Washington - Today, Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten issued the following statement on the outcomes of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva:
“Business Roundtable commends WTO members for coming together at the WTO 12th Ministerial and achieving some results to strengthen the multilateral rules-based trading system. We welcome the agreement Ministers reached to continue the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions, a foundational agreement that has facilitated the development and growth of the digital economy. Business Roundtable supports making the moratorium permanent to ensure that businesses of all sizes in the U.S. and around the world have access to digital tools that enable growth, opportunity and innovation. We appreciate that some important progress was made as well on a fisheries agreement, on pandemic preparedness and on addressing food insecurity.
“Business Roundtable is very disappointed, however, with the adoption of the TRIPS waiver proposal for vaccines, which is a counterproductive step in the wrong direction. Innovation and intellectual property rights made the vaccines possible, and we oppose weakening these protections. With ample global supply and production capacity, negotiators should have focused on the fundamental trade facilitation, distribution, vaccine hesitancy and last mile challenges holding back global vaccination efforts.
“Lastly, Business Roundtable supports reforming the WTO, and we appreciate that the Ministers agreed on a framework for a future WTO reform agenda. This is an important step, and Business Roundtable looks forward to supporting WTO modernization efforts that expand competitive opportunities for U.S. businesses, workers and farmers.”