Minister Ng concludes successful meeting on WTO reform in Paris

News release

October 7, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

A rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, is essential to achieving a strong, sustainable and inclusive global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, concluded a successful visit to Paris, France, where she chaired the Canada-led Ottawa Group on WTO Reform, and attended an informal meeting of WTO ministers, hosted by Australia. Citing cooperation between WTO members as key to success at the upcoming WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), Minister Ng highlighted the importance of concluding an agreement on fisheries subsidies, achieving a multilateral declaration on trade and health, an outcome on agriculture domestic support, concluding the Joint Statement Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation, and refocusing efforts on WTO reform.

At the Ottawa Group meeting, Minister Ng led discussions on the importance of a trade and health outcome at MC12. Minister Ng noted the significant work the group has undertaken to reach out to dozens of WTO members to ensure that taking action on trade and health is a priority at MC12.

The Ottawa Group also discussed how the group could advance other emerging issues at the WTO after MC12. Minister Ng emphasized the importance of restoring a fully functioning dispute settlement system and advancing progress on trade and environment and trade and gender. 


“Canadian businesses rely on open, stable, and rules-based trade. Canada will continue to work closely with our WTO partners to strengthen the multilateral trading system. We will continue to lead and support meaningful outcomes for MC12 to support strong economic growth in Canada and around the world as we recover from this COVID-19 pandemic.”

- Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade 

Quick facts

  • Established in 1995, and comprising 164 members, the WTO administers trade agreements, provides a forum for trade negotiations, handles trade disputes, monitors members’ trade policies to help ensure compliance with WTO trade agreements, and administers technical assistance and training for developing countries.

  • Led by Canada and known as the Ottawa Group, this representative group of WTO members addresses the specific challenges that put stress on the global multilateral trading system. The Ottawa Group is identifying ways to achieve meaningful, realistic, and pragmatic reforms to the WTO over the short, medium and long terms.

  • MC12 will take place from November 30, 2021, to December 3, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Associated links


Chris Zhou
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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