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Ottawa Group Ministerial statement on WTO reform

June 17, 2022

  1. We, the Ministers of the Ottawa Group, reaffirm our strong commitment to multilateralism and rules-based trade with the WTO at its centre. We consider the WTO to be a vital institution to respond to the most pressing global trade challenges and to serve the interests of all Members, including developing countries and LDCs. An effective WTO can play a valuable role in contributing to achieving sustainable development, promoting inclusive trade and addressing global challenges, such as climate change, food insecurity, unsustainable exploitation of the oceans, and pandemics.  We fully support the priority Members have given to WTO reform in all its three functions. We commit to continue to engage in the process of WTO reform with the objective to agree on meaningful outcomes no later than the next WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13).  We stress the importance of proceeding in an inclusive and transparent manner and look forward to engaging all Members.
  2. We commit to actively advance work to improve the WTO’s monitoring and deliberative functions, including enhancing transparency and improving the operation of WTO bodies.
  3. We reaffirm our support to strengthening the WTO’s negotiating function to address the economic and trade realities of the 21st century, and we acknowledge the role that flexible and open negotiating approaches, such as plurilateral initiatives, can play in supporting the WTO. We are fully committed to achieving significant and timely outcomes in the Joint Statement Initiatives on e-commerce and investment facilitation and to integrating these and other outcomes in the WTO framework. In reinvigorating the negotiating function, we need to continue exploring how the development dimension can be best pursued in rule-making efforts.
  4. The rules-based multilateral trading system is a key contributor to global stability and prosperity. We, therefore, value the key features of the WTO dispute settlement system that support rules-based trade. These include the system’s binding, two-tier, impartial, and independent characteristics. But we also see scope for improvements. We will continue to engage constructively in the process of finding a lasting multilateral solution to the current situation regarding the Appellate Body. There is a pressing need to advance work on having a well and fully functioning WTO dispute settlement system in place by MC13.
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