December 16, 2021
On December 16 (Thu.), 2021, a WTO-related (Ottawa Group) Ministerial Meeting, consisting of like-minded members, was held via video conference, and Mr. Hosoda Kenichi, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, attended the meeting.
1．Overview of the meeting
The Ottawa Group was inaugurated in 2018, bringing together like-minded WTO members* 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 members’ access to medical supplies.
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the EU, Japan, Kenya, the ROK, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, UK, and the WTO Secretariat
State Minister Hosoda, Mr. Odawara Kiyoshi, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Takebe Arata, State Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, attended this meeting as representatives of Japan. Participants held discussions mainly on key outcomes to be achieved at the postponed 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), and WTO reform.
State Minister Hosoda made the following comments at the meeting.
- Currently, we are facing several issues, such as digital protectionism, climate change, and market-distorting practices. In order to address these challenges through trade, it is vital to accelerate discussions through the Joint Statement Initiatives (JSIs).
- Recently, we issued joint statements on service domestic regulation, e-commerce, investment facilitation, and trade and environmental sustainability. We believe that further achievements in JSIs will demonstrate the effectiveness of the WTO as a negotiating forum.
- It is important to steadily accumulate achievements together with developing countries, while maintaining the openness, transparency, and inclusiveness of JSIs. Japan would like to seek early achievements, especially in the areas of e-commerce and the environment. We would also like to initiate dialogues with like-minded members on the issue of industrial susidies after further discussions at the Trilateral Trade Ministerial Meetings.
- Discussions on restoring the WTO dispute settlement function should be resumed as soon as possible.
- Regarding the monitoring function, we look forward to reaching an early agreement on the proposal on transparency and notification requirements.
- We would like to continue discussions with Ottawa Group Members to strengthen the functioning of the WTO.
Division in ChargeMultilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau