, securing multilaterally negotiated outcomes on a series of key trade initiatives. MC12 was originally scheduled to take place in June 2020 but the conference was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package of outcomes confirms the historical importance of the multilateral trading system and underlines the important role of the WTO in addressing the world’s most pressing issues, especially at a time when global solutions are critical.
In welcoming the final “Geneva Package” delivered after five and a half days of marathon talks, the Director-General said the deal showed to the world that “WTO members can come together, across geopolitical fault lines to address problems of the global commons, and to reinforce and reinvigorate this institution.”
“The package of agreements you have reached will make a difference to the lives of people around the world. The outcomes demonstrate that the WTO is, in fact, capable of responding to the emergencies of our time,” said WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. “They show the world that WTO members can come together, across geopolitical fault lines, to address problems of the global commons, and to reinforce and reinvigorate this institution. They give us cause to hope that strategic competition will be able to exist alongside growing strategic cooperation.”
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Director-General’s Opening Remarks
WTO members were urged at the opening session of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva on 12 June 2022 to demonstrate that the WTO can deliver for the international community and the people it serves. As the world grapples with uncertainty and crises on multiple fronts, this is a time to show that multilateralism works, said WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during the Opening Session.
“As we grapple with uncertainty and crises on multiple fronts – the war in Ukraine and the inherent international security crisis that comes with it, the health, economic, environmental and geopolitical crises – this is a time to demonstrate that multilateralism works. A time to demonstrate that the WTO can deliver for the international community, and the people we serve.”
“Now, more than ever, the world needs WTO members to come together and deliver. We also need to deliver for those who seek to join us – the many countries, especially from Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East who want to accede to the WTO.”
“Trade is an instrument for development, it's not an end in itself. In fact, tapping into international markets for value-added goods and services has been history's most proven path towards development. But too many of our members have not been able to start or stay on this path.”
In closing, the Director-General stated that MC12 achieved an “unprecedented package of deliverables”. Furthermore,
“The package of agreements you have reached will make a difference to the lives of people around the world. The outcomes demonstrate that the WTO is, in fact, capable of responding to the emergencies of our time. They show the world that WTO members can come together, across geopolitical fault lines, to address problems of the global commons, and to reinforce and reinvigorate this institution. They give us cause to hope that strategic cooperation will be able to exist alongside growing strategic competition.”
MC12 has a number of thematic areas to be covered during the Conference. Briefing notes designed to provide background information on issues relevant to the Ministerial Conference are available to read online:
MC12 Documents, Decisions and Declarations
The following non-exhaustive list of outcome documents from MC12:
Contributions from African countries and the African Group
African Trade Ministers have recognised the need to build coherence by ensuring that the African Group’s negotiating objectives at the WTO fully support continental objectives such as industrialisation, structural transformation and integration of the continent; taking note that, due to the unprecedented challenges facing African Countries, the existing rules based multilateral trading system is in need of a reform that addresses the structural deficiencies in the system while re-enforcing the principles of fairness, transparency and equity. They have committed to strengthen coordination in the African Group at the WTO on our common positions and to ensure that development is an integral component of all negotiating outcomes for all African economies.
Relevant documents and statements are available to download below.
Civil society contributions
tralac Analysis and commentary
Noncedo Vutula and Thembekile Mlangeni
Noncedo Vutula and Thembekile Mlangeni
Kedibone Machiu, Mpho Leseka, Noncedo Vutula, Thembekile Mlangeni