Canada vice-chairs 2019 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting and hosts WTO reform meeting in Paris

News release

May 23, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Trade creates wealth and well-paying middle-class jobs both in Canada and in countries around the world. Modernizing and enhancing our multilateral trading system and ensuring that its rules and institutions remain relevant in the 21st century are key to ensuring continued economic growth and prosperity.

Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, concluded a successful visit to Paris, France, where he vice-chaired the 2019 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Council Meeting and hosted the third meeting of the Ottawa Group on World Trade Organization (WTO) Reform, which is led by Canada.

As vice-chair of the 2019 OECD meeting, the Minister chaired ministerial discussions on trade, competition, inclusiveness and other important issues related to the digital transition.

The Ottawa Group is seeking ways to modernize and strengthen the multilateral trading system, paving the way to economic growth in Canada and around the world. This Ottawa Group meeting included a review of the group’s progress to date. Discussion focused on three pillars: the dispute settlement system, the negotiating function, and transparency and notifications. Going forward, the group will build on the momentum of reform efforts within the group and continue to complement other efforts to reform the WTO.

While in Paris, the Minister also co-chaired with Australia the WTO Mini-Ministerial Meeting, where he facilitated discussions regarding the priorities and the direction of work at the WTO. The Minister also advocated for the Canadian canola industry at every opportunity in his meetings with his counterparts.

Canada will continue to engage with partners at the multilateral level to ensure sustained global economic growth.


“Canada strongly believes that global prosperity and trade that works for everyone are at the core of a fair and modernized rules-based international system. We are seeking ways to improve the rules and institutions that govern this system to the benefit of Canadians and others around the world.”

- Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification 

Quick facts

  • Canada was one of the founding members of the WTO in 1995, and before that, Canada was a member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Today, the WTO has 164 members around the world.

  • The value of global trade in goods and services in 2017 was estimated at $29.8 trillion.

  • Canada hosted ministers from 12 WTO member countries at the Ottawa Ministerial on WTO Reform on October 24 and 25, 2018, and led a similar meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on January 24, 2019.

  • The OECD’s origins date back to 1960, when 18 European countries plus the United States and Canada joined forces to create an organization dedicated to economic development.

  • Today, the OECD’s member countries span the globe, from North and South America to Europe and Asia Pacific. The 36 OECD members account for 62.1% of the world economy.

  • The 2019 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting was chaired by Slovakia, with Canada and South Korea as vice-chairs.

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