SEATINI Holds CSO Consultative Meeting on the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference
The twelfth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC12) will take place from 12th June to 15th June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Ministerial Conference, which will be attended by trade ministers and other senior officials from the organization’s 164 members, is the highest trade decision-making body of the WTO.
In the run-up to the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), SEATINI Uganda in partnership with Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC) organized a Civil Society consultative meeting was aimed at among others enhancing stakeholders’ understanding on the state of play of negotiations, the issues top on agenda for the WTO MC12 and chart a way forward on how CSOs can effectively engage in contributing to the national positions. This meeting which brought together various stakeholders was held on 31st May 2022.
Some of the key issues discussed included;
• In 2019, following strategic lobbying by, Uganda was selected as one of the three Vice-chairs of the Twelfth Conference of Ministers (MC12) scheduled to take place from 12th-16th June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. The other Vice Chairs are Barbados and Australia, while the Chairperson will be Kazakhstan.
• Uganda is unable to fully subsidize the agricultural sector, but supports the discussion to preserve the development provisions in the Agreement on Agriculture.
• Global rules of trade provide assurance and stability as consumers and producers know they can enjoy secure supplies and greater choice of the finished products, components, raw materials and services they use.
• 90% of all medicines in Uganda are imported mainly from India. This is because Uganda has not invested in research and development for us to utilize the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) flexibilities.
• There is need for new models for innovation around research and development.
• COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated a classic example of the conundrum we are in and thus the need for structural shifts inorder to address some of our long-standing challenges.
As part of the next steps, the key issues and proposals generated will feed into the National Negotiating Position during the World Trade Organization.