Press Conference on Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Organised by Focus on the Global South

11:00 Geneva | 14:30 New Delhi | 16:00 Bangkok-Phnom Penh | 17:00 Manila


The beleaguered World Trade Organisation (WTO) will host its 12th Ministerial Conference (MC) from 12-15 June 2022 in the looming shadow of the pandemic and the Ukraine war. While the pandemic and national lockdowns led to a near collapse of global trade and contraction of economies, the WTO itself was in comatose much before COVID-19. The previous US administration under President Trump abandoned the WTO and crippled its dispute settlement mechanism. Long pending negotiations on critical issues such as agriculture, services, e-commerce and industrial tariffs were stuck. Developing countries continued to be on the back foot as legitimate demands, on development and special and differential treatment , were stonewalled by the global north. The WTO trade bicycle has been immobile since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

Will the 2020 pandemic be the final nail on the WTO coffin? More than 100 countries and thousands of civil society groups have made a concrete demand for a waiver of TRIPS rules that are leading to a shortage and high price of COVID vaccines and other medical tools in the developing world. For nearly two years the WTO led by an intransigent block of rich countries has shamefully blocked progress on this. We don’t expect the Geneva MC to do much on this front. Instead, there is a concerted attempt to adopt a flawed fisheries agreement and push for WTO reform that will effectively silence the voice of developing countries. Public stockholding for food security purposes, a lifeline for the poor especially during COVID, is sought to be disciplined by neoliberal trade rules. 

In this press conference, well known trade experts and representatives from social movements will take stock of the WTOs record and articulate the way forward for a genuine democratic multilateralism that puts economic, social and environmental justice at the forefront.


  • Walden Bello – Focus on the Global South
  • Kate Lappin – Public Services International
  • Farooq Tariq – Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee/ La Via Campesina
  • Sagari Ramdas – Kudali Learning Centre and Food Sovereignty Alliance
  • Pablo Rosales – PANGISDA-Pilipinas
  • Dr. Lauren Paremoer – People’s Health Movement

To join the press conference, please register through the zoom link provided here or click on the registration buttons. The press conference will also be broadcasted live through Focus on the Global South Facebook account here.