This event will not be taking place as planned due to the postponement of MC12

Business Forum at MC12

The Business Forum will be held on 2 December at the CICG in Geneva during the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12). Private and public sector speakers from around the world will offer their perspectives on some of the most pressing issues facing the WTO, with the aim of developing private sector recommendations on priorities for the organization. These recommendations will be presented to the Chair of MC12 and the WTO Director-General. The event is co-organized by the B20 Italy, the International Chamber of Commerce and the WTO.

MC12 accreditation allows access to the Business Forum

This is the second Business Forum organized in parallel with a WTO Ministerial Conference, following on from the successful Forum held in December 2017 in Buenos Aires. The event will be webcast on the WTO website.

8:30 - 9:15


Welcome Remarks:

  • Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan
  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organization
  • Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Switzerland

Master of ceremony:

  • Marco Felisati, Deputy Director Internationalization and Trade Policy at Confindustria, B20

9:20 - 9:55

What does the WTO need to do to get back on track: Conversation with business


  • Damien Bruckard, Deputy Director, Trade and Investment, ICC


  • Emma Marcegaglia, B20 Italy Chair
  • John Denton, Secretary General, ICC
  • Vincent Subilia, Director General, Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services.

Plenary Session #1 10:00 - 10:55

Outlook and opportunities at MC12: Deliverables and Future Agenda

What can MC12 deliver for business, the global economy and people of the world.


  • Hannah Monicken, Inside US Trade


  • Vladis Dombrovskis, Trade Commissioner, European Union
  • Rodrigo Yez, Under-Secretary for International Economic Relations, Chile
  • Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, India

Plenary Session #2 11:00 - 11:55

WTO Reform, what is needed to make the organization fit for purpose in the 21st century

Everyone has an idea of what reform of the WTO entails but as yet we are far from consensus on the best path for reform. Should reform encompass new areas of activity or is it best to address longstanding negotiating issues first. How should the dispute settlement system be reformed? Are different negotiating models required? Reform of the WTO is crucial for the retaining the organization's relevance but what is the best means of achieving this goal?


  • Alan Beattie, Senior Trade Writer, The Financial Times


  • Mari Pangestu, Managing director for development policy and partnerships, World Bank
  • Chad Bown, Senior Fellow, Petersen Institute
  • Barbara Beltrame
  • Lisa Schroeter, Global Director of Trade and Investment Policy, Dow Chemicals
  • Kubota Masakazu, Vice Chairman/President, Keidanren

Plenary Session #3 12:00 - 12:55

The Role of the WTO in Combatting the COVID-19 Pandemic

Trade has contributed positively to the COVID-19 pandemic response and the WTO has played a central role by focussing on export restrictions, the importance of trade facilitation, supply chain resilience and the pragmatic use of the TRIPs agreement provisions.


  • Ashleigh Furlong, London correspondent, Politico


  • Sai Prasad, President, Bharat Biotech
  • Carlos Grau Tanner, Executive Director for Global Express Association
  • Werner Baumann, CEO, Bayer
  • Thaddeus Burns, Head Government and Public Affairs at Merck Life Science
  • Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)


Networking Lunch

Plenary Session #4 14:00 - 14:55

Trading in a post COVID-19 world: how digital trade and shifting supply chains will transform trade in the future

At the beginning of the pandemic there was wide speculation that global supply chains could be upended by crisis. Reshoring was much discussed as a way forward. A McKinsey survey in May 2020 indicated that 93% of companies planned to make their supply chains more resilient. But supply chains have proven stubbornly resilient to the impact of COVID-19 with most companies now seeking to diversify their supplies rather than reshoring. Nonetheless, the pandemic and technological advances have changed the supply chain landscape offering opportunities as well as risks for exporters and importers.


  • Annette Weisbach, CNBC


  • Darya Galperina, Head of International Trade, Pernod Ricard
  • Sahra English, Vice President, Global Public Policy, Mastercard
  • Pinaman Owusu, Founder and CEO, Adjoaa
  • David Weller, Director of Economic and Trade Policy, Google
  • Farisa Zarin, Global Head of Group Public and Regulatory Affairs, Standard Chartered

Plenary Session #5 15:00 - 15:55

Building a more inclusive and sustainability driven WTO: making trade greener

Sustainable development and the protection and preservation of the environment are fundamental goals of the WTO. This session will focus on how can we make trade greener for better and more sustainable economic growth and what WTO can do to help support MSMEs to help them participate in international trade and make them more resilient post COVID-19?


  • Jacki Davis, Managing Director, Meade Davis Communications


  • Vanessa Erogbogbo, Chief, Sustainable and Inclusive Value Chains, ITC
  • Ute John, Head of Trade and Sustainability, Daimler
  • Ingrid Sinclair, Global President, Sims Lifecycle Services
  • Pr Larshans, Head of Sustainability and Public Affairs
  • Mara Fernanda Garza Merodio, CEO, Orestia

Plenary Session #6 16:00 16:55

What can regional trade agreements teach the WTO about charting the future course for trade

Regional trade agreements are becoming a key element in international trade relations. They have become deeper and more complex; their coverage evolved from tariff liberalization to new areas of trade. How can these agreements impact the work of the WTO and the way its members negotiate and build new multilateral trade agreements in the future.


  • Lerato Mbele, International media personality and consultant


  • Rebecca Fatima Santa Maria, Executive Director, APEC
  • Luisa Santos, Deputy Director General, BusinessEurope
  • Susan Danger, CEO, AmChamEU
  • Sarah Thorn, Senior Director Global Government Affairs, Walmart

Plenary Session #7 17:00 17:20

The future of global trade: recommendations from the private sector

Guidance from the private sector has been critically important to the work of the WTO. The role of the private sector was instrumental in brokering an agreement on Trade Facilitation and in the launching of the Joint Statement Initiatives. As MC12 winds down, what is that business leaders want from the WTO at this meeting and in the years to come.


  • Dana Bajjali, Media and External Relations Officer, WTO


  • Emma Marcegaglia, Chair, B20
  • John Denton, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce

17:25 - 17:35

Closing Address

  • Timur Suleimenov, Deputy Chief of President Tokayev's Administration, Envoy for International Trade, Chair of MC12, Kazakhstan

17:35 - 19:00

Networking event


Delivery of Business Recommendations to DG Okonjo-Iweala and Minister Suleimenov



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