Trade Advocacy Fund

Argentina to host the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in 2017

October 6th, 2016 by

The next WTO Ministerial Conference will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This was confirmed at the recently held WTO General Council Session on 3rd October 2016 in Geneva. The first South American country to host the biennial meetings, Argentina made the offer alongside Uruguay but the latter withdrew its proposal, letting Argentina take the lead. The specific dates for the MC11 meeting are yet to be confirmed but it is slated to take place in early December 2017.

The WTO Ministerial Conference is a gathering of Trade Ministers from WTO Member Countries who meet once every 2 years to take decisions on topics under the multilateral trading system, particularly the Doha Round of trade talks.

The last Ministerial Conference (MC10) which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, resulted in adoption of the “Nairobi package” which was essentially an agreement of a cluster of Ministerial Decisions on Cotton, Agriculture and on issues related to Least-Developed countries (LDCs). Specifically, the package includes a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports, a decision on public stockholding for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and measures related to cotton. There was also an agreement reached on the preferential treatment for least developed countries (LDCs) in the area of services exports and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences.

The areas of focus for the next Ministerial Conference are yet to be decided, but Trade Ministers have been urged to provide the necessary political leadership and engagement in the coming months to agree on negotiation topics. This is seen as key to continuing with the positive momentum gained from MC9 in Bali and MC10 in Nairobi. Possible areas of focus for MC11 include digital trade, enhancing the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in the trading system, and services trade facilitation. LDCs will also want to ensure that development related issues remain a key consideration in the MC 11 agenda.

 

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