A meeting of MPs specializing in international trade is expected to call for urgent action to implement multilateral agreements which benefit the developing world.
The Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization (WTO), co-chaired by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the European Parliament, takes place in Geneva on 13-14 June.
The MPs will discuss a number of key issues including outstanding problems in the Doha Round - a major reform process aimed at lowering trade barriers and revising rules - which has a particular focus on improving the trading prospects of developing countries. The proliferation of regional trade agreements and the gender perspective of trade as a vehicle for social progress will also be covered.
Other key areas for discussion include progress on implementing existing major WTO decisions, such as a decision on export competition reached in Nairobi last year, seen as the most significant agreement on agriculture since the WTO’s creation.
The conference is expected to call for action on food security – another key issue for developing countries – and will stress that WTO rules should support efforts to combat hunger.
The annual event gives MPs first-hand information on recent developments in trade talks, as well as allowing them to consider ways of contributing to the process, exchange views and interact with government negotiators, WTO officials and civil society representatives. It was set up to enhance the WTO’s external transparency and hold it accountable to MPs as representatives of the people.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.