January 21, 2022
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. Ushikusa, Deputy Assistant Minister for International Affairs attended this meeting as representatives of Japan. Participants held discussions mainly on trade and health, and WTO reform.
State Minister Hosoda made the following comments at the meeting.
- Japan welcomes the news that discussions and negotiations are progressing and that joint statements are being made as part of the Joint Statement Initiatives (JSIs) even after the 12th WTO Ministerial Meeting (MC12) was postponed. It is important to move forward while maintaining openness, transparency, and inclusiveness, and engaging developing countries.
- Japan fears that since the Appellate Body stopped functioning, countries are more inclined to resort to unilateral action, which could undermine rules-based governance. It is crucial to urgently start concrete discussions, in order to restore the dispute settlement function.
- The number of members co-sponsoring the proposal on notification and transparency is steadily increasing. In order to gain support from all WTO Members, Japan encourages all Ottawa group members to participate in the initiative as soon as possible.
Division in Charge
Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau