World Trade Organization
Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference – June 2022
The Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 12 to 17 June 2022. Australia was represented by Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, who was also Vice-Chair of the Conference, and Assistant Minister for Trade, Senator the Hon Tim Ayres.
The success of the Conference provided a significant boost to confidence in the rules-based multilateral trading system, upon which Australia relies for stability and prosperity.
Australia worked with other WTO Members, in particular our Pacific family, to achieve a package of strong outcomes at MC12 across the WTO agenda, including:
- a new global treaty to boost the sustainability of global fisheries stocks
- a package of measures to promote trade and health, including a waiver of intellectual property rules (‘TRIPS waiver’) for vaccines
- the renewal of a moratorium on customs duties on electronic commerce
- declarations boosting efforts to respond to the global food security crisis.
Importantly, the conference also agreed a path forward on WTO reform, including to address the challenges facing the dispute settlement system and restore its proper functioning in the next two years.
Australia regrets that MC12 was unable to deliver any outcome on long term agricultural reform. This was a key priority for not only Australia but most WTO members. Australia had advocated for an outcome on agriculture that would lead to reduced trade-distortions and that would ensure long-term global-food security. We will continue to work with fellow Cairns Group members to advance reforms to agriculture that reduce current and emerging distortions in global markets. We will also use our role as Chair of the Cairns Group to provide a strong and effective voice for reform in agriculture.