Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs: The World Trade Organisation must become a stronger, more modern and effective organisation

24.02.2020. 17:06

On 24 February 2020, in Geneva, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Roberto Azevêdo, for a discussion on latest developments and challenges in the organisation.

During their meeting, Edgars Rinkēvičs said it is of key importance to actively support the strengthening of a multilateral trade system. From Latvia’s perspective, the WTO should become a stronger, more modern and effective organisation that protects and introduces trade rules at a global level as well as addressing issues of primary importance under the present-day economic situation.

The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference to take place in Nursultan, Kazakhstan, this coming June, could be a springboard for the WTO to assert the WTO’s effectiveness globally and its capacity to take action in urgent matters. The officials also discussed the WTO’s enlargement.                                                                                                


Background information

The World Trade Organisation is an international organisation and a forum for multilateral negotiations between its member states on global trade rules, their administration and application. The WTO system is a set of foreign trade norms, or “traffic rules” for foreign trade, which is binding on all member states of the organisation. The primary purpose of the WTO is free and facilitated trade based on rules and principles that create a level playing field while taking into account the possibilities of the developing countries.  

The WTO currently has 164 members, with 22 states in the process of accession. Kazakhstan joined the WTO in 2015, Afghanistan and Liberia – in 2016. Latvia became a member of the WTO on 10 February 1999.


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