The World Trade Organization adopted a package of measures on Thursday night that will regulate, among other things, the curbing of subsidies in the fishery and the temporary waiver of patent rights on corona vaccines. The WTO hadn’t passed a global trade deal since 2013.
The agreement between the 164 member states of the WTO comes after days of consultation. The consultation should have been completed on Wednesday, but because there was no agreement at the time, meetings were held on Thursday and Thursday night. At around 5 a.m. on Friday (Belgian time), all member states agreed to the agreement.
“You are not going home empty-handed,” said WHO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. “The WTO has shown that it is capable of responding to the challenges of our time.”
The temporary suspension of corona vaccine patents makes the production of those vaccines possible in more countries. The fisheries agreement, on the other hand, prohibits subsidies for illegal and unregulated fishing. Member States also pledged to do more to address food insecurity caused by Russia and extended an agreement not to impose tariffs on international trade for the time being. Finally, they agreed to implement urgent reforms within the WTO.
The planned agreement on agricultural reforms did not materialize.