WTO ministerial conference ends with practical deals

WTO ministerial conference ends with practical deals

The four-day 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded here Saturday with several practical agreements reached after intensive negotiations, and China’s positive and constructive role won wide praise during the meeting.

At the closing ceremony, WTO members adopted the Abu Dhabi Ministerial Declaration, pledging to strengthen the multilateral trading system and continue to promote WTO reform.

The declaration also emphasizes the centrality of the development dimension in the work of the WTO, while recognizing the role of the multilateral trading system in contributing to the realization
of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In addition, on e-commerce, members agree to maintain the current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions until the next session of the ministerial conference scheduled in two years. The moratorium and the work program will expire on that date, according to a ministerial decision adopted on Friday.

On dispute settlement reform, members adopted a ministerial decision acknowledging the advancements achieved towards establishing a fully operational dispute settlement system accessible to all members by 2024. Ministers have directed officials to expedite discussions, build on the progress already made and address outstanding issues.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stressed the progress made with contributions from members. “Let’s continue to roll up our sleeves to advance this reform and deliver by 2024,” she said.

In the conference, Comoros and Timor-Leste were formally approved to join the WTO, the first new members in almost eight years. Members agreed on concrete measures to ease the path to graduation from the category of least-developed countries (LDCs), helping the LDCs better integrate into the multilateral trading system, according to a ministerial decision on support measures for countries which graduated from the LDCs.

Okonjo-Iweala thanked members for their efforts to seek convergence on difficult issues, particularly as the conference against a global backdrop marked by economic and geopolitical uncertainties. khmertimeskh

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