WTO ministerial conference now in June

The twelfth ministerial conference (MC12) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be held in Geneva of Switzerland on 12-15 June.

The conference was earlier scheduled to be held in December last year, but it was postponed due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The WTO has already confirmed the recent development to its member countries.

This edition of the ministerial conference is very much important for Bangladesh as the country is in the process for graduating from the LDCs.

"Bangladesh had taken all necessary preparations when the conference was scheduled to take place in last December. We've also taken necessary preparations for the upcoming conference," BSS on Tuesday quoted commerce ministry WTO cell director general Md Hafizur Rahman as saying.

He also said that centering the MC12, Bangladesh is putting utmost priority in continuing subsidy in the fisheries sector alongside graduating from the LDCs.

"Efforts will be there so that the preferential trade benefits that we're now receiving can continue beyond the LDC graduation period," he added.

The WTO Cell director general apprehended that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war might put an impact on the conference for which Bangladesh is putting higher importance to this event, which is also regarded as the highest policy-level forum of the WTO.

Hafizur informed that the general council meeting of the WTO would be held on 10 May while following the outcomes of the meeting, the government would take some more preparations.

He said that on behalf of the LDC group, Bangladesh would submit a proposal for bringing reforms to the WTO.

A Bangladesh delegation, headed by commerce minister Tipu Munshi, will attend the 12th WTO ministerial conference.

Out of the 164 member countries, Bangladesh is the most influential member of the LDC Group.

MC12 was due to take place from 30 November to 3 December 2021 but was postponed due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which led to the imposition of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in Switzerland and in many other European countries.