On June 12, 2022, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin attended the opening event of the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva. The ministerial meeting will focus on the trade challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the looming food crisis, strengthening the rules-based trading system, and negotiations on harmful fisheries subsidies.
The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference will take place in Geneva from June 12 to 15, 2022, and be co-hosted by Kazakhstan. Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin underlined the global importance of the WTO and of functioning world trade for development, prosperity and sustainability. He stressed that multilateralism and international law play an important role, especially in times of great international tension.
The main topic of the conference will be the search for trade policy solutions to overcome the health and economic consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Proposals to improve the supply of medical goods to the world’s population and the role of intellectual property in pandemic response are also up for discussion.
Other key issues include the looming food crisis, negotiations on fisheries subsidies that are harmful to sustainability and the modernisation of the now 27-year-old organisation. Switzerland is also committed to achieving progress on plurilateral initiatives on trade and the environment, investment facilitation, e-commerce and SMEs.
The WTO provides a basis for the rules-based multilateral trading system. It is therefore of great importance for Switzerland, an exporting country which is closely integrated into international value chains.
The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference has been postponed several times due to the pandemic and will now take place at WTO headquarters rather than in Nur-Sultan, the Kazakh capital, as originally planned.