March 01, 2024


ABU DHABI - The World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded its 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi today. U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President and Head of International John Murphy, who joined other U.S. business and agriculture delegates participating in the meetings, commented:

“The world needs the WTO to succeed, and this week’s meetings showed governments demonstrating just enough political will to move it forward. The U.S. business and agriculture community depends on the WTO’s rules and protections every day. For the sake of the 40 million American workers and farmers whose livelihoods depend on trade, our elected leaders must set the stage for further progress.”

E-Commerce Moratorium: “WTO members came together to continue the moratorium on duties on electronic transmissions until 2026. The moratorium, which has been in place for more than two decades, is vital to economic growth, job creation, and continued trade expansion. The bottom line is that the global economy benefits when digital trade stays duty free, and we applaud the moratorium’s extension.”

TRIPS Waiver Expansion: “The Chamber welcomes the end of efforts to further weaken commitments under the WTO’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement - the so-called "TRIPS Waiver." Such a move would reinforce a damaging precedent without addressing the real barriers to patient access. Many governments saw that such a waiver was unnecessary, and, indeed, recognized that intellectual property rights fueled the innovation that led to the vaccines and other tools that helped defeat the pandemic. Continued efforts to weaken IP standards and coerce technology transfer through other multilateral institutions will only leave the global community less prepared for our next shared crises.”

Dispute Settlement: “Trade rules aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if they can’t be enforced. WTO members in recent months have made some progress toward reform of the dispute settlement system, and we urge that this work be prioritized to meet the deadline set for the end of the year.”