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Solá in WTO: “Crisis will be overcome if we move forward with equitable and accessible global vaccination”

Friday, 29 January 2021
Information for the Press N°: 

“We are facing an unprecedented crisis for the global economy due to the strong social and economic impact of the pandemic, which we hope can be solved as we move forward with the vaccination process in an equitable and accesible way in every country,” stated Foreign Minister Felipe Solá during his participation in the World Trade Organization Mini-Ministerial Meeting, during which the members discussed the necessary conditions to overcome the crisis caused by COVID-19, and priority issues regarding negotiations on fisheries subsidies.

In line with President Alberto Fernández’s remarks in the Davos Forum, Solá stated before the organization members that “to achieve a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery we need to reaffirm our commitment towards trade promotion as an important engine for development, with a rules-based multilateral system and with the WTO at its core,” and he insisted on the fact that “this is the time to strengthen dialogue and international cooperation.”

The Minister stressed that “it is urgent that the WTO Director General selection process be completed following the agreed procedures and modalities, in order to speed up the necessary decisions to hold a hopefully successful Ministerial Conference.”

At the same time, Solá stated that “it is a priority to focus on long-standing issues, particularly on the continuous reform of agricultural trade rules and the prohibition of fisheries subsidies,” because “tackling current imbalances in these areas is critical to achieve development, inclusive growth and the eradication of hunger and poverty,” particularly “taking into account that the pandemic has had a greater impact on developing countries and has helped to widen the substantial development gap.”

The Foreign Minister, joined by the Secretary for International Economic Relations, Jorge Neme, stated that “we need to continue with the agricultural talks and work together to create rules in the global agricultural markets that contribute towards a sustainable agriculture that can guarantee global food security. To that end, we have to focus on the issues that have a greater impact, such as domestic assistance.” He also stated that “it is important to work with the goal of having an Appellate Body back on track.”

Regarding fisheries subsidies, he regretted that “the deadline set for the end of 2020 to reach this agreement could not be met,” and urged “the members to show flexibility and pragmatism to conclude the negotiations successfully and as soon as possible. We know that the high fisheries subsidies have distorted the cost of fishing and have artificially increased its benefits, which has contributed to illegal fishing and to overcapacity and overfishing.”

The meeting was attended, among others, by the heads of the foreign and trade departments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Canciller Felipe Solá_OMC