WTO BACK IN BUSINESS – INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FORUM

by | Jun 21, 2022 | Featured Articles, Media Releases, NZIBF

Media release, 19 June 2022


The NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) welcomes the outcome of the World Trade Organization (WTO) 12th Ministerial Council meeting in Geneva and congratulates Trade Minister O’Connor and officials.

“It’s great to see the WTO back in the business of making decisions about the future of the multilateral trading system” said NZIBF Executive Director Stephen Jacobi.  “While there is still a lot of work to do, MC12 has concluded on a high note with a package of useful outcomes.  WTO Members have demonstrated that they are capable of making difficult, consensus decisions both to improve the environment for trade and investment and to show that trade can be part of the smart solutions to big, global problems like sustainability, the pandemic and our digital future”.

NZIBF welcomes in particular decisions on fish subsidies, pandemic response and the e-commerce moratorium.

“On fish subsidies, the WTO has taken a major step forward with a binding agreement amongst the whole membership, creating new disciplines to prohibit a range of subsidies which threaten fish stocks and imperil the longer term viability of the fishing industry.  This is good news for the environment and for fishers alike.

“On pandemic response, the WTO has agreed a package of measures which highlights the role of trade in combatting the pandemic. This includes a waiver of intellectual property rights for vaccines (“the TRIPs waiver”), which should make vaccines more readily available.

“The decision to continue, until the next Ministerial, a moratorium on imposing tariffs on digital trade, while not as good as making the e-commerce moratorium permanent, at least prevents an outbreak of digital protectionism at a critical time for the global economy”.

NZIBF is however disappointed at the outcome on domestic agricultural subsidies.

“Kicking the can down the road, once again, on agriculture is a blow for farmers and consumers around the world. A renewed work programme is better than nothing, but significant issues remain to be solved once and for all by the WTO membership”, concluded Mr Jacobi.

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