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Statement by Minister Hagiuda on the 12th WTO Ministerial Meeting

June 17, 2022

  1. The twelfth WTO Ministerial Meeting was held for the first time in four and a half years from June 12th to 17th. A Ministerial Declaration was adopted, with the response to the pandemic, food security and WTO reform as its key pillars. I would like to welcome the fact that we were able to hold this meeting, which had had to be postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and were able to adopt the Ministerial Declaration by consensus.

  1. It is essential to maintain and strengthen the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, to promote growth of the global economy, prevent protectionist measures and appropriately respond to social economic issues and changes such as the pandemic, digitalization and climate change from a trade perspective. Today’s outcome is an important step towards to this end. We will continue to advance discussions with WTO members to develop this outcome and move forward efforts to deal with global challenges.

  1. In addition, although not the main subject of discussion at MC12, more than 70 like-minded countries and regions are already engaging in discussions and negotiations in areas such as e-commerce and environmental sustainability under the framework of the WTO. Japan is leading such efforts, for example through co-chairing the e-commerce negotiations. Negotiations among like-minded countries have already produced robust results, including the agreement reached last December on Services Domestic Regulation. We will continue to steadily advance new international rulemaking through trade negotiations among like-minded countries, building on the Joint Statement in respective areas issued at the end of 2021.

  1. Further, Regarding the dispute settlement function of the WTO, we will focus on discussions toward the restoration of its functioning by 2024, while also examining interim approaches while the Appellate Body is suspended.

  1. In order to respond to the disruption in economic activities caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the pandemic, Japan will continue to lead WTO reform, including the strengthening of the WTO’s negotiating, monitoring and dispute settlement functions, in close cooperation with Director-General Okonjo=Iweala and like-minded Members, and will work to improve the WTO’s capability to respond to various issues.

Division in Charge

Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau

Last updated:2022-06-17