May 26, 2021
Overview of the meeting
The Ottawa Group was inaugurated in 2018, bringing together like-minded WTO member countries* proactive in WTO reform under the leadership of Canada as its chair. Since the spread of COVID-19, the group has been continuously advancing discussions for the purpose of compiling proposals on approaches to securing member countries’ access to medical supplies.
This meeting was held via video conference and, as representatives of Japan, State Minister Nagasaka and Mr. Washio Eiichiro, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the meeting. Participants held discussion on trade and health with the attendance of H.E. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
State Minister Nagasaka made the following comments at the meeting.
- In this once-in-a-century-level crisis, the WTO needs to show visible results before the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in order to demonstrate its significance in dealing with issues regarding trade and health.
- Specifically, in order to secure access to medical supplies, it is necessary to agree on preventing export restrictions and other measures. I would like for all of us to cooperate so that the matters agreed on in the Ottawa Group will be included in the Ministerial Declaration.
- Promoting technology transfer with the cooperation of vaccine developers will be effective for expanding the production of safe vaccines. Given that industries are working at an unprecedented speed, the real challenge is how quickly technology transfer—which requires enormous amounts of time and human resources—can be facilitated.
- Japan will continue to contribute to trade and health discussions.
* Note: Participants (14 countries and regions and the WTO Secretariat):
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the EU, Japan, Kenya, the ROK, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK, and the WTO Secretariat