Philippines aims for optimal WTO agreement to benefit farmers and fishermen

Philippines Delegation to Negotiate at WTO Ministerial Conference

MANILA, Philippines — “Get the best deal.” This is the marching order given by President Marcos to the Philippine delegation set to negotiate with over 160 countries during the high-level World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference in the United Arab Emirates this week.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. shared that the goal is to secure the best possible deal for the country at the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) scheduled from Feb. 26 to 29 in Abu Dhabi. The MC is the WTO’s highest policy-making body, with 164 member-states working towards influencing the global trade environment.

The Philippines aims to address key agricultural and fisheries issues during this conference, focusing on state procurement of food stocks, a new special safeguard mechanism for trade remedy, and regulations on state subsidies in fishing to prevent illegal practices.

The delegation also plans to advocate for reforms to enhance the WTO’s function and work towards resolving the impasse in the organization’s appellate body. Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual will lead the delegation, composed of officials from various government agencies and the private sector.

The country seeks positive outcomes on WTO reforms, e-commerce, investment facilitation, and progress in agriculture and fisheries subsidies negotiations. Additionally, the Philippines will work towards establishing a balanced approach to disciplines on overcapacity and overfishing, especially for developing and least-developed members.

Overall, the Philippines is geared towards achieving fruitful discussions and meaningful outcomes in various areas of trade and commerce during the WTO Ministerial Conference.

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