Sierra Leone at WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference
Minister for Trade and Industry, Honorable Dr Edward Hinga Sandy, and his delegation arrived in Geneva today to lead Sierra Leone’s delegation to the 12th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC12), from 12 to 15 June. WTO’s topmost decision-making body.
At these meetings, Minister Sandy will advocate outcomes that advance Sierra Leone’s national interests, bolster the rules-based multilateral trading system, and deliver business opportunities for Sierra Leonean producers and service suppliers.
Particularly Minister Sandy and Sierra Leone’s MC12 delegation will work to achieve outcomes that support governments dealing with the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the global political and financial uncertainty, including in areas such as access to vaccines and other medical products, the promotion of development dimension of trade and food security.
The negotiations on an intellectual property (IP) response to the pandemic will be led by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone, chair of Council on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).
Under Ambassador Gberie’s able leadership the trade negotiators in Geneva finalized their work on the draft text on IP response to the pandemic, and submitted the draft decision to MC12 for Minister’s review and possible approval. If adopted the decision will contribute to ramp up and diversify the production of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure access for all.
Over the past few weeks, Ambassador Gberie continued text-based negotiations with WTO members and group coordinators in various configurations. Intense work was done through textual proposals and suggestions collected since the beginning of the negotiations to arrive at a landing zone on the TRIPS Waiver.
Additionally, at MC12 Sierra Leone’s delegation will tackle important longer-term challenges, including agreement on new rules to limit subsidies that undermine fish stocks, and reinvigorating discussions to reform global agriculture markets. Sierra Leone as a costal country is vulnerable to overfishing due to the subsidies afforded to foreign vessels and supports the call to complete the Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations for MC12 and stop funding overfishing.
On the docket is also mainstreaming the discussion on preserving policy space for developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries (LDCs), like Sierra Leone, to pursue their development objectives as a step towards more significant engagement with the global economy.
Minister Sandy will meet with counterparts from other WTO members and other stakeholders to promote Sierra Leone’s interest in the global trading system and discuss areas of collaboration.
WTO is a UN-affiliated organization of 164 members. It has 3 main functions; Negotiate trade deals, Monitor trade practices, and Settle disputes.
Stay tuned on our work at the MC12 by following us on twitter @EmbassySierra #MC12, and visit our website https://missionsierraleone.ch/