WTO foreign ministers convene 11th conference

Monday, 2017-12-11 06:09:03
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The Vietnamese delegation at the conference. (Credit: VNA)
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NDO/VNA – The 11th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 10 drawing the participation of more than 400 delegates from 164 member countries.

The Vietnamese delegation was led by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, who was joined by Ambassador Duong Chi Dung, Head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the UN, the WTO, and other international organisations in Geneva, and Vietnamese Ambassador to Argentina Dang Xuan Dung.

Opening the event, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo lauded the contributions of member countries in facilitating global trade, especially amid the global economic crisis.

He affirmed the WTO will uphold multilateralism, while calling for members’ greater flexibility in negotiations on global trade issues.

He acknowledged that there are some large differences in negotiations, as well as the threat of trade protectionism. He stressed the need for improvements to the multilateral trade system, which is an important factor for stability and world economic growth.

Azevedo called for WTO members to strengthen their commitments to the world trade system, while focusing on developing human resources, protecting the environment, and ensuring equality across genders and social spectrums.

At the conference, Argentinean Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie delivered a Buenos Aires Joint Statement, which was signed by ten countries.

The nearly 180 foreign ministers at the conference will have four working days to discuss food security, agriculture development, fisheries support, e-commerce, and tax on industrial products.

On the sidelines of the event, a number of conferences will also be held, including a workshop on sustainable trade and development, a business forum, and a WTO parliamentarian conference. The EU and the North American common market (Mercosur) are expected to issue a joint statement on the outcomes of negotiations for their free trade agreement.