“Development has a central place in the WTO's work”, DG Okonjo-Iweala said. “We need to respond to the needs and concerns of developing countries that account for two-thirds of the WTO membership. … Beyond the agreements we already have, we also see opportunities for developing countries to take advantage of what we are calling ‘re-globalization’ and the decentralization of supply chains.”

The 10 Agreement-specific proposals tabled by the WTO G90 group of developing WTO members seek to strengthen existing flexibilities for developing members contained in WTO agreements, otherwise known as “special and differential treatment”, and to make them more precise, effective and operational.

At the meeting, the chair of the Special Session, Ambassador Kadra Ahmed Hassan of Djibouti, appointed representatives from Brazil and from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines respectively, to facilitate discussions on two proposals by the G90 group concerning the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) and Article 66.2 (Least-Developed Country Members) of the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The chair also announced that consultations are ongoing concerning the appointment of a facilitator for a third G90 proposal, on Section B of Article XVIII (Governmental Assistance to Economic Development) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The G90 presented its communications on the three proposals, which it had circulated in November.

Over the past few months, members have engaged in focused discussions concerning the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). The G90's proposals relating to these two agreements can be found here. Several developing members shared their experiences in the areas of SPS and TBT and the challenges they face. Reporting on his consultations, the facilitator from Singapore urged members to be flexible and creative in working towards concrete outcomes at MC13.

In March 2023, members agreed to the G90's proposition to hold focused discussions on each of the ten Agreement-specific proposals. The G90 confirmed its intention to circulate additional communications relating to its other proposals promptly.

Stating in her concluding remarks that “there is a lot of work in front of us”, Ambassador Hassan called on members to “continue this work until and after MC13.” She added, “The world is waiting and watching the WTO delivering on development. I believe that with the right amount of political will, commitment and pragmatism we can do it, and we have to do it right.”


At the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), ministers reaffirmed that the provisions of special and differential treatment for developing members and LDCs form an integral part of the WTO and its agreements.

The negotiations taking place in the Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Development are mandated by Paragraph 44 of the 2001 Doha Ministerial Declaration.

More information on special and differential treatment is available here.




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