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WTO seeks deals in early 2022 despite major meeting postponed

The World Trade Organization is expected to be able to conclude negotiations on fisheries subsidies and a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2022, even after postponing / wto-postpones-major-meeting-over -covid-19-concerns-sources-2021-11-26 its ministerial meeting this week, its chief executive said on Tuesday. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, speaking at a briefing on the day his ministerial conference (MC12) was due to begin, said the postponement had interrupted momentum “for 48 hours” and that the Geneva-based professional body was now back to work.

The WTO plans to postpone MC12 to early March after it was delayed due to coronavirus travel restrictions. Members are expected later this week to discuss what to do next. Two of the most advanced negotiations relate to reducing fisheries subsidies to preserve global fish stocks and provide a commercial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including on how to increase vaccine supply to income countries low and intermediate.

India and South Africa have offered to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, but face opposition from developed members such as the European Union, Britain and the United Kingdom. Swiss. They say it would be better to use flexibilities in existing WTO rules, which allow countries to license local producers. “I hope we are working now, we are coming back after the holidays, we continue and I hope that at the beginning of next year we can at least conclude the response to the pandemic and the fishery,” Okonjo said- Iweala.

The WTO must change the way it works and ambassadors must have more decision-making power, its director general said. He could also potentially use virtual ministerial meetings to bless the texts when completed. “We don’t know the trajectory of this pandemic, so we have to rethink the way we work… an outcome,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)