Extended to six days from the initially scheduled four days, the meeting produced the 1+4 package following rounds of intensive talks and fierce clashes among members. The “1” refers to the outcome document, where members recommit to strengthen the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core and to work towards necessary reform of the WTO. The “4” include first, a Ministerial Decision on the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and a Ministerial Declaration on the WTO Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Preparedness for Future Pandemics to improve the accessibility and affordability of COVID vaccines for developing country members and contribute to a global community of health for all and post-pandemic economic recovery. Second, an Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, which is the first multilateral deal reached by the WTO in nine years and will contribute significantly to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Third, a Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity and a Ministerial Decision on World Food Programme (WFP) Food Purchases Exemptions from Export Prohibitions or Restrictions to maintain a free and open agricultural trade environment and increase the resilience of global food and agricultural markets. Fourth, a Decision on the E-commerce Moratorium and Work Programme, which extends the moratorium on customs duties for electronic transmission till the next ministerial conference.
In the difficult context of global turmoil and the multilateral trading system facing grave challenges, the success of MC12 marks a decisive and crucial victory for multilateralism, fully demonstrating the resolve of WTO members to come together and overcome difficult times, renewing the confidence of the international community in the multilateral trading system and infusing great positivity into global efforts to tackle challenges and revive the economy.
Throughout the meeting, the Chinese delegation conscientiously implemented the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions on the ‘three supports’ for the WTO’s work, fully participated in all consultations and strengthened communications with Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Ever a team player and acting in line with China’s status as a responsible major country, the Chinese side facilitated negotiations and dealmaking and contributed enormously to agreements on related issues. The positive approach, professionalism and constructive role of the Chinese delegation was fully recognized and commended by the Director-General and other participants.
China is a staunch advocate and contributor of the multilateral trading system. China will seriously implement the outcomes of the meeting, actively take part in the WTO reform and push it to play a bigger role in improving global economic governance and promoting economic globalization and world economic prosperity and stability.