Argentina to host 11th WTO Ministerial Conference

The Ministerial Conference, which is usually held every two years, is the topmost decision-making body of the WTO and has the power to take decisions on all matters falling within the scope of any of its Multilateral Trade Agreements.

The 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be held on 10-13 December in Buenos Aires, Argentine Republic, as agreed in October 2016 by the WTO General Council. This biannual meeting will be held in a South American country for the first time.

Hosting the Ministerial Conference is a great responsibility and a major challenge for Argentina's international insertion. The offer to host this event, as well as the offer to preside over the G20 in 2018, are tokens of Argentina's determination and commitment to play a leading role in discussing and addressing the main global challenges.

The fact that the other Member States have accepted and supported the offer clearly illustrates the success of Argentina's global insertion objective, pursued by the current administration.

The event will gather foreign ministers, trade ministers and high representatives of the 164 WTO members, as well as non-governmental civil society associations and organizations that will attend the conference as observers, with a total estimated attendance of 4,000 people. Plenary and topic-based meetings will be held among members, while an event with legislators and a business forum take place in parallel.

The aim of the conference will be to achieve new results in the trade negotiations that take place at the WTO, following the progress made at the ministerial conferences held in Bali (2013) and Nairobi (2015), in order to create new global trade rules in the agricultural, industrial and service fields, among others; also in potential new fields, such as e-commerce, SME insertion into global trade, and facilitation of foreign investment.

As the host country, Argentina will be responsible for laying the groundwork for the debate on how to make the multilateral trade system more efficient, so as to contribute to fairer trade that boosts development. It will also be a unique opportunity to help build new consensus that supports the existence of a universal, open, rules-based, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system, in accordance with the UN 2030 Agenda.

In addition, this is an opportunity to have an impact, both at the domestic and the foreign level, on Argentina's image as a country that is open to the world and to business, and capable of attracting investment and tourism.

We intend to build mature, pragmatic relationships with the countries of the region and with key states. To that end, it is important to participate actively in international organizations and strategic forums.

The challenge for the WTO is to consolidate a framework that provides certainty and ensures that people receive the benefits, with enhanced opportunities and quality of work. The way to meet this major challenge is through respectful, frank dialogue, on the understanding that greater plurality of opinion is always enriching.

MC11 will thus be a new challenge for WTO member countries to find common ground, strengthen multilateralism, and build pathways to achieve significant, constructive results for trade and development. For Argentina, this will be another chance to integrate itself into the global economy and strengthen its vision for a country that is capable of making the most of opportunities at the international level in order to realize its full potential and talent.

More information on the basic purposes and objectives of the WTO is available at https://www.wto.org/spanish/thewto_s/thewto_s.htm.

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