January 21, 2022
On January 21 (Fri.), a WTO Informal Ministerial Meeting chaired by Switzerland was held via video conference. Mr. Hagiuda Koichi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, attended the meeting.
1. Overview of the meeting
WTO Informal Ministerial Meetings are usually held to coincide with the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, every January, and a meeting was held this year too. The meeting brought together ministers responsible for trade from over 28 WTO members as well as representatives of the WTO Secretariat. As representatives of Japan, Minister Hagiuda, Mr. Hayashi Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Takebe Arata, State Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, attended the meeting.
The main topics of discussion at the meeting were pandemic response, fishery subsidies, agriculture, and WTO reforms. Minister Hagiuda made the following comments on WTO reform.
- In order to address modern challenges such as digital protectionism and climate change, it is necessary to speed up the discussions by like-minded members while ensuring openness, transparency, and inclusiveness for all members. Japan hopes to encourage as many nations as possible to participate, and to achieve early results in areas other than services domestic regulations.
- If the dispute settlement system is unable to function, trust in the WTO's rules could be lost. Ministers of all members should commit to the early start of concrete discussions toward reform.
- Japan hopes to encourage support from more memers for the proposal on notification and transparency.
- The WTO forms an essential foundation for a free and fair economic order, and Japan intends to continue discussions with other countries on WTO reform.
Switzerland (chair), Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, the EU, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, the ROK, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the U.K., the U.S., the Africa Group (Cameroon), the Least-developed Country (LDC) Group (Chad), the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group (Jamaica), and the WTO Secretariat
Division in Charge
Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau