World Trade Organization Director-General visits Australia

  • Joint media release with:
  • Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism, Special Minister of State
  • Senator the Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Minister for Emergency Management
  • Senator the Hon Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade, Assistant Minister for Manufacturing
22 November 2022

This week we welcome the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to Australia.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and first African to hold the position of Director-General of the WTO.

We were very pleased to work with Dr Okonjo-Iweala in delivering significant outcomes at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June this year in Geneva.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala's visit is an opportunity to discuss how we can continue to work together to implement those outcomes, including investing in reforms to ensure the WTO can respond more effectively to the challenges facing the multilateral trading system.

In recognition of the importance of the WTO to Australia's economic resilience, we will commit $5 million over four years for targeted capacity building to assist developing countries and least developed countries implement the outcomes of MC12 and access the benefits of WTO membership.

This includes $2 million to help developing countries implement the landmark WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. This is the first global set of rules that curb subsidies for illegal and unsustainable fishing, and an important step towards promoting the sustainability and economic viability of fisheries globally, including in the Pacific.

This commitment also includes $3 million over three years to support legal advice and training on WTO Law for developing and least developed countries through the Advisory Centre on WTO Law. This will help these countries understand and comply with WTO obligations, and participate more fully and effectively in the WTO.

These investments will help our regional partners better integrate into the global and regional rules-based trading system, implement domestic reform, and improve the lives of their citizens.

Quote attributable to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong:

“The World Trade Organization is central to the rules-based order.

“Australia supports Dr Okonio-Iweala's leadership and the WTO's work with developing countries to enhance their ability to export, their international competitiveness, and their engagement in the global economy.

“This is fundamental to the stability and prosperity of our region and the world.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell:

“We are delighted to welcome Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to Australia for important discussions on international trade, the WTO's central role in the rules-based international trading system and how we can work together to implement the historic outcomes we achieved in June.

“The strength of Australia's economy relies on an open and rules-based global trading system.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

“The Fisheries Subsidies Agreement represents a significant and meaningful contribution to the sustainability of our oceans and major milestone for the WTO, and we're pleased to be working with Pacific partners to support its implementation.”

Quote attributable to Assistant Minister for Trade

“I was pleased to work with Dr Okonjo-Iweala in delivering some truly significant outcomes at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference.

“The WTO is fundamental to Australia's interests – providing a stable and predictable framework for trade with the world and enabling all Members to hold others to account when the rules aren't respected”.

Media enquiries

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