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NFTC Statement on the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference

WASHINGTON DC - National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) President Jake Colvin today issued the following statement following the conclusion of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva:

"It is clear that there's a tremendous need for a vibrant WTO that is able to tackle shared global priorities, but this ministerial laid bare the increasingly severe limits to meaningful outcomes that require unanimous agreement.

"Rather than digging into conversations about forward-looking solutions to pressing global challenges, ministers spent an alarming amount of time trying to prevent backpedaling on existing WTO rules at the behest of a small handful of countries.

"While we welcome the extension of the e-commerce moratorium, it's beyond frustrating that officials spent the entire conference preventing its demise rather than looking ahead at how to further strengthen the global digital economy.

"The WTO also missed an opportunity to tackle genuine barriers to pandemic response, as officials largely focused on an inconsequential effort to create new exceptions to the global IP framework instead of aggressively pursuing robust commitments on trade facilitation, export restrictions and market access barriers.

"One bright spot was the agreement on fisheries subsidies, which is an important signal of the ability of trade policy to help address shared environmental challenges.

"We commend Director-General Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and those ministers who worked in good faith for their hard work to advance a positive agenda for the multilateral trading system.

"Looking ahead, it's vital for the vast majority of WTO members who want to see the organization address shared priorities like e-commerce, supply chains, inclusive growth, climate and health pursue flexible pathways that foster commercially-meaningful outcomes and prevent any one member from obstructing progress."

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses