14/12/2017 16:18 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

WTO conference ends without substantial deals

The 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference concluded in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 13 with no substantial agreements reached after four days of debate.

Speaking to a press conference following the closing session, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo expressed his disappointment about the gathering of 164 WTO members, but also acknowledged some progress had been made, and the work will continue.

Azevedo admitted that there was no outcome in the field of agriculture, one of the main topics on the agenda at the conference.

Some 20 proposals were put forward to curb agricultural subsidies and other measures considered as counter-free-trade, but none were agreed on.

Former Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra, who served as president of this conference, said it was a very complex conference with different outlooks which took place at a watershed moment for international trade.

At the session, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh affirmed Vietnam’s commitment to multilateral trade and lauded the WTO’s role.

According to him, under the Da Nang Declaration reached by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in November in Da Nang, members expressed desire to cooperate in improving the WTO’s operations, including mechanisms for negotiation and dispute supervision and settlement.

It was the first time the biennial WTO Ministerial Conference was held in South America, attracting more than 4,000 delegates from 164 member countries.

Some 180 ministers discussed five key topics, including food security, agricultural development, fisheries subsidies, e-commerce and tariffs on industrial products. They also looked into the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, investment attraction, trade and environment protection.