Which Country will Host the Next WTO Ministerial Conference?

The next World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference will be held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) will take place from 30 November to 3 December 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Conference will be chaired by Kazakhstan’s Minister of Trade and Integration, Bakhyt Sultanov, as approved by WTO members in December 2019.

Originally the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference was scheduled to be held from 8th June to 11th June 2020, however, due to Corona Virus which has become a global pandemic as declared by World Health Organization (WHO), the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC 12) was postponed. 

The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the WTO. It is attended by trade ministers and other senior officials from the organization’s 164 members. Under the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO, the conference is held once every two years. The first Ministerial Conference (MC1) was held in Singapore in 1996. The last conference i.e. MC11 was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2017.

This article aims to discuss in detail the concept of the WTO Ministerial Conference which holds relevance for various competitive exams as well as the IAS Exam.

What was the purpose of the WTO Conference?

The WTO Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the World Trade Organization. This conference is attended by the Trade Ministers and other officials from the organization’s 164 members. So far from 1996, there have been 11 ministerial conferences. WTO is a consensus-based, members-driven organization. The main advantage of this approach is that the decision taken is acceptable to all members. The main purposes or objectives of the WTO conference are given below

  1. Settle trade disputes between members
  2. Analyze trade policies of Member countries like subsidies, anti-dumping measures, market access, agricultural policies, etc. 
World Trade Organization – WTO

  1. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments.
  2. The WTO’s goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

Aspirants would find this topic very helpful in the IAS Exam.

How Many Countries are Members of WTO?

As of 2020, 164 countries are members of WTO. 24 countries are observers of WTO. 13 member countries of the UN are neither members nor observers of WTO. The newest member to join WTO was Afghanistan in 2016.

Who is the Director-General of WTO?

The current Director-General of WTO is Roberto Azevedo. He was appointed in 2013 and a citizen of Brazil. The Director Generals of WTO are elected for a term of 4 years and the tenure of the Director-General can be renewed. The Headquarters of WTO is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

Aspirants can check a few related links to prepare for the upcoming UPSC Civil Services exam comprehensively –

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2021.

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