IISD experts on MC13 outcomes

IISD experts react to the outcomes and conclusions of negotiations at the Thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (MC13) (WTO). 

March 4, 2024

What happened at the WTO's 13th Ministerial Conference?

Alice Tipping, Director, Trade and Sustainable Development, reflects on the outcomes of WTO MC13 in Abu Dhabi, noting that while decisions on e-commerce and development kept the WTO afloat, the unresolved issues on agriculture and fisheries could have propelled the organization forward. She highlights the significant value left on the table due to these unaddressed decisions. Despite the setbacks, delegates express determination and commitment to finding ways to progress in Geneva. Alice acknowledges the challenges of multilateralism, emphasizing that the long haul may be just a bit longer than anticipated. 


Fisheries Subsidies

Tristan Irschlinger, Policy Advisor on Fisheries Subsidies, expresses disappointment that WTO members failed to agree on new rules to curb harmful fisheries subsidies at MC13. Despite the setback, he emphasizes that they were remarkably close to consensus and encourages a renewed effort to find common ground. Tristan urges members to keep working and chart a path forward to address this crucial issue.


Agricultural Trade

Facundo Calvo, Agriculture Trade Policy Analyst, expressed disappointment with the lack of progress on agriculture and food security at the recent WTO MC13. Notably, he highlighted the absence of advancements in reducing harmful agricultural subsidies and finding a permanent solution for public stockholding at "fixed" or "administered" prices, emphasizing the implications of extending the 2013 Bali interim solution to least-developed countries (LDCs).


Investment Facilitation

Rashmi Jose, Senior Policy Advisor, shares that there was no decision to include a new plurilateral treaty on the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement (IFDA). Despite this, discussions will persist in Geneva at the General Council. To understand more about the issue, you can read the IFDA reader's guide.


With thanks to the WTO for the use of photos.

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