Global Economy

Geneva meet postponed: Key WTO ministerial meet deferred

The World Trade Organization has postponed indefinitely its in-person ministerial conference that was to be held from November 30 to December 3 in Geneva, due to the outbreak of a new strain of Covid-19.

Several countries have imposed travel restrictions that would have prevented many ministers from reaching Geneva. This is the second time that the pandemic has forced a postponement of the 12th Ministerial Conference.

“The General Council agreed late Friday (November 26) to postpone the imminent Ministerial Conference after an outbreak of a particularly transmissible strain of the Covid-19 virus led several governments to impose travel restrictions that would have prevented many ministers from reaching Geneva,” WTO said in a statement.

A new Covid-19 variant ‘Omicron‘ has triggered alarm bells across the globe and the World Health Organization has called it a “variant of concern”.

“No date has been set for the rescheduling of the Ministerial Conference,” WTO said.

“There are concerns around what’s happening in Europe and South Africa. The WTO ministerial has also been postponed and rightly so,” commerce and industry Piyush Goyal said at an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry on Saturday. “I am glad… (as) even last night when I was talking to my South African counterpart, I was worried how will we negotiate the TRIPS waiver. Both of us agreed we would pitch for a postponement or cancellation of the MC12.”


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