WTO: Di Maio and Okonjo-Iweala, support reform process, focus on vaccines

77

ROME, MAY 9 – The importance of the multilateral trading system for the relaunching of the world economy after the pandemic was the focus of the meeting held today in Rome between the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luigi Di Maio, and the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In view of the 12th Ministerial Conference of the Organization, which will be held at the end of the year, Di Maio confirmed Italy’s support for the WTO reform process. “As President of the G20 – added Minister di Maio – Italy will work intensively in the upcoming months to accompany this process, and to promote a broad international convergence towards the revival of trade and investment. Particular attention will be given to the strengthening of value chains in regards to health products, to environmental sustainability and the strengthening of medium and small enterprises in international markets.”

The Minister also thanked the Director General for her commitment on the issue of the supply and distribution of vaccines, adding that Italy is committed in all international forums to the mobilisation of adequate financial support to developing countries in the fight against COVID-19, and the encouragement of a significant increase in vaccine production.

In this perspective, the recent US proposal for patent liberalization constitutes a new element in the ongoing debate on this issue and Italy, together with the EU, is ready to discuss any proposal that addresses such cases in an effective and pragmatic way. “In the short term, we also continue to call on vaccine-producing countries to allow exports and to avoid any measures that interfere with international supply chains”, said di Maio: “On this last point, the European Union has adopted a balanced and forward-looking approach, which can serve as an example for our partners. Our priority is to increase the production and availability of vaccines”. (@OnuItalia)