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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Agriculture is among four top priority issues

Agriculture Among Top Priorities, WTO DG Says
Agriculture is among four top priority issues for the WTO membership, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said.

She told a 22 May meeting of the organisation’s General Council that, in her consultations with WTO members, the topic was repeatedly identified as a priority for action – along with progress on fisheries subsidies, dispute settlement reform, and investment facilitation for development.
Progress has been slow in the long-running agriculture negotiations, which began in 2000. While WTO members managed to take steps forward at ministerial conferences in 20132015, and 2022, they were unable to reach consensus on how to make further progress when they met for the 13th ministerial conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi this February. (See News Harvest, March 2023).

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

On 18 May, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministers issued a statement expressing their concern that MC13 “did not lead to concrete results on agricultural reform”, and recognising the positive role that trade can play in achieving global food security and food safety. G7 leaders also said they recognised the results of the conference, “despite the lack of more ambitious outcomes”, in their 15 June communiqué.
At the General Council meeting, the Director-General encouraged Members with new ideas to put them forward, welcoming a paper that had been submitted by Brazil.
“I am encouraged by the new willingness to find a pathway to break the logjam”, she said.

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