WTO MC12 conference postponed

World Trade Organisation (WTO) has postponed its “World Trade Organization ministerial conference (WTO MC 12), due to concerns over new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Highlights

  • The WTO MC 12 was scheduled to held in November 2021.
  • The WTO was hoping that four-day gathering in Geneva would bring new life into the organisation, which was stuck for years in order to make progress on resolving issues like fishery subsidies.
  • Members of WTO also unanimously supported the postponement call.

Background

The WTO’s 12th ministerial conference (MC12) has already been postponed once before, amid covid-19 pandemic. The conference was originally scheduled to take place in capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan in June 2020. The WTO conference usually takes place once in two years.

WTO MC

Ministerial Conference (MC) is the highest decision-making body of the WTO. The conference is held once every two years, under the Marrakesh Agreement. The conference is attended by trade ministers and other senior officials from 164 members of WTO. First Ministerial Conference (MC1) was held in 1996, in Singapore. The last conference (MC11) was held in 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Objectives of WTO MC

The WTO MC is held with following objectives:

  1. To settle trade disputes between members
  2. To analyze trade policies like subsidies, market access, anti-dumping measures, agricultural policies, etc of the member countries.

Members of WTO

There are 164 members, as of 2020. 24 countries are observers while 13 member countries of the UN are neither observes nor members of WTO. Afghanistan is the newest member to join WTO in 2016.

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