WTO must be part of solution to global crises: Minister

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Jakarta – According to Indonesian Trade Minister Muhammad Lufti, the World Trade Organization (WTO) should be a component of the solution to the current global crises in the sectors of environment, economy, health, and security.

“Indonesia is eager to contribute to the advancement of farm discussions.” Agriculture is an important economic pillar for the majority of WTO members, particularly emerging and least developed countries. WTO members must address critical concerns such as food security, welfare, and rural development,” the minister said in a statement issued in Jakarta on Tuesday.

He stated that all WTO members should be allowed to carry out WTO functions and fully benefit from the multilateral trading system.

Lufti made the declaration while presenting a general statement at the 12th World Trade Organization Ministerial-Level Conference, which will be place in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 12 to 15, 2022.

Before the conference began, Djatmiko B. Witjaksono, Director General of International Trade at the Indonesian Trade Ministry, represented Trade Minister Lufti of a G33 (coalition of developing nations) meeting in Geneva on Sunday.

During the 12th WTO Ministerial-Level Conference, Indonesia challenged the G33 members to build unity and solidarity in fighting for the interests of developing and least developed countries in order to achieve a just and balanced outcome of farm negotiations.

Djatmiko noted that G33 members agreed at the WTO summit that food security and farm challenges had become a policy package. Other top priorities are public stockholding for food security and a unique safeguard mechanism to protect small farmers in the case of an import spike.

“The G33 has an interest in protecting the concerns because they affect food stocks and food security,” he explained.

Djatmiko emphasized the importance of harmonizing the interests of developing and least developed countries over local farm subsidies that distort global commerce at the Cairns Group (CG) meeting on June 12.

CG is a WTO member organization that exports farm products.

In his recorded statement, Trading Minister Lufti emphasized that the global trade system plays a role in advancing the SDGs, one of which is fishery subsidies, which can avoid future degradation of marine damage.

Indonesia agreed that the fundamental principles of fishery discipline should aim to significantly reduce harmful subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported, and uncontrolled fishing.

The discipline, however, must not overlook the development aspirations of countries that rely on smallholder and small-scale fishery businesses to enhance the local economy and reduce poverty.

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