The rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, is essential to securing a strong, sustainable and inclusive global economic recovery.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, hosted a virtual meeting of the Ottawa Group to advance work on WTO reform. During the meeting, also attended by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, members committed to continuing momentum towards achieving strong outcomes on trade and health, WTO reform, as well as on negotiations related to fisheries subsidies and agriculture.
Minister Ng emphasized the WTO’s important role in ensuring that the global trading system contributes to ending the pandemic and future global health crises. The group committed to working closely together to address trade barriers in essential medical goods, including export restrictions, customs clearance, transparency and sharing of best practices between public and private sectors.
The Minister and her Ottawa Group counterparts also discussed next steps on WTO reform priorities. The group agreed to intensify its engagement with other members to restore a fully functioning WTO dispute-settlement system. Meeting participants also committed to improving transparency at the WTO, and encouraged broad participation by all members to ensure the WTO meets the needs of both developing and developed countries.