WTO approves package of trade agreements
GS Paper – 2 (International Relations)
The World Trade Organization's 164 members approved a series of trade agreements early on 17 June 2022 that included commitments on fish and pledges on health and food security after more than five gruelling days of negotiations.
- The deals were ground out over five days of bargaining at a conference of more than 100 trade ministers that was seen as a test of the ability of nations to strike multilateral trade deals amid geopolitical tensions heightened by the Ukraine war.
- Delegates cheered after they passed the package of six agreements just before dawn on 17 June 2022.
- The package included the two highest profile deals under consideration - on fisheries and on a partial waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights for COVID-19 vaccines.
- The accord to curb fishing subsidies is only the second multilateral agreement setting new global trading rules struck in the WTO's 27-year history and is far more ambitious than the first, which was designed to cut red tape.
- The fishing subsidies deal has the potential to reverse collapsing fish stocks. Though pared back significantly, it still drew approval.
- The deal on a partial IP waiver to allow developing countries to produce and export COVID-19 vaccines has divided the WTO for nearly two years, but finally passed.
- One agreement had also been reached on 16 June 2022, on maintaining a moratorium on e-commerce tariffs, which is considered vital to allow the free flow of data worldwide.