Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday agreed that the Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12), which has been postponed due to the epidemic, will take place in Geneva in the week of June 13. .
The WTO said in a statement that the decision was taken following a relaxation of controls on the Covit-19 epidemic in Switzerland, the conference’s host country.
At the same meeting, the two countries agreed to begin negotiations to integrate Turkmenistan into the 164-member body.
“Turkmenistan, a country in Central Asia with a population of about 6.2 million, was the last of the former Soviet republics to apply to join the World Trade Organization,” it said.
In another Central Asian country, Kazakhstan, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference was scheduled for June 2020, the first time since late 2017. However, it was postponed following the appearance of the first cases of Covid 19. At the end of 2019. It was rescheduled for the end of 2021, following the appearance of the Omicron variant, which was postponed again at the last minute for health reasons.
Since then, WTO discussions – such as overfishing and illegal fishing, agriculture or intellectual property issues related to the fight against the cove – have stalled.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, hopes to snatch the agreement on the response to the epidemic during this meeting. But divisions between nations, especially over the suspension of patents for vaccines and other technologies against Govt disease, continue.
In order to advance these discussions, some countries started a small group in December and negotiated to compromise on the issue of intellectual property and access to vaccines in poorer countries.
At a meeting on Tuesday, several countries expressed their appreciation for the efforts of this small group trying to reach a compromise. According to the Geneva-based trade representative, only Switzerland has openly criticized the process, saying the breakout format is inconsistent with key WTO policies.
Ms. Ngozi wants to see an agreement against public assistance for overfishing and illegal fishing, which has been the subject of debate in the WTO for two decades.
The WTO has been in an institutional crisis with the Court of Appeals since the United States neutralized it in late 2019, blocking the appointment of new judges and calling for a restructuring of the body.