On Friday, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, met virtually with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
Minister Ng congratulated Dr. Okonjo-Iweala on her recent appointment as Director-General of the WTO, marking a historic moment as the first time that the organization has been led by both a woman and a leader from Africa.
Minister Ng welcomed DG Okonjo-Iweala’s upcoming participation at the WTO Ottawa Group Ministerial on March 22 and her engagement in collaborating with the Ottawa Group to support advancing WTO reform priorities in the lead-up to the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference in November 2021.
Minister Ng noted the progress of the Ottawa Group’s COVID-19 Action Plan, including its proposal for a Trade and Health Initiative at the WTO, and stated her keen interest in DG Okonjo-Iweala sharing her extensive experience and knowledge on initiatives related to global health and vaccines.
Minister Ng conveyed Canada’s support for DG Okonjo-Iweala’s “Third Way” Approach, which aims to enhance the WTO’s role in global dialogue with the pharmaceutical sector on accelerating the production and equitable distribution of effective, safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines and related medical products.
Minister Ng reiterated Canada’s support for a timely resolution to WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies and for ongoing negotiations on issues related to domestic regulation of services, investment facilitation, agriculture and e-commerce.
Minister Ng also reaffirmed Canada’s view that the resolution of the Appellate Body impasse and preservation of a binding two-tier dispute-settlement system at the WTO is crucial to the organization’s success in supporting rules-based international trade.