MINISTERIAL CONFERENCES

Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference

The General Council agreed on 26 November 2021 to postpone the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) after an outbreak of a particularly transmissible strain of the COVID-19 virus led several governments to impose travel restrictions that would have prevented many ministers from reaching Geneva. MC12 was due to start on 30 November 2021 and run until 3 December 2021. No date has been set for the rescheduling of the Ministerial Conference. This marks the second time that the pandemic has forced a postponement of MC12. The meeting was originally due to take place in June 2020 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

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Background

MC12 was originally scheduled to take place in June 2020 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020, WTO members discussed Kazakhstan's offer to reschedule the conference to June 2021 but postponed taking a decision due to the ongoing pandemic. In April 2021, members agreed that MC12 would take place in Geneva from 30 November to 3 December. However, an outbreak of a new highly transmissible strain of the COVID-19 virus and resulting travel restrictions led to a General Council decision on 26 November 2021 to postpone MC12 indefinitely.

Ministerial conferences

The Ministerial Conference, which is attended by trade ministers and other senior officials from the organization’s 164 members, is the highest decision-making body of the WTO. Under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO, the Ministerial Conference is to meet at least once every two years.

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