Ryad Mezzour at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva

The 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) opened on Sunday in Geneva, with the participation of delegations from 164 member countries, including Morocco, represented by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour.

In a speech during the opening session, the Director General of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, drew attention to the particular context in which this conference is being held, marked by “uncertainty and crises on multiple fronts”, noting that “it is time to demonstrate that multilateralism works”.

She defended, on this occasion, “the multilateral trading system as a global public good that we have collectively and carefully built over 75 years “. “While it is certainly not perfect, by historical standards it has brought more prosperity to more people than all the international economic orders that have preceded it”did she say.

“Today, with this seemingly fragile multilateral system, is the time to invest in it, not withdraw from it. Now is the time to mobilize the political will we so badly need to show that the WTO can be part of the solution to the multiple crises of the global commons that we face”, pleaded Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The WTO director-general said members of the organization must respond to global crises with a sense of urgency, calling for strengthening the WTO to enable it “to have a global response to this pandemic and to future ones”.

“The WTO must also respond to a looming food crisis”she pointed out.

She also dwelt on the ongoing negotiations within the WTO, and the issues related to the reform of the Organization, emphasizing that “it is clear that the fundamental functions of surveillance, negotiation and dispute settlement at the WTO have not evolved in a way that adequately takes into account the rapid economic and technological developments of our time”.

“A crucial element of reform is to ensure that the WTO delivers results for developing and least-developed country members. This is why it is so important to reaffirm the importance of special and differential treatment within the WTO”she added.

During this conference, which will continue until June 15, “ministers from around the world will have the opportunity to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system, make general statements and take measures for the future work of the WTO,” the organization said in a statement.

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