Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference
The WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) took place from 12 to 17 June 2022 at WTO headquarters in Geneva. Ministers from across the world attended to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system, to make general statements and to take action on the future work of the WTO. The Conference was co-hosted by Kazakhstan and chaired by Mr Timur Suleimenov, Deputy Chief of Staff of Kazakhstan's President. Kazakhstan was originally scheduled to host MC12 in June 2020 but the conference was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference concluded successfully on 17 June, with agreement on a package of key trade initiatives.
How the conference was organized
The Opening Session of the Conference took place on Sunday 12 June. At the end of this session, pre-recorded and written statements submitted by ministers and heads of delegation were posted on the WTO website. A subsequent session on the challenges facing the multilateral trading system provided ministers with the opportunity to deliver prepared statements on this topic.
On 13-14 June, thematic sessions were held on particular areas of WTO activities. These were followed at the end of each day by a meeting of heads of delegations.
On 15 June, the conference was extended by a day to facilitate outcomes on the main issues under discussion. The Closing Session took place on 17 June.
WTO members successfully concluded MC12 on 17 June, securing multilaterally negotiated outcomes on a series of key trade initiatives.
The “Geneva package” adopted by members includes:
- an outcome document (WT/MIN(22)/24)
- a package on WTO response to emergencies, comprising:
- a Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity (WT/MIN(22)/28)
- a Ministerial Decision on World Food Programme (WFP) Food Purchases Exemptions from Export Prohibitions or Restrictions (WT/MIN(22)/29)
- a Ministerial Declaration on the WTO Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Preparedness for Future Pandemics (WT/MIN(22)/31)
- a Ministerial Decision on the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (WT/MIN(22)/30)
- a Decision on the E-commerce Moratorium and Work Programme (WT/MIN(22)/32)
- an Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (WT/MIN(22)/33).
In addition, ministers adopted two decisions - on the Work Programme on Small Economies (WT/MIN(22)/25) and on the TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints (WT/MIN(22)/26) — and a Sanitary and Phytosanitary Declaration for the Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference: Responding to Modern SPS Challenges (WT/MIN(22)/27).
MC12 “Geneva package” — in brief
A brief explanation of the decisions adopted by members at MC12.
DG Okonjo-Iweala has urged members to start focusing on the implementation of the Geneve Package and to keep delivering results for people across the globe.
These briefing notes are designed to provide background information on issues relevant to the Ministerial Conference.
MC12 was originally scheduled to take place in June 2020 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 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.
On 25 April, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, MC12 Chair Mr Timur Suleimenov and General Council Chair Ambassador Didier Chambovey informed members that MC12 would take place on 12-16 June 2022 at WTO headquarters in Geneva.