China's commerce minister: WTO reform should promote globalization, benefit all members
Reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) needs to reinforce its functions and promote economic globalization to benefit all members, China's Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said on Sunday.
The WTO-centered multilateral trading system is the cornerstone of international trade, and China is willing to work with all parties to promote the WTO to play a bigger role in global economic recovery, Wang said at the opening of the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, which takes place from June 12 to 15.
During the four-day meeting, members of the trade organization will hold discussions on such issues as TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waivers for COVID-19 vaccines, pandemic response, fishery subsidies, agriculture and food security, as well as the WTO's reform and its future work priorities.
Wang said China will continue to safeguard the multilateral trading system with concrete actions and support the WTO reform to move in the right direction.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the world is currently facing multiple crises such as the epidemic, food shortages, climate change and regional conflicts, and she called on all parties to work together to overcome the difficulties.
"No one country can solve these crises on its own, this is a time that you need the world to work together," she said.
China has provided more than 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations, according to Wang. China supports the WTO's attempts to reach a consensus on intellectual property exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine at an early date, he said.
The Ministerial Conference, which is attended by trade ministers and other senior officials from the organization's 164 members, is the WTO's highest decision-making body, and is generally held every two years.
Kazakhstan was originally scheduled to host MC12 in June 2020, but the conference was postponed due to the pandemic.