Parliamentary Conference on the WTO

The Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, organized jointly by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the European Parliament (EP), has become a regular fixture on the international calendar. Sessions are organized each year as well as on the occasion of WTO Ministerial Conferences.

The aim of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO is to “strengthen democracy at the international level by bringing a parliamentary dimension to multilateral cooperation on trade issues”. In this regard, the Conference provides legislators with the opportunity to examine developments in the WTO, obtain first-hand information on the state of multilateral trade negotiations, and consider a possible parliamentary contribution to these multilateral processes.

These conferences usually include a briefing from the Director-General of the WTO and dialogue with Geneva-based trade diplomats, including the Chairs of WTO negotiating groups.

Six sessions of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO have been held since 2003. These took place in: Geneva, February 2003; Cancún, September 2003; Brussels, November 2004; Hong Kong, December 2005; Geneva, December 2006 and September 2008. Previously, ad-hoc parliamentary events were held in Seattle in 1999 and in Doha in 2001.