Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference
In a communication forwarded to WTO members on 25 April, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the 12th Ministerial Conference Mr Timur Suleimenov of Kazakhstan and General Council Chair Ambassador Didier Chambovey of Switzerland informed delegations that the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) will take place on 12-15 June 2022 at WTO headquarters in Geneva. MC12 was due to take place from 30 November to 3 December 2021 but was postponed due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which led to the imposition of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in Switzerland and many other European countries.
Credentials for MC12
The Rules of Procedure for Sessions of the Ministerial Conference require each WTO Member to be “represented by an accredited representative” and to submit “credentials” of representatives to the WTO Secretariat “at least one week before the opening session” of the Ministerial Conference.
MC12 was originally scheduled to take place in June 2020 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020, WTO members discussed Kazakhstan’s offer to reschedule the conference to June 2021 but postponed taking a decision due to the ongoing pandemic. In April 2021, members agreed that MC12 would take place in Geneva from 30 November to 3 December. However, an outbreak of a new highly transmissible strain of the COVID-19 virus and resulting travel restrictions led to a General Council decision on 26 November 2021 to postpone MC12 indefinitely.
The Ministerial Conference, which is attended by trade ministers and other senior officials from the organization’s 164 members, is the highest decision-making body of the WTO. Under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO, the Ministerial Conference is to meet at least once every two years.