UK Markets close in 46 mins
  • FTSE 100

    7,083.37
    +102.39 (+1.47%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    23,784.54
    +173.15 (+0.73%)
     
  • AIM

    1,268.13
    +8.00 (+0.63%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1642
    -0.0005 (-0.04%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3619
    -0.0045 (-0.3282%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    30,754.11
    -1,465.32 (-4.55%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,089.55
    +49.07 (+4.72%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,395.64
    +41.45 (+0.95%)
     
  • DOW

    34,258.32
    +338.48 (+1.00%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,768.40
    -9.80 (-0.55%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    29,639.40
    -200.31 (-0.67%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    24,221.54
    +122.40 (+0.51%)
     
  • DAX

    15,506.74
    +158.21 (+1.03%)
     
  • CAC 40

    6,637.00
    +84.27 (+1.29%)
     

WTO chief seeks fishing, pandemic accords by year end

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: WTO Director-General Ngozi arrvies at the WTO headquarters in Geneva

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The World Trade Organization needs results by the end of the year and must focus its efforts on securing a deal on fishing subsidies and finding a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, its director-general said on Thursday.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said it was unclear whether the WTO's Nov 30-Dec 3 ministerial conference, normally held every two years but delayed from 2020, would be held in a physical or virtual format given COVID restrictions.

"Really, it's the conversations in the corridors, the little meetings you have at the side, the late night sessions where you come to agreement. If this is not a physical meeting it will become very difficult to say the things to be achieved," she told a session of Brussels think-tank Bruegel's annual meetings.

The WTO, she said, needed to restore a sense of purpose and not simply languish in negotiations that lasted decades.

"The organization must have some successes. To do that, one has to focus very intently on a few areas, not on a Christmas tree approach to what we can get," she said.

Okonjo-Iweala, who has headed the WTO for six months, said WTO members needed to conclude negotiations to curb subsidies for fishing, given about a third of fish stocks were overfished.

Ideally, members would get very close to a deal before the ministerial conference, so that ministers could approve it or have very little to go over, she said.

"This is a tall order, but there is a kind of momentum," she said.

The WTO chief said she also wanted to see a "strong declaration" on global trade's role in addressing the pandemic, in areas such as limiting export restrictions, improving supply chains and enabling transfer of technology to expand vaccine production.

Finally, Okonjo-Iweala said the meeting should book progress in agricultural negotiations, which are seeking to find accord in fields such as support, market access and export curbs.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting