Speaking at an informal meeting of the OECD Ministerial Council in Paris on 23 May, WTO’s Director-General Roberto Azevêdo urged ministers’ action on systemic issues and warned that current progress on fisheries subsidies would need to intensify in order to have a successful outcome by the end of the year.
The meeting was about how to advance negotiations on fisheries subsidies, and what WTO reform and negotiating outcomes should be targeted for the 12th Ministerial Conference in Kazakhstan in June 2020.
“To advance, we will need greater political engagement and a greater acceptance of the need for compromise.”, he said, commenting on the fisheries subsidies negotiations. He also updated ministers on work in other negotiating areas and the current debate on WTO reform, saying: “We need both to address systemic challenges and to advance our negotiating work, in parallel. Positive engagement at ministerial level in the coming months will be crucial.”