MANILA, Philippines – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual will lead the Philippine delegation in the 13th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13) which will take place from 26-29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Accompanying the DTI secretary are officials from the House of Representatives and various government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Foreign Affairs, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, and Philippine Mission to the WTO in Geneva.

For the MC13, the Philippines is working with other Members to resolve the impasse in the WTO Appellate Body (AB) or come up with a functioning dispute settlement system by 2024. Also, the Philippines will champion reforms enhancing the WTO’s functions, notification, and transparency mechanism, as well as achieve meaningful outcomes on agriculture negotiation to achieve a permanent solution for public stockholding for food security purposes, and an effective special safeguard mechanism (SSM) for developing countries, among others.

Moreover, the Philippines sees the importance of the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations. Through these, the country targets to establish a balanced approach on the disciplines on overcapacity and overfishing including an effective and appropriate special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed Members.

Significant progress and outcomes are also expected by the end of the discussions on electronic commerce, investment facilitation for development, trade and environment, as well as the integration of micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Global Value Chain.

The DTI convened briefing sessions in preparation for the MC13. On 08 February 2024, a joint briefing for Congress was conducted, which was followed by a briefing for NGOs and CSOs on 15 February 2024 that was attended by representatives from SENTRO, Federation of Free Farmers, Federation of Free Workers, Nestle Philippines, and Agap Partylist, among others.

The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the WTO attended by trade ministers and senior officials from the organization’s 164 members. The last Ministerial Conference (MC12) was held on 12 to 17 June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Check this webpage for more updates on WTO MC13:

Date of release: 24 February 2024