Minister Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister for Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, has commended and shown support for the “Third Way” approach of WTO Chief Okonjo-Iweala to Trade and Health affairs.
Minister Ng expressed her appreciation for the approach at a virtual meeting held with the DG on Friday, March 19th. The “Third Way” technique aims to enhance global dialogue with the pharmaceutical sector on accelerating the production and equitable distribution of effective, safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccines and related medical products.
The Honourable Minister Ng mentioned the Ottawa Group’s COVID-19 Action Plan. She pointed out the Group’s proposal for a Trade and Health Initiative at the WTO. She indicated her interest in DG Okonjo-Iweala’s extensive experience on initiatives related to global health and vaccines and expressed her hope that the DG would share her knowledge.
Minister Ng, who congratulated Dr Okonjo-Iweala on her milestone success in becoming the first female and African leader of the WTO, conveyed her anticipation of DG Okonjo-Iweala’s upcoming participation at the WTO Ottawa Group Ministerial on March 22nd. She commended her intended collaboration with the Ottawa Group to support developing WTO reform priorities in the planning of the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference which is slated for November 2021.
Other topics of interest during the meeting included Canada’s support of the resolution of the Appellate Body impasse and the preservation of a binding two-tier dispute-settlement system at the WTO and the view that such resolution is crucial to the organization’s success in supporting rules-based international trade.
Also, the minister reiterated Canada’s endorsement of the WTO’s ongoing negotiations on issues related to domestic regulation of services, investment facilitation, agriculture, fisheries subsidies and e-commerce.