WTO Members must cooperate to overcome global challenges, rising protectionism – Mohamed Azmin
16 Jun 2022
Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) must work closely together to ensure the international organisation remains relevant and effective as multilateral cooperation is the key to overcoming global challenges and the rise of protectionism.
Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said WTO Members must reject protectionism and focus on multilateral cooperation to address the challenges.
“With the COVID-19 still hovering over the world, a protectionist global trade environment is detrimental to the prosperity of the world economy, especially to developing countries, what more the least developed countries,” he said.
Mohamed Azmin said this during the Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the WTO today.
The senior minister also reaffirmed Malaysia’s continued and unwavering support for the rules-based multilateral trading system, upholding the principles of transparency and nondiscrimination which are the bedrock of WTO.
He also expressed Malaysia’s support for the Ministerial Declaration on the WTO Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Preparedness for Future Pandemics.
He emphasised that all WTO Members must come together and act in one voice to lift the restrictions and limitations in the implementation of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), in addition to trade facilitative measures, to ensure equitable and swift distribution of vaccines and therapeutics to save human lives.
On the WTO’s role in addressing the global food crisis, Mohamed Azmin called on WTO Members to make concrete progress toward achieving a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system, with the ultimate aim of ending hunger, achieving food security, and improved nutrition.
“Disguising protectionism as national security concerns must be avoided at all costs,” he said, adding that any emergency measures to address national food security concerns should be temporary, targeted, proportionate, and are not trade-distorting.
In this vein, Mohamed Azmin also affirmed Malaysia’s support for the draft WTO Declaration on Trade and Food Security, as well as the draft WTO Decision on World Food Programme Food Purchases Exemption from Export Prohibitions or Restrictions for non-commercial humanitarian purposes.