The World Trade Organization’s Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) was finally held from 12 to 17 June 2022, after being postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the run-up to MC 12, analysts and trade experts were skeptical of any success being achieved at the conference. However, contrary to such expectations, MC12 has surprisingly delivered a package of decisions. The Conference delivered some significant outcomes to prove that the WTO remains relevant – WTO members forged the historic agreement on fisheries subsidies after more than 20 years of discussions and decided to endorse a TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 vaccines.
While some argue that MC12 outcomes represent the restoration of the multilateral trading system’s functions, other views contend that MC12 has simply kept the multilateral trading system afloat. Despite all the controversy over the results of the ministerial conference, WTO’s efforts at addressing relevant issues in a timely manner and attempting to provide important milestones to cope with the fast-changing international trade environment deserve credit and recognition.
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